Eating a variety of fatty foods is required for you to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.
There are many benefits to eating dietary fats including:
- The production of sex steroid hormones (such as testosterone and estrogen) which aid growth and recovery.
- Aiding the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E & K. Supporting your immune system.
- Building and maintaining healthy cell walls. Providing a rich source of slower burning energy. Adding flavor to your diet.
- It’s recommended that at least 20-25% of your calories comes from fat – consuming less than this for an extended period of time can degrade your health and vitality.
Here are my top 10 sources of dietary fats - try to include as many as you can into your diet. Note that this list is in no particular order and #10 might very well be as tasty and healthful as #1!
Salmon is one of the best sources of the essential long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). The health benefits of EPA and DHA are extensive and because your body cannot create these fats you must obtain them from food.
Salmon is also packed with hunger squashing, muscle building protein.
100g SERVING = 206 CALORIES, 12G FAT, 22G PROTEIN, 0G CARBS
Avocados are rich in fibre, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K which can help to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. This fatty fruit is bursting in monounsaturated fat which is associated with various health benefits.
1 AVOCADO (201G) = 322 CALORIES, 29G FAT, 4G PROTEIN, 17G CARBS
#3 OLIVE OIL
Pretty much everyone agrees that Olive Oil is healthy. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamin K. This popular oil is a key ingredient in Mediterranean diets which are shown to have numerous health benefits such as reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Drizzle a little olive oil onto salads or veggies to make them taste amazing or use it for medium heat cooking – olive oil has a relatively high smoke point.
1 TBSP = 119 CALORIES, 14G FAT, 0G PROTEIN, 0G CARBS
Almonds (like all nuts) are calorie dense, however research shows their available calorie content is actually 32% lower than listed on nutrition labels due to Atwater factors.
28G SERVING = 161 CALORIES (129 AVAILABLE CALORIES), 6G FAT, 14G PROTEIN, 6G CARBS
Butter is a high-calorie food that’s rich in saturated fat - it also contains many vitamins such as A, B12, D, E and K and is a good fat to cook with due to its stability. Providing you are not lactose intolerant butter is healthy when eaten in moderation.
Despite being blamed for increased risk of heart disease and obesity lots of research shows the opposite to be true! But don’t take that as reason to eat spoonfuls of the stuff daily! Excessive consumption of butter (dumping large amounts into your daily coffee perhaps) is probably not a wise idea.
Kerrygold is a widely available brand of butter from grass-fed cows which is shown to be nutritionally superior to conventional butter.
1 TBSP = 100 CALORIES, 11G FAT, 0G PROTEIN, OG CARBS
#6 MACADEMIA NUTS
These creamy taste sensations are high in healthy monounsaturated fats.
28G SERVING = 201 CALORIES, 21G FAT, 2G PROTEIN, 4G CARBS
#7 GREEK YOGHURT
Greek yogurt is packed with probiotics that help maintain a healthy gut and immune system as well as calcium and protein which supports satiety, weight loss and muscle growth.
Whip up a tasty high protein breakfast by sprinkling berries, nuts or seeds on top of some Greek yoghurt for a quick and healthy start to your day!
2/3 CUP (150G) SERVING = 130 CALORIES, 5G FAT, 11G PROTEIN, 5G CARBS
Sardines are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and minerals.
Use them in main course meals, salads or as a snack on crackers.
1 SMALL SARDINE = 25 CALORIES, 1G FAT, 3G PROTEIN, 0G CARBS
#9 CHIA SEEDS
Chia seeds were an important food for Mayans and Aztecs many years ago. These seeds are nutritional powerhouses packed full of omega 3 fatty acids, fibre, protein, calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.
The health benefits of chia seeds include lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease. You can easily add chia seeds to smoothies, Greek yoghurts, porridge oats or soak them overnight to make a tasty and filling pudding!
28G SERVING = 137 CALORIES, 9G FAT, 4G PROTEIN, 12G CARBS
Eggs are one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world! Whole eggs are high in choline which supports brain health in addition to other nutrients needed for healthy eyes. Eggs are also rich in protein and have been shown to trigger hormones that increase feelings of fullness leading to lower calorie intakes.
Fears over egg consumption increasing blood cholesterol and risk of heart disease are mostly unfounded. Studies show that daily consumption of eggs has no harmful effects upon blood cholesterol levels or heart disease in healthy individuals those with existing high blood cholesterol levels and even people with heart disease.
1 EGG = 77 CALORIES, 5G FAT, 6G PROTEIN, 1G CARBS
Cheese such as cheddar is a very rich source of calcium, high in protein and contains fatty acids which are associated with various health benefits ranging from lower bodyweight to decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
1 SLICE (28G) = 113 CALORIES, 9G FAT, 7G PROTEIN, 0G CARBS
#12 DARK CHOCOLATE
Chocolate with high cocoa content (70%+ dark chocolate) contains plenty of fat, fiber, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese.
Packed with antioxidant potency – dark chocolate contains as much, if not more, antioxidants than many fruits including blueberries.
28G = 168 CALORIES, 12G FAT, 2G PROTEIN, 13G CARBS
#13 PUMPKIN SEEDS
Being rich in polyunsaturated and mono unsaturated fats, pumpkin seeds can provide a healthy fat and protein boost to yoghurts, smoothies and oatmeal.
28G SERVING = 126 CALORIES, 5G FAT, 5G PROTEIN, 15G CARBS
#14 FISH OILS
Supplements are exactly what they say - supplemental to an overall healthy diet. fish oils are one of the very supplements I actually recommend on a frequent basis.
If you are not eating 2-3 servings of oily fish like salmon, sardines or mackerel per week you should seriously consider supplementing with fish oil capsules to ensure you receive enough of the long chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Fish oils can make a smart edition to your diet - the benefits include reduced risk of depression, supporting eye health, reduced risk of heart disease, reduced menstrual pain and slowing cognitive decline.
1 CAPSULE (1000mg) = 10 CALORIES, 1G FAT, 0G PROTEIN, 0G CARBS
SHOULD YOU EAT FAT TO BURN FAT?
Have you ever heard the saying “eat fat to burn fat”? Well its only partly true.
Eating a high fat diet does lead your body to burn more dietary fatdue to more of it being available BUT this will only translate into the loss of body fat if a calorie deficit is created – in this regards high fat diets are no more beneficial for weight loss than any other calorie reducing diet.
Remember - the best diet is the one you can stick to long enough to hit your goals!
Enjoy fats as part of a healthy and balanced diet.