It may sound like a contradiction, but adding healthy fats to your diet is a good thing! Certain dietary fats are healthy. In fact, healthy fats are necessary for many functions throughout the body. For many years, all foods high in fat were thought to be the driving factor behind weight gain and obesity. It’s true that foods high in trans fats like donuts, French fries, and cookies can lead to weight gain, since these unhealthy fats increase LDL “bad” cholesterol, and suppress levels of HDL “good” cholesterol.
But on the other side of the spectrum, healthy fats can improve your cholesterol, lower your risk of heart disease, and even help you lose excess body fat. Avocados, nuts, and fatty fish are examples of foods high in healthy fats that can help you reach your weight-loss goals.
Looking to lose some extra fat? Here are six ways to add healthy fats to your diet and get even closer to your ideal body weight.
1. Eat more eggs
There’s been an ongoing debate surrounding whether eggs are truly fattening and can worsen cholesterol. But more recent research shows that eggs are loaded with healthy fats, protein, and other beneficial nutrients, and that eating one egg per day is not associated with a higher risk of heart disease among healthy individuals. Avoid frying eggs in processed margarine or butter, and stick to poaching or soft-boiling your eggs, since these healthy cooking methods allow eggs to retain their high nutritional value.
2. Experiment with chia seeds
These tiny black seeds are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids along with protein, fiber, and cancer-fighting antioxidants. Chia seeds retain a high amount of water, and can help reduce bloating when combined with liquid foods. Start adding chia seeds to fruit smoothies, cereals, yogurt, and oatmeal.
3. Make nut butters your go-to bedtime snack
Peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter are all high in healthy fats, antioxidants, and protein that speed up your metabolism and burn excess fat. If you tend to be a late-night eater, stick to eating nut butter with fruits, vegetables, or a small piece of whole-wheat toast. Eating this healthy snack before bedtime will increase your metabolism and allow you to burn fat while you sleep.
4. Cook with extra virgin olive oil
Stop cooking your foods in fattening canola and vegetable oils, and start using extra virgin olive oil. This oil is loaded with healthy fats and a compound called oleocanthal that fights inflammation to support weight loss. Make homemade salad dressings using extra virgin olive oil, and sautée or roast vegetables using this delicious healthy fat.
5. Sneak avocados into every meal
Avocados are high in healthy fats and essential B vitamins that boost metabolism and energy to drive fat loss. Avocados are versatile when it comes to cooking, and can be added to sandwiches, burritos, salads, and smoothies. The creamy texture of avocados also make this fruit a healthy and tasty substitute for sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, and butter.
6. Splurge on seafood
Oily fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce bad cholesterol and improve your heart health. Tuna, mackerel, sardines, halibut, and salmon are all types of fatty fish that offer a wealth of health benefits. Make a point to consume fish on a regular basis, but aim for fish that is lower in mercury. Some experts recommend eating seafood no more three times a week to limit your exposure to mercury.
Need help putting together a weight-loss plan that works for you? Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers deliver customized plans, complete with personalized supplements and consistent support to help you reach and maintain your goal weight. Contact us today for your no-cost consultation!
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on November 8, 2017