4 Ways to Add Good Fats to Your Diet

By Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN

Did you know that nearly two in three Americans believe that dietary fat is their enemy? Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad. In fact, incorporating moderate amounts of the good stuff (think nuts, seeds, avocado and vegetable oils) is key to adding good fats to your diet. 

However, with lots of mixed messages and a general negative connotation with the term “fat” itself, it can be challenging to figure out what to choose and what to lose. Here’s how to break through this barrier, banish old beliefs, and understand the skinny on good fat.

Along with protein and carbs, fats are an important component of any smart eating regimen. Good fats are a source of essential fatty acids, compounds needed to maintain an ideal weight, optimal health and normal physiological functions. The good fats to focus on are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are readily found in nuts, seeds, fatty fish, olives, and avocado. Omega-3 fatty acids are a specific type of polyunsaturated fat that’s consistently praised for its heroic health perks. Studies show that eating foods rich in omega-3s may help reduce risk factors for heart disease including blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol. For a dose of amazing omegas be sure to add salmon (and sardines), walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, soybeans and plant-based oils to your weekly menu!

Need some inspiration?

Try these 4 deliciously easy tips to incorporate good fats into your
diet, add flavor and boost your health!

Sprinkle nuts and seeds onto salad, oatmeal, yogurt and pancakes. Also, get in your oh-so-good omegas by enjoying a handful of walnuts as an afternoon snack and by adding them into meals for some satisfying crunch (2.5 grams omega-3 ALA fats per 1 ounce serving of walnuts, that’s the most of any nut).

Replace your prime rib or steak with roasted, grilled or baked salmon (3 ounces per serving) to cut calories and saturated fat. Evidence shows that making this simple swap twice a week can reduce your risk for heart disease and obesity.

Boost your intake of monounsaturated fat (and fiber!) by adding one-third of an avocado to your meal. This former guacamole staple has risen to superfood status—it’s a terrific topper for everything from toast to salads to burgers and salmon. Yum!

Embrace antioxidant-rich olive oil. Numerous studies show that consuming a Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease and boost your overall health. Substitute olive oil (1 tablespoon per serving) for butter when sautéing veggies, meat, or fish to keep your ticker in tip top shape!

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