The word “fat” tends to scare a lot of people in North America. The reality is, not all fat is bad for you – in fact, it’s very much needed by your body. There’s a variety of good and bad fats, but the ones you want to have more of in your life are unsaturated fats. There are two types of unsaturated fats; polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats – both of which actually can reduce your risk of heart disease, along with a variety of other benefits that we will discuss in this article. One term you may be familiar with is omega-3 fatty acids, which, to keep it simple, fall under the category of polyunsaturated fats. So how can you get more of these fats in your diet? It’s actually way more simple than you think.

1. Fish Oil

Fish oil pills are something that has been talked about for years as being a helpful supplement to take. The truth is, those who swear by it, are right!

Fish oil pills give you those important Omega-3 fatty acids to help improve cognitive function, reduce chances of heart attacks and can even have positive effects on people who struggle with anxiety and depression symptoms.

2. Eggs

Breakfast always calls for some delicious scrambled eggs and bacon, but have you ever considered that such an ordinary food can have an incredibly profound effect on your health?

Triglycerides are a fat in your body that are released by your body to tide you over until your next meal without suffering energy loss. You want to make sure your levels aren’t too high because this can be very problematic when it comes to heart health. Eggs contain the Omega-3 Fatty Acids that help ensure your triglyceride levels are at a healthy level.

3. Nuts

Whether you need a snack on the go or are looking for that extra kick of flavor in your banana bread, nuts are a fantastic food to have in your pantry.

Nuts contain not only Omega-3 fatty acids but also unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are known for assisting in lowering cholesterol levels. With so many health benefits, it’s definitely worth finding ways to incorporate nuts into your diet a little more often.

4. Avocado

Avocado toast is a huge trend right now and has just about everyone Instagramming their breakfasts. Whether you mash it up to make guacamole or serve it up on toast, avocados are a product you needed to have in your kitchen.

The specific fat found in avocado falls under the category of a monounsaturated fatty acid. Oleic acid has been shown to have positive effects on genes that can cause cancer, as well as reducing inflammation in the body.

5. Dark Chocolate

Yes, eating dark (and I mean really dark) chocolate is good for you! Next time you pull out your fondue kit or are baking chocolate chip cookies, opt for some 80-95% dark chocolate that will give your hungry family and friends something beneficial in their sweet indulgence.

Much like avocados, dark chocolate has oleic acid in it, which is extremely healthy for your body as mentioned above. In addition to this, the cocoa powder in chocolate actually helps increase your good cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol.

6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

When you’re cooking and baking, it can be easy to stick to what you know when it comes to ingredients. One change you should be willing to make is switching from canola and vegetable oil to extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

It’s absolutely incredible what two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil can do to your mental health. It has been shown that due to the presence of polyunsaturated fats in this amazing oil, it can actually help reduce your chances of having depression.

7. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is extremely easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Adding a tablespoon to your morning coffee is a delicious way to get started. It may look a little weird, but it tastes so good and adds so many health benefits to your diet.

Coconut oil contains three kinds of good fats: caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid. These are all medium-chain fatty acids that are processed by the liver and immediately turned into energy instead of belly fat.

8. Wild Caught Salmon

Not everyone understands the difference between wild caught salmon and farmed salmon. A lot of the fish you buy in the grocery store are farmed salmon. This means that they are intentionally bred to be sold as a food product. Wild caught salmon is salmon that is fished for and are naturally available, swimming free. Wild caught salmon has significantly fewer calories than farmed salmon but maintains about the same amount of protein.

A serving of wild caught salmon helps you get around 55% of your daily intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. As we know, these amazing fatty acids help improve memory which is very helpful to those who also want to take preventative measures to reduce their chances of Alzheimer’s later in life.

9. Olives

Are you a huge fan of including olives on your charcuterie boards with cheese and deli meats? Well, you’re in luck. Olives are not only extremely flavorful but packed with health benefits.

Olives contain the monounsaturated fat, oleic acid. While 11-15% of each olive is fat, you can eat easy knowing that 75% of it is good fat that can health reduce heart disease, possibly fight cancer and reduce inflammation.

10. Ground Flax Seeds

Adding simple ingredients like flax seeds to your baking and cooking make little to no difference in terms of flavor, but increase the health benefits significantly.

A serving of flax seeds is only three tablespoons, which is incredible considering that there is such a high amount of healthy fats in each serving.

11. Tuna

Instead of eating your tuna from a can, try buying it fresh for a gourmet supper tonight. When a food actually has good fats in it instead of detrimental ones, there are no regrets at suppertime!

Omega 3 fatty acids are very present in tuna which bring balance to blood cells which then reduces your cholesterol. The benefits are truly endless with these healthy fats.

12. Tofu

Tofu is made from soy and is a fantastic protein and healthy fat option for those who don’t eat meat. It can be difficult to know what to do with it, but tofu can be baked or fried and takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it in.

Tofu has about 5-6 grams of healthy fats per serving which may not seem like much, but when you are looking to combine it with avocado or sprinkle with flax seeds, this health food hits the spot!

13. Edamame

You may have seen Edamame beans before, but not necessarily know anything about them. The truth is, they are a major superfood with so many nutritional benefits that will benefit your body.

Edamame beans have both polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, making them extremely helpful in getting those fats that will provide you with good health and lasting energy.

14. Chia Seeds

Making chia pudding in the morning is a filling breakfast packed with all the good stuff your body needs to start the day off right.  Flavor with cocoa, fruit or agave nectar for a healthy meal that tastes like a treat!

Chia seeds have been used by generations and generations of people across a variety of cultures for getting protein, high fiber carbs, and good fats. Packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are a great addition to your yogurt snack or smoothie bowl.

15. Full Fat Yogurt

Yogurt is a fantastic base for your breakfast. Add some granola and fruit to get a well-rounded meal before work! You can also eat it throughout the day as an easy snack. Make sure it’s plain, full-fat yogurt to get the optimal amount of benefits.

Full fat, plain yogurt is a perfect snack for those looking to get their healthy dose of daily fat intake that will provide lasting energy. It’s especially helpful after a workout to help repair muscles and give you the energy to make supper or visit a friend after.

16. Ghee

Ghee is a Hindu word for fat. They sure cut to the chase with that name! It is typically used in the place of butter and has a higher cooking temperature so you can still reap the health benefits from this food even after it’s warm.

Ghee contains medium-chain fatty acids that contribute to maintaining heart health and easy to digest for your body. Next time you go to the grocery store, swap out your margarine for some ghee.

17. Cacao Nibs

Cacao nibs are basically cocoa before it’s gone through a heating process to reduce it to chocolate. If you’re on a ketogenic diet, these little nibs are the perfect fit. With absolutely no sugar in them whatsoever, they can help you get your chocolate fix without breaking your health streak.

Cacao nibs have 12g of fat per serving but don’t worry, even though some of the fat is saturated, it actually does not increase your cholesterol! It’s the most natural form of chocolate you can get and it’s definitely worth munching on.

18. Nut Butters

Peanut butter used to be the go-to grocery item for all families, but now, we’ve found that other nut butters are just as delicious and possibly even more healthy. Spread on a slice of whole grain toast or add to a smoothie as you run out the door.

Nut butters are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats, making them a good choice for the functioning of your body, but also for your brain growth and development.

19. Beans

Beans are an easy food to add to soups, dips, and chili recipes. The best part is, they taste delicious while being extremely healthy for you. Try adding hummus to your sandwich or adding a new bean to your chili next time you’re hungry.

While beans are low in fat, the fat they do contain is only the good stuff. As we’ve learned, unsaturated fats benefit your body from a healthy heart to a smarter brain. This is exactly what beans contain within their tiny walls, making them an ideal canned good to have in your pantry.

20. Sardines

It may seem a little weird eating a food that looks back at you and never blinks, but if you like the taste of sardines, you will love the benefits they provide. From enjoying them on a cracker to maybe even over a salad, these little fish know how to provide your body with some serious health!

In each can of sardines, you can receive up to 50% of your daily healthy fat intake. The omega-3 fatty acids help with keeping your brain sharp, but can also assist in preventing gum disease!

Lindsay Duncan

Lindsay loves cooking fun and creative meals for friends and family. At home, you can find her trying out a new recipe found on Pinterest while trying to balance her husband's sweet tooth with her healthy eating habits. If she's not in the kitchen, you'll find Lindsay photographing people she loves and going out with friends to try the newest restaurant in her small town.

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