3 Healthy Fats That Take Your Health To The Next Level

by Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN

Last Updated: August 13, 2020

Fats are one of the three macronutrients that our bodies need and should be included in a well-balanced diet to protect your heart, help regulate your hormones, reduce inflammation, and keep you feeling satisfied between meals. Healthy fats are defined as unsaturated fats. The key is to eliminate commonly consumed sources of saturated fat and replace them with unsaturated fats to gain the cumulative healthful benefits. We’ve broken down what you need to know about healthy dietary fats for a healthy lifestyle.
  1. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are a type of polyunsaturated fat, are perhaps the most commonly discussed healthy fats. They have been heavily researched for their benefits protecting the heart, easing inflammation, inhibiting the formation of blood clots, and lowering triglycerides. Our bodies cannot make Omega 3 fatty acids, which makes them essential to include in your diet daily. Check out the following list to see how many you currently consume in your diet.

    Food sources:
    • Fatty Fish such as Salmon, Herring, Sardine, Lake trout, Mackerel is recommended at least six ounces per week
    • Fish Oil
    • Ground Flaxseed (also known as Flaxseed Meal)
    • Flaxseed Oil
    • Walnuts
    • Chia Seeds
    • Hemp Seeds
    • Eggs enriched with Omega-3
    • Milk enriched with Omega-3

    Check out three of our favorite recipes - Strawberry Flaxseed Smoothie, Walnut Cilantro Pesto, and Orange Ginger Salmon - for three meal options rich in Omega-3’s.
  2. Omega-6 fatty acids, another type of polyunsaturated fat, are actually the most commonly consumed healthy fat among most Americans. While they still provide healthy benefits, it is important to strive for a diet higher in Omega 3’s compared to Omega 6’s for optimal heart health.

    Food sources:
    • Sunflower Oil
    • Safflower Oil
    • Soybean Oil
    • Corn Oil
    • Sunflower Seeds
    • Pumpkin Seeds

    Try a homemade Pumpkin Seed Butter or Sunflower Seed and Dried Cherry Granola for some delicious Omega-6 rich options.
  3. Monounsaturated fats increase your HDL cholesterol (better known as “good cholesterol”) so including these food sources ensures that your heart is set up to protect you. Monounsaturated fats are also the focus of the Mediterranean diet, which is well known and researched for its health benefits.

    Food sources:
    • Olive Oil
    • Canola Oil
    • Sesame Oil
    • Avocados
    • Nuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, macadamia
    • Nut butters
    • Olives

    A few of our favorite recipes that prioritize monounsaturated fats include these Green Goddess Finger Sandwiches, Homemade Unsweetened Almond Milk and Olive Oil Lemon Sauce.

Swapping out the unhealthy fats and choosing heart healthy fats is an easy way to take your health to the next level. Don’t forget about the importance of consuming a diet rich in whole grains, lean protein, beans and legumes, fruit, vegetables, and dairy in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There is not one single food that will make you healthy, but it is about consistent dietary changes that add up to a cumulative healthful effect.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN

Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN

Anna is a positive, motivating dietitian who is ready to help make healthy happen in your life. Whether you have a medical condition or hoping to get back to your goal weight, Anna is eager to connect you with tasty recipes, budget-friendly food products, and time-saving hacks to ensure that your goals will be achieved. Outside of work, Anna enjoys barre/pilates, sushi, and online shopping!