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How to add good fats to your diet

How to add good fats to your diet

When choosing the best foods for a healthy diet it is important to not completely eliminate fat. Omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are considered healthy fats. Healthy fats differ from unhealthy fats because healthy fats are responsible for numerous bodily functions, where unhealthy fats are empty calories which have no nutritional value.

Before looking at the different types of healthy fats, it is important to understand the bodily functions that healthy fat is generally responsible for. The human brain is made up of 60 percent fat. Fat is essential for brain functions such as memory, learning capability and mood.

Additionally, fat serves as a cushion and insulator for body organs and nerves and helps the heart to function regularly, because 60 percent of the heart’s energy comes from burning fat. Individual cells use fat to build membranes and the presence of fat helps cells to remain flexible. Healthy fat also plays a role in the proper function of lungs, eyes and the immune system.

Healthy fat is also important for the digestive system. Fat helps to slow down the rate of digestion, which allows for the absorption of nutrients and provides a constant level of energy to the body. Consumption of healthy fat will also help to satisfy hunger for longer periods of time.

The first type of fat is polyunsaturated fat, which is found in vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed and soy. They are also found in nuts and seeds. Lowered blood pressure and triglyceride levels are two benefits that polyunsaturated are responsible for.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that are known as the healthiest of all fats. They are found in salmon, mackerel, sardines and other fatty fish. Omega-3’s are also found in flax seed, flax seed oil, soybeans, walnuts and canola oil. The primary function of omega-3’s is their responsibility in reducing incidences of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In addition to fighting CVD, omega-3 fatty acids are believed to be a possible prevention and treatment for liver cancer, depression and dementia.

The third type of healthy fat is monounsaturated fat. These fats can be found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, avocadoes and nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and pecans. Monounsaturated fats are believed to lower the bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, while possibly increasing the good high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol. Additionally, monounsaturated fats may help lower blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity.

Fat is an important part of a healthy diet. There’s more and more evidence that many fats are good for us and actually reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. They also help our sugar and insulin metabolism and therefore contribute to our goals of long-term weight loss and weight maintenance. And because good fats make foods taste better, they help us enjoy the journey to a healthier lifestyle. But not all fats are created equal–there are good fats and bad fats.

"Good" fats include monounsaturated fats, found in olive and canola oils, peanuts and other nuts, peanut butter, and avocados. Monounsaturated fats lower total and "bad" LDL cholesterol – which accumulates in and clogs artery walls–while maintaining levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, which carries cholesterol from artery walls and delivers it to the liver for disposal.

Omega-3 fatty acids – polyunsaturated fats found in coldwater fish, canola oil, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts–also count as good fat. Recent studies have shown that populations that eat more omega-3s, such as Eskimos (whose diets are heavy on fish), have fewer serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. There is evidence that omega-3 oils help prevent or treat depression, arthritis, asthma, and colitis and help prevent cardiovascular deaths. You’ll eat both monounsaturated fats and omega-3s in abundance in all three phases of the diet.

"Bad" fats include saturated fats – the heart-clogging kind found in butter, fatty red meats, and full-fat dairy products. "Very bad" fats are the manmade trans fats. Trans fats, which are created when hydrogen gas reacts with oil, are found in many packaged foods, including margarine, cookies, cakes, cake icings, doughnuts, and potato chips. Trans fats are worse than saturated fats; they are bad for our blood vessels, nervous systems, and waistline.

Just recently, the FDA ruled that by 2007, food manufacturers must list the amount of trans fats in their products on the label. (The natural trans fats in meat and milk, which act very differently in the body than the manmade kind, will not require labeling.)

– Information from Prevention Guide

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How to add good fats to your diet

It’s important to make sure certain fats are left out of your diet. But it’s also just as important to make sure some fats get in.

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Dietitian Ryanne Lachman, RDN, LD, offers some expert advice on how to navigate the facts about fats, and how to rebalance your diet with them to stay healthy.

“To boost your diet with healthy fats, you’ll first need to know the difference between the good kind of fat and the bad kind. It’s easy once you learn the basics — and with a bit of planning and swapping, you can wrap them into your diet easily every day,” she says. “Here’s what you need to know.”

Get the facts about fats — the good, the bad and the worst

“Good fats are essential to your diet — and when balanced with other nutrition can make you healthier. They help you absorb vitamins, make you feel full so you don’t overeat, speed up your metabolism, and help regulate your blood sugar. They can also lower your risk for obesity and diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease,” Lachman says.

“Bad fats, when eaten often or in excess, can make you unhealthy. And the really bad ones can significantly contribute to inflammation and heart disease. Use these tips to get your fat intake on track.”

Bid your final farewell to trans fat

Think of trans fats as the super-bad guys of fats. They raise LDL (the bad cholesterol, called low-density lipoprotein) in your blood and are major contributors to heart disease. Trans fats are found in fried foods, fast foods or processed snack foods – often made with partially hydrogenated oil, or PHO (likely listed on the packaging). They can also often be found in those tempting items in your local bakery made with large amounts of butter, margarine or shortening.

In fact, the U.S. FDA determined in 2015 that PHOs found in the trans fats of many foods on the market were no longer generally recognized as safe. And in 2018 food manufacturers were required to begin phasing out artificially made PHOs entirely so final distribution of food products containing PHOs would be complete by January of 2020.

“They did this for a very good reason governed by health guidelines,” Lachman says. “So if you still come across packaging that contains partially hydrogenated oil, it’s best to avoid it altogether.”

Stick to a small amount of saturated fats

Saturated fats are naturally found in animal fats, dairy and foods like these:

  • Red meat – beef, pork, lamb, veal, poultry skin.
  • Whole milk.
  • High-fat cheese.
  • Butter.
  • Ice cream.
  • Tropical oils – like palm and coconut.

“While it’s true that the American Heart Association, FDA, and the Institute of Medicine say trans fats raise your risk of getting heart disease more than saturated fats do – you also need to limit your daily intake of saturated fat as well,” Lachman says. “That means significantly reducing daily red meat and excessive dairy foods each day. Limitation and moderation are key.”

Get good fats on your grocery list

Now that you know which fats to avoid, the bigger question is “where are good fats found and how do I get them into my diet?”

Start by shopping for whole or unprocessed plant foods like:

  • Avocados.
  • Coconuts.
  • Nuts — including nut butters and oils.
  • Seeds — including seed butters and oils.
  • Poultry.
  • Fish.

Get cooking with monounsaturated fats

Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood — which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They provide nutrients to your cells and vitamin E, a beneficial antioxidant.

(Want a pro tip on how to recognize healthy fats oils? Oils that contain monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.)

Plant-based liquid oils like these are healthy to cook with:

  • Olive oil.
  • Canola oil.
  • Peanut oil.
  • Sesame oil.

Stock up on plenty of polyunsaturated fats

“Polyunsaturated fats are healthy fats that provide the same benefits as monounsaturated fats, but also include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids – fats that your body can’t produce itself. So to get them, you must add foods that contain them into your diet,” Lachman says.

Cook with and/or use plant-based liquid oils in your recipes like:

  • Soybean oil.
  • Corn oil.
  • Sunflower oil.
  • Walnut oil.
  • Olive oil.

Shop for these seeds and beans, too:

  • Walnuts.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Tofu.
  • Soybeans.
  • Flaxseed.
  • Pumpkin seeds.

Eat plenty of oily, cold-water fish like:

  • Salmon.
  • Tuna.
  • Sardines.
  • Mackerel.
  • Trout.
  • Herring.

Add these whole grains to your grocery list (they’ll also help keep you lean):

  • Brown rice.
  • Wheat.
  • Oatmeal.

Sneak good fats into your diet with these daily meal tips

Breakfast boost — Instead of high-fat cream cheese and a bagel at breakfast, cook a batch of oatmeal and sneak in some flaxseed to give your body a little extra omega-3 bright and early. Replace your high-fat coffee creamer with a little real cream, milk (or non-dairy variety) or see if you can learn to savor your cup of joe black.

Lighten your lunch — Add avocado to sandwiches and salads instead of using condiments or dressings to lower your saturated fat intake. Add skinless chicken to your favorite salads instead of bacon. Skip the high-fat cottage cheese and swap it out for the reduced-fat kind.

A fat-friendly dinner — For dinner, crush up nuts and sprinkle them over a piece of salmon or your favorite oily fish before cooking. Use canola or olive oil instead of butter to sauté it – as well as your favorite vegetables. Skip cream-based sauces and choose vegetable or nut butter sauces instead.

Snack smarter — Eat olives (not the ones stuffed with cheese) for your mid-day or late-night snack instead of potato chips or pretzels. You’ll still get a bite-sized treat, but with high amounts of monounsaturated fat and fewer calories.

Whip up some spreads that are ready for anytime — Grind nuts in a food processor and store to use later as all-natural nut butter on your toast or rice cakes in the morning, or for a healthy snack during the day. You’ll get the bonus of a powerful protein-packed snack, too.

“The benefits of good fats are vast,” Lachman says. “And like all things related to healthy eating, moderation is the key. Enjoy, control your portions, and you’ll begin to see changes in how you’re feeling overall.”

How to add good fats to your diet

Many people believe that dietary fat is their enemy, especially when it comes to weight loss. But this is actually a myth. Contrary to popular belief, enjoying moderate amounts of good-fat foods like walnuts, salmon, avocado and extra virgin olive oil is key to adding good fats to your diet.

You’ll feel satiated and you’ll have more energy. Healthy fats won’t just fill you up, they’ll kick-start you on the road to healthier eating habits.

Dietitian and nutrition expert Joy Bauer is lending her expertise to the Team Good Fat campaign and has four tips for how to weave good-fat foods into your diet.

Keep in mind that when it comes to the sheer weight loss, a calorie is still a calorie. You still need to consume fewer calories than you are burning. Adding fats won’t magically melt away the pounds, but they will support your goal of ultimate wellness and nutrition.

Go (wal)nuts

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) 1 .

Sub in Salmon

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 2 .

Add avocado

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!

Opt for olive oil

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!

Food Network Kitchen’s Keto Snack #1: Black and White Fat Bombs, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: KATE MATHIS

Related To:

The ketogenic diet is enjoying the spotlight. If followed properly, it can be successful — though it should be a temporary lifestyle change because of the potential risks involved. Its macronutrient breakdown is high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate. That’s something like 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carb per day. Your body naturally relies on carbohydrates for energy; when you enter ketosis (the goal of the diet), your body breaks down fat instead, which can lead to weight loss. (Be sure to work with a nutritionist for optimal results.)

One of the biggest advantages of the keto diet is feeling hungry less often. Simple carbohydrates are quickly absorbed and used for energy — that’s not a great recipe for satiety, and people often feel hunger soon after eating. With the keto diet, fat is the focus, so people often feel full and satisfied. But followers often struggle with getting enough fat in their daily intake. Here are some tips for sneaking fat into your diet. (Always try to make those foods that are high in healthy unsaturated fats your first choice.)

Fat-spike your hot drink. Add a tablespoon or so of fat to your coffee or tea for a boost. Whirl it around in a blender to incorporate it evenly. Try grass-fed butter, heavy cream, coconut cream, coconut oil or MCT oil (an odorless, tasteless and easily digestible fat).

Do the same to your smoothie. You can add any of the above or try avocado, avocado oil, or unsweetened almond or macadamia nut butter.

Fat-ify your veggies. Whether they’re roasted, steamed, sauteed or raw, they can handle extra fat from sources like like grass-fed butter and extra-virgin olive oil. You can also experiment with flavored oils to add a little extra dimension.

Use avocado, everywhere. Avocados are a dream for the keto dieter. They’re packed with healthy unsaturated fats and are incredibly versatile. You can eat them plain with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, puree them with homemade mayonnaise, garlic and salt to make a fatty veggie dip or drizzle, add them to salads or mash them in the shell with cilantro, lime juice and salt for a quick hand-held guacamole.

Stock up on nuts and seeds. Eat them as a snack or add them to a smoothie or salad. Choose from:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews (these are the highest in carbs per serving)
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Put an egg on or in it. Enjoy eggs in all forms, including hard-boiled, soft-boiled, over easy, poached, fried, coddled or scrambled. Incorporate them into salads and soups, or eat them plain with a sprinkle of sea salt if you need a quick snack.

Add a dollop of sour cream. Make sure it’s full-fat — low-fat versions of dairy tend to have more sugar and sodium added to make up for the lack of flavor that fat provides. Try adding some to a pile of roasted veggies, slip it into your smoothies, stir it into soups or use it as a dip for fresh berries.

Say yes to full-fat cheese. Again, low-fat is not your friend. Go for the full-fat versions of cheese and avoid any highly processed cheeses like American. Try Brie, Parmesan, feta and Gruyère, to name a few.

Bring on the mayo. Homemade, to be specific, or a brand that doesn’t have hidden sugars and preservatives. You can add it to salad dressings or turn it into an herby dip for veggies. Learn how to make mayonnaise here.

It’s time for tahini. Made from sesame seeds, this Middle Eastern paste is becoming popular even outside of the keto world. It can be added to smoothies or salad dressings or used to make keto bombs (see explanation below). Try making a simple tahini sauce to start. Steal the one from this Grilled Avocado with Tahini recipe.

Make magical coconut fairy dust. Combine the following ingredients and finely chop them together in a small food processor. Refrigerate in an airtight container and then sprinkle on grilled or roasted meat or veggies: unsweetened coconut flakes, almonds or macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds and lime zest.

And then make a savory olive sprinkle. It’s the same concept, only with a more savory and salty profile. Chop together in a small food processor and refrigerate in an airtight container: your favorite pitted olives, fresh herbs, lemon zest, olive oil and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

Choose fattier cuts of meat. While we suggest you go primarily for leaner cuts of meat, there are times that a fatty hunk of meat is in order. Go for: organic chicken thighs and legs with skin on, well-marbled grass-fed beef and 70/30 (lean-to-fat ratio) grass-fed ground beef.

Do the same with fish. Look for sustainable salmon, mackerel and sardines, which are all high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Eat fat bombs. Fat bombs are just that — a dynamo and instant delivery of fat in one or two bites. Check out these Black and White Keto Fat Bombs (pictured above).

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There are different types of fats “ good fats and bad fats. If you know about them, it will be easier for you to add the good ones to your diet and avoid the bad ones.

Fat may be everywhere, but not all fat or similar. And for our own sake, we need to understand which ??one we need more and which one we need to avoid.

How to add good fats to your diet

The omega-3s are among the best facts on the planet and you need them in your diet. Why are these good? Because they dramatically reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. They can also help you avoid depression and some cancers. These fats can help reduce menstrual cramps and post-workout soreness. They help you get clear, soft skin and brilliant hair.

To get this fat, you need to eat more fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines, herring, and tuna; flax seeds and flaxseed oil; walnuts, etc.

All monounsaturated fats are good for your heart. They raise good HDL cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol. You need to include virgin olive oil into your diet because it does that better. It contains micronutrients that are necessary for hormone and enzyme production. Virgin olive oil also contains compounds that help people to fight breast and colon cancer. It also improves the cancer-fighting power of other foods.

If you want monounsaturated fats, you need to include olives, virgin olive oil, canola oil, peanut, and other nut oils, nuts, avocados in your diet.

Most polyunsaturated fats are heart-friendly. However, they do not have the star power of other healthy fats. Many of them contain omega-6s, which is good for you if you do not get too many of them. If possible, it is better to get most of your polyunsaturated fats from omega “3 sources.

You will find them in corn, soybean, safflower, canola, sunflower, cottonseed oils, and fatty fish.

Saturated fats are mainly trouble because they can increase blood cholesterol and that can cause artery-clogging. If you consume more saturated fats, it can also harm brain molecules that help form memories and can increase the possibility of dementia.

That is why you need to avoid or at least reduce the number of meat, particularly with visible fat; poultry skin, fat and dark meat; whole-milk dairy foods, including full-fat cheeses, butter, ice cream, sour cream; hard margarine; coconut and palm oils and lard and shortening.

These are the worst fats. They’re so scary that they are banned in some countries. They are used in different food manufacturing facilities and restaurants, but people are working to find substitutes for them. These trans fats are formed when liquid oils are checked with hydrogen. Processed foods containing trans fats have eternal self-life. Trans fats can boost bad cholesterol, decrease good cholesterol, block arteries and cause inflammation throughout the body.

How to add good fats to your diet

Naturally fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These are “good” fats that help keep your heart healthy. They may also help keep your brain sharp, especially as you get older. The American Heart Association suggests eating two servings of fatty fish a week. A serving is 3 ounces — about the size of a deck of cards. Try it baked, grilled, or poached.

How to add good fats to your diet

Avocado

Eat it on your sandwich, or serve it up in guacamole. Tasty avocado is good for your heart and may help with osteoarthritis symptoms, thanks to healthy fats.

An extra benefit? When you eat avocado with other foods, it helps your body better absorb their nutrients. Half a medium avocado is one serving and about 160 calories.

How to add good fats to your diet

Seeds

Little pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds pack a big punch. They have “good” fats that can lower cholesterol. In general, fats that come from plants are healthier than those from animal products. “Bad” fats are in foods like fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy products, and some packaged foods. Check food labels to see how much fat, and what type, you’re getting. Limit saturated fats and avoid trans fats.

How to add good fats to your diet

From hazelnuts to pecans, all nuts are good for your heart. Walnuts, especially, deliver heart-healthy fats. But don’t overdo it. Just because the fats are healthy doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. A serving is 1 ounce. That’s about 14 walnut halves, 23 almonds, 28 peanuts, 18 cashews, and 19 pecan halves.

How to add good fats to your diet

Olive Oil

Whether you’re cooking or dressing your salad, try olive oil. It’s high in good fat. Remember, though: It’s always smart to watch how much fat — even good fat — you eat. So cook with less oil than a recipe calls for. Or use an olive oil spray. In baking, you can use applesauce for half the oil to cut back on some fat and shave calories.

How to add good fats to your diet

Eggs are a great source of inexpensive protein. A large, hard-boiled egg has about 4.7 grams of fat, most from healthy fats. Some eggs are also enriched with extra omega-3s. It will say so on the carton.

How to add good fats to your diet

Ground Flaxseed

As part of a healthy diet, good-for-you fats can help make your skin look great — plumper and younger. Plus, they add fiber and can help ease inflammation. Get good fats by sprinkling a teaspoon of ground flaxseed on your salad or your cereal, or use it when you’re baking.

How to add good fats to your diet

Beans

Whether they’re kidney, Great Northern, navy, or soybeans, adding beans to your diet can be good for you mentally and physically. Beans have omega 3s, which may help with mood.

How to add good fats to your diet

Omega-3-Fortified Foods

There are also many foods that have added omega-3s to make them healthier. You can find enriched milk and eggs, bread, and breakfast bars, for example. Check product labels to make sure. Plus, you may get more health benefits by getting omega-3s through fortified products than from a supplement.

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SOURCES:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Choose Healthy Fats,” “In a Nutshell.”

American Heart Association: “Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.”

ChooseMyPlate.gov: “Cooked Black Beans — 1/2 cup,” “How Many Vegetables Are Needed Daily or Weekly?”

Cleveland Clinic: “Nuts,” “Olive Oil vs. Coconut Oil: Which is Heart-healthier?” “Omega 3 Fatty Acids.”

Dabas, D. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 2013.

GoAskAlice, Columbia University: “Benefits of flaxseed,” “Food Guidelines – How much is a serving?”

Harvard School of Public Health: “Ask the Expert: Omega-3 Fatty Acids,” “Fats and Cholesterol.”

Pappas, A. DermatoEndocrinology, Sept-Oct 2009.

Sathyanarayana Rao, T. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, April-June 2008.

Stanford Hospitals & Clinics: “Good Fats, Bad Fats.”

Stanford Medicine: “Phytochemicals, Antioxidants, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.”

Tan, Z. Neurology, Feb. 28, 2012.

Marilyn K. Tanner-Blasiar, MHS, RD, LD, registered dietitian and study coordinator TRIGR Study
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

University of Michigan Health Systems: “Healing Foods Pyramid.”

Unlu, N. The Journal of Nutrition, 2005.

USDA National Nutrient Database: “Avocado, raw, California, .5 Fruit Without Skin, Seed, ” “Egg.”

Western Michigan University: “Standard Serving Sizes.”

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on February 19, 2020

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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How to add good fats to your diet

So you’ve always looked for low-fat and non-fat options at the grocery store ― especially when you’re on a diet. It turns out this really isn’t the best way to lose weight. In this Q&A, dietitian Lindsay Malone, MS, RD, LD, gives the straight scoop about fats.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Q. What role do fats play in my diet?

A: Fats play a vital role in your nutrition and health by:

  • Helping you absorb vitamins A, D, E and K.
  • Increasing satiety ― that feeling of being full and satisfied so you don’t over eat.
  • Reducing the glycemic impact of a meal or snack so your blood sugar doesn’t spike and lead to a crash (and feeling tired) when it falls.

Q. Where can I find healthy fats?

A: Healthy fats are found in whole/unprocessed plant foods like avocados, coconuts, nuts and seeds (including nut and seed butters) as well as animal foods, including meat, poultry, fish and dairy. Oils that are minimally processed can be a healthy source of fat as well, and whole grains such as brown rice, wheat and oatmeal have small amounts of healthy fat too.

Q. What should I look for when shopping?

A: Look for those unprocessed foods that are whole ― or refined as little as possible. This includes:

  • Oils that are “unrefined” or “cold pressed,” which indicates minimal processing. without added sugar or oil.
  • Dry-roasted or raw nuts and seeds. and products. Grass-fed meat and wild fish also have higher anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats.
  • Organic plant foods and products.

Q. How much fat do I need each day?

A: Everyone is different, but getting around 30% of your calories from fats is a good place for most people. Fat should be eaten with every meal. As noted, it provides that feeling of fullness, transports your vitamins and also lowers the glycemic impact of the meal ― this means it reduces the impact on blood sugar.

For a woman, a day’s worth of fat intake might look like this:

  • A sprinkling of ground flax or chia seeds in a smoothie in the morning.
  • A few small handfuls of nuts as a snack.
  • Two to three spoons of an olive oil-based dressing on a salad with lunch.
  • 3 to 4 ounces of wild salmon in the evening.

Q. Do you have any interesting ways to incorporate fat into my diet?

A: Here are some ideas:

  • In addition to eating nuts and seeds for snacks, put them on salads or in your oatmeal or yogurt.
  • Spread nut butters on apples, celery or rice cakes and use them to make cooking sauces.
  • Cube avocado for salads or whip it to use as a replacement for mayonnaise on sandwiches. You can also put avocado in smoothies to add creaminess and thickness and cut down on the sugar content.
  • Make a healthy guacamole (avocado, tomato and olive oil) and put it on veggies such as peppers, carrots, celery and on salads, in rice bowls and stir fries.

Q. What oils should I cook with?

A: Note that oils suitable for cooking at both high and low temps include extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, rice bran and sesame oils. It is better not to cook with almond, flax, pumpkin, safflower and sunflower oils as these are healthier eaten at room temperature.

Q. Do all fats have the same number of calories?

A: Fats do have more calories than carbohydrates and proteins. Every gram of fat has nine calories, which makes them more energy dense. Carbohydrates and proteins have four calories per gram. So get your fats, but manage caloric intake. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are the healthiest.

Q. Is there anything I should avoid?

A: It’s important to avoid trans fats altogether, which raise LDL, the bad cholesterol, in your blood. These are often found in processed foods, including bakery, snack foods and fast foods. If the packaging says partially hydrogenated oil, it has trans fat.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

How to add good fats to your diet

Fat isn’t the enemy – at least not all fats. Follow these tips to increase your healthy fat intake.

1. Try to eat fish twice a week, especially salmon, herring or mackerel. Avoid frozen breaded products made with hydrogenated oil.

2. Sprinkle 2 tsp (10 mL) ground flaxseeds on your cereal or yogurt a few times a week.

3. Use olive or canola oil in salad dressing.

4. Choose cookies and crackers that are not made with hydrogenated oil.

5. If you have a craving for chocolate, eat a few squares of good-quality chocolate made without hydrogenated oil.

6. Occasionally sprinkle walnuts, almonds or peanuts over salads, add them to baking or eat as a fast snack.

7. If there’s a choice at a cocktail party, nibble on unsalted almonds or walnuts – both contain unsaturated fats.

8. Occasionally add an avocado to your salad. It’s a great source of monounsaturated fat, which is linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer.

9. Buy omega-3 eggs, which come from hens fed on flaxseed. They contain seven to 12 times more omega-3 than regular eggs.