Disgraced for decades, fat’s reputation is being redeemed one study at a time. Last week, a study published by the University of Illinois highlighted the healing power of oleate, a fatty acid found in olive oil, to reverse heart failure.
But the heart isn’t the only organ benefiting from oleate’s superpower. “Fats are important for hormone production, vitamin D synthesis, organ protection and nerve and brain health,” explains Dr. Joshi, the London-based nutritionist who counts the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow among his clients.
Make sure you get vital fats by including these five foods in your diet.
1. Fatty fish
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish, particularly fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines at least twice a week. This meat is rich in high-quality proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, which have proved to be excellent for the brain and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
2. Nut butters
Here’s some good news: Peanut butter doesn’t have to be bad for you. Joshi suggests introducing some natural nut butter into your diet, such as those made with peanuts or almonds. Go for the raw organic version that’s unsalted and unsweetened to get the good fatty acids without all the other junk added to many brands.
Common misconceptions about cholesterol have led many people to eat fewer eggs. While they do contain a lot of cholesterol, for most people only a small amount will pass into the bloodstream. On the plus side, one egg contains 6 grams of protein and healthy unsaturated fat, in addition to memory-boosting choline and zeaxanthin, which can help prevent vision loss. The Harvard Heart Letter says eating one egg a day is fine — just watch your saturated and trans fat intake.
The green fruit is indeed full of fat, but the monounsaturated, heart-healthy kind that lowers bad cholesterol, with half of the total fat provided in the form of oleic acid, which is the same fatty acid praised in olive oil. It’s a good source of vitamins A, B-complex, C, E and K and rich in minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron and manganese. The trendy way to eat it is on your morning toast.
Flaxseed, sesame, pumpkin, poppy and pine nuts are full of healthy nutrients and are really easy to add to your meals. The protein will keep you fuller for longer, and you’ll also be getting a good portion of omega-3s (as well as vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, manganese and fiber).