You’ve heard it before: eating fat makes you fat. But truthfully, what’s more accurate is that the type of fat you eat can either help you gain or lose weight. That’s because not all fats are created equal. Despite our fear of the word “fat”, we actually need it to survive. And while unhealthy fats like saturated fats and trans fats that make their way into things like potato chips and movie theatre popcorn can pack on the pounds, MUFAS, or monounsaturated fatty acids do just the opposite, helping you to nourish your body and lose weight, too.
The weight loss industry has taken our minds for a spin in decades past, telling us that fat-free was the way to go, then turning that into low-fat, both of which simply caused people to consume more added sugar that turns into fat anyway. Thankfully, we are living in the era of whole foods for a balanced lifestyle, which means taking advantage of nature’s incredible resources as opposed to trying to distort them into something that time and time again, proves to be unhealthy and a waste of our time and our waistlines. Now, the focus is on good fat over bad fat. So, if you’re ready to eat up the good stuff and slim down while doing it, read on to find out some healthy and delicious options for consuming fat the right way.
While coconuts are high in saturated fat, it’s important to note that the majority of that comes from lauric acid, which wards off bad bacteria and boosts your levels of good cholesterol. Research has even found that coconut oil can reduce belly fat. The naturally sweet and nutty taste of coconut makes it a great additive to many foods. Sprinkle unsweetened coconut shavings on top of your oatmeal, add a teaspoon of coconut oil to your morning coffee to speed up your metabolism and change up your smoothie by using coconut milk as your base.
- Olive oil
Rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil is packed with polyphenols, which help to ward off cancer. Research has also found that a diet rich in olive oil can increase your levels of the hormone adiponectin, which breaks down fats in the body and aids in lowering your BMI. Best when raw, drizzle olive oil over your salad or on top of cooked veggies for an added dose of richness.
Related: The Truth About Healthy Fats
So rich, so creamy, it’s sometimes hard to believe that this incredibly delicious fruit could be so good for you. Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, it’s rich in oleic acid, which can ward off feelings of hunger. For an added dose of protein and fiber in the morning, simply mash up half an avocado and spread on whole grain toast. It’s a healthy alternative to your typical butter or cream cheese, and will give you a boost of energy and satiation to keep you going until lunchtime.
Not only have nuts been linked to a lower BMI, but they’re chock-full of beneficial vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy fats, too. A good source of protein and fiber, a handful of almonds, for instance, serve as a great snack between meals to energize and keep hunger pangs at bay. Eating nuts regularly has also been associated with a lower risk of heart disease, better weight management and prevention of weight gain. Though high in calories, a little goes a long way, so beware of serving suggestions and consume as recommended. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, brazil nuts and pecans are among the best for reaching your weight loss goals.
Small in stature, seeds ought not to be overlooked as a beneficial component to your diet. Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, protein and a variety of micronutrients, they’re a great topping to salads, additive to smoothies, provide a great crunch to stir-frys and so much more. At the top of the list are chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Chia seeds, for example, are great for weight loss as they are full of fiber, omega-3 fats, magnesium, potassium and iron. They’re also fairly low in fat, with only 5 grams per 2 tablespoons.
- Dark chocolate
For those who have a serious sweet tooth, you’ll be happy to note that you can still nosh on dark chocolate while working to slim down. Research has found that the pure cocoa butter in dark chocolate takes more time to digest than milk chocolate. This is because cocoa butter contains stearic acid, which slows down digestion and keeps you satiated longer. The added butter fat in milk chocolate makes its way through your GI tract much quicker in comparison.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the American Heart Association recommends eating a filet of salmon twice a week. Omega-3s are beneficial in reducing your risk of arrhythmia, decreasing triglyceride levels and can even aid in lowering blood pressure. They also fight off inflammation, which can slow metabolism. Salmon is a great source of protein as well, which reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, and boosts the appetite-reducing hormones GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin.