Gone are the days when health geeks avoided high-fat foods, which were considered bad for health. High-fat foods are essential for the normal functioning of the body. Researchers have found that eating high-fat foods in limited quantities can yield significant benefits. However, this is especially true for foods that contain good fat.
Most of us think that the fat content in foods makes us fat, so why is it so essential for the body? The answer is that a layer of fat protects all organs in your body. Therefore, excluding fat from your diet might be very harmful. However, fat is beneficial for you when you eat it in the correct amounts.
6 Most Healthy High Fat Foods
1. Fatty Fish
Fish like tuna, mackerel, sardines etc., contain good fat, known as unsaturated fat. It consists of omega3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids. These fats are good because they speed up the rate of metabolism in the body and provide early satiety. As a result, they also aid in weight loss.
Fatty fish is very nutritious. It has a high biological value protein, which gets metabolised in the body. Apart from good fat and protein, fatty fish contains minerals like magnesium, selenium, etc. and fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K.
Research proves that consuming fatty fish helps maintain a healthy heart, good cognitive function and helps regulate blood glucose levels.
Avocado is the only fruit with fat content. However, it contains good fat in the form of unsaturated polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) and monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA). These are omega3 fatty acids that are very beneficial to your health.
Several studies demonstrate the potential health benefits of avocado. It is rich in potassium and antioxidants. Potassium helps to maintain the osmolality of the body. At the same time, antioxidants protect the body from degenerative diseases like cancers, Parkinson’s disease, etc.
The nutritional value of 100 grams of avocado is:
- Calories – 160 kcal
- Carbohydrates – 8.53 g
- Proteins – 2 g
- Fats – 14.7 g
- Fibre – 6.7 g
3. Chia Seeds
With the wave of chia seed addiction for health freaks, people got to head over heels listening to its tremendous benefits. Little did you know that it has a high content of good fat along with its benefits. These seeds contain omega3 fatty acids called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Along with this, they are full of fibre. Several studies show that chia seeds may help reduce blood pressure, have anti-inflammatory effects, aid in weight loss, and give healthier skin.
The nutritional value for 100gm of chia seeds is:
- Calories – 534 kcal
- Carbohydrates – 28.9 g
- Proteins – 18.3 g
- Fats – 42.2 g
- Fibre – 27.3 g
Nuts are a good food option when you crave to snack on something to break the monotony. They are a good source of plant-based protein, fat, fibre, etc. In addition, they contain vitamins A, E, and K and high amounts of magnesium.
Consumption of nuts lowers the risk of various diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart diseases. Also, regular consumption of nuts boots memory and enhances cognitive function.
Healthy munching options among nuts include almonds, walnuts and cashew nuts, etc. However, please note that you should not consume salted nuts because excess salt intake may lead to a rise in your blood pressure. Furthermore, research suggests that consuming nuts increases metabolism and aids in losing weight.
5. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a wonder oil, which you can use for consumption and skin application. Several studies demonstrate its excellent health benefits.
It is high in oleic acid, an essential for optimum body functioning. In addition, this fatty acid has anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps to lose weight, regulates blood sugar levels and maintains heart health.
The nutritional value of olive oil for 100 ml is as follows: –
- Calories – 884 kcals
- Fats – 100 g
- Vitamin E – 14.4 mg
- Vitamin K – 16.2 mcg
- Monounsaturated fatty acids – 73 g
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids – 10.5 g
6. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a healthy food disguised as a tasty treat. Eating it makes you happy because it releases endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good hormones in our bodies. Their secretion makes you happy and feels good. Dark chocolate is high in magnesium and rich in antioxidants.
Several studies prove the benefits of dark chocolate in improving heart health.
Resveratrol, an antioxidant present in dark chocolate, increases HDL (good) cholesterol in the body. HDL is beneficial for your cardiovascular health. In addition, epicatechin in dark chocolate has anti-ageing properties and enhances performance.
The Nutritional value for 100gm of dark chocolate (70-85%) is:
- Calories – 598 kcal
- Carbohydrates – 45.9 g
- Proteins – 7.79 g
- Fats – 42.6 g
- Fibre – 10.9 g
Risk Factors and Precautions
If you suffer from liver disease, you should avoid eating high-fat foods. When the liver is not functioning correctly, fat metabolism in the body may alter and not function properly. The recommended dietary intake of fat in liver disease conditions is 20-30 grams per day. So you should avoid overconsumption.
Contrary to popular belief, high-fat foods are beneficial to health. However, you should always keep in mind the correct quantity you can consume. Consult a nutritionist to know the appropriate amount according to your dietary needs. Do not over consume any high-fat product, as it may have opposite effects. Foods which claim to be low in fat are highly processed and have other side effects. Hence, consuming naturally available high-fat foods in limited quantities and their health benefits is better.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What foods are fatty foods?
A. Foods that have a very high-calorie content are considered fatty foods. These foods are fattening by nature. People usually avoid these foods thinking they are bad for their health. However, there are healthy-fat foods and unhealthy ones. When one eats healthy fatty foods in the correct quantity, they positively affect your body. Some examples of good fatty foods are fatty fish, full-fat dairy, nuts, seeds, oils etc.
Q. What are the fatty foods to avoid?
A. You should avoid fatty foods with high trans and saturated fat. Trans and saturated fat are harmful to your body as they damage heart health by causing a blockage in arteries. Examples of unhealthy fatty foods are hydrogenated oils, like margarine and shortening; fried red meat; fried foods like chips, french fries, fried chicken; fast foods like burgers, pizza etc.
Q. Are eggs a fatty food?
A. Eggs are incredibly healthy. Egg yolk contains good fat and essential vitamins and minerals. The fat content of one egg is 4.25 g. The egg is a high biological value food item. Therefore, the egg contributes to minimum roughage after being metabolised in your body. All nutrients in an egg are very easily absorbed and utilised in your body. Hence eggs cannot be considered fatty food.
Q. Is rice a fatty food?
A. Rice is not a fatty food as it is very low in fat. However, it is a rich source of carbohydrates. Suppose the energy from carbohydrates does not get utilised in the body. Then it is stored as fat. So rice is not fatty food. But if your body consumes it in excess quantities, it gets stored as fat.
Q. What foods are 100% fat?
A. Oils, butter, margarine, and mayonnaise have high-fat percentages and can be termed as 100 % fat sources. Therefore, one should eat them in moderation. However, one needs to distinguish between good and bad fat. Good fat is necessary for the body, and it comes from nuts, fish, milk-based products, seeds, avocado etc. Bad fat hides in processed foods. Therefore, it would help if you did not overeat or avoid them.
Q. Does milk make you fat?
A. If one consumes lots of full-fat milk in excess, it will make you fat. But, on the other hand, if you drink milk in the correct quantity required, it will not make you fat. That is because milk provides essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A and is a rich source of protein. However, if you are lactose intolerant, avoid milk altogether as it may lead to complications.
Q. Is pasta a fatty food?
A. Yes, pasta is a fatty food, and one should eat it in moderation. If you want to make healthy pasta, use whole wheat pasta with skimmed milk and millet flour to make the white sauce. Add in veggies and lean meat to make the dish healthier.
Q. Does bread make you fat?
A. Yes, it does make you fat. Bread contains refined flour. For that matter, store-bought whole wheat bread also has refined flour. Refined flour does not have any essential nutrients and has empty calories. If you do not burn the calories from bread, it is stored in your body as fat. Therefore, have bread when you are active, especially during morning hours, as part of your breakfast meal and try to pick whole wheat/multigrain bread.
Q. Does eating cheese make you fat?
A. Cheese is a high fatty food, consuming a huge amount is not good. It will make you fat. Hence one should eat in moderation and not regularly. The way we eat cheese by slathering them on unhealthy dishes makes it harmful to our health. Also, look for cheese made from good quality milk. Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, protein, fat, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin A and B12 and riboflavin.
Q. Is butter a healthy fat?
A. No, butter is not healthy fat. Unless you buy one that is fortified with essential vitamins or minerals, it will make you fat. Hence one should eat in moderation and not regularly.
Q. Is bacon a good fat?
A. No, Bacon is very high in saturated fat, which is harmful to the body. However, it also has very high-quality animal protein. It also has vitamins and minerals that are good for health, like iron, phosphorus, zinc, selenium etc. Excess consumption of it will make you fat. Hence eat it occasionally. Bacon being a processed food, it is better to go for a less processed meat variant.
Q. Is avocado a good fat?
A. Yes, avocado is good fat. It contains unsaturated fats, which are suitable for the health and heart. Avocados are calorie-dense and very versatile. It is a superfood that you must include in your diet. It is a rich source of fibre, folate and potassium.
Q. Is peanut butter a healthy fat?
A. Peanut butter has unsaturated fats, which are healthy for the body. So if compared to the regular butter, yes, it is beneficial but it’s important to consume in moderation and not regularly. Peanut butter is a rich source of omega-6 and arginine. In addition, it lowers bad cholesterol (LDL).
Q. Are scrambled eggs Low fat?
A. When you scramble the whole egg, they are not low in fat. However, if the scrambled egg uses only egg white, it is low in fat, provided not too much oil or butter is used while making it.
Q. Which fats help you lose weight?
A. Fats with monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids are good fats. They help to lose weight. For example, olive oil helps lose weight as it has a very low absorbing value.
Q. Which fats help to fight heart disease?
A. Fats with monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids are good fats. They help to lower bad cholesterol.
Q. Which fats should I avoid for heart health?
A. One should avoid saturated fat and trans fat for good heart health. Some of the fats that one should avoid are fried red meat, butter, hydrogenated oil, etc.
Q. What are the good fats to eat for vegetarians?
A. Nuts, olive oil, ghee, avocado are good fats that vegetarians can eat. Pay attention to the cooking oil medium, as it can be a rich source of good fat.
Q. Can you lose fat on a vegetarian diet?
A. Yes, you can. Provided you cut down on the portion size and maintain regular physical activity, hydration level and sleeping pattern.
Q. What are the good fats in the keto diet?
A. Avocado, nuts, olive oil, fatty fish, etc., are good fats for a keto diet.
Q. What happens if you don’t eat enough fat on keto?
A. The body is devoid of the necessary energy and might develop some physiological problems. Carbohydrates are significantly low in keto. On top of that, if proper fat consumption is not maintained, there can be disastrous consequences.