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8 Foods Rich In Healthy Fats That We Should Add To Our Meals

8 Foods Rich In Healthy Fats That We Should Add To Our Meals

There are many misconceptions nowadays that all seem to favor one problematic and misleading proposition: that eating fat makes you fat, and thus you should avoid it at all costs. The logic behind such assumptions is that since fat is loaded with calories (1 gram of fat has 9 calories compared to 4 calories per 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein) it can only do more harm than good. I am here to tell you that such conclusions could not be further from the truth. Food science has already confirmed that the (im)balance of calories consumed versus calories expended determine whether the energy in food gets stored as fat or not. Fat is more filling than carbohydrates, and thus people tend to eat less from such products. This does not mean, however, that we should stick to such old-fashioned assumptions and avoid consuming healthy fats altogether.

In the following, I would like to highlight 8 healthy food sources that you could utilize to not only improve your cardiovascular health but also contribute to your weight loss endeavors. Yes, you read it right. Conscious and careful fat consumption can contribute to weight loss, too. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Eggs

Historically, eggs have been one of the most controversial food sources out there. Many research and clinical studies have been conducted to identify potential health risks of consuming eggs, but the negative publicity of eggs in the past few decades can be credited to the fact that one single egg yolk has 213 mg of cholesterol that makes 70% of the total daily amount of 300mg recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Then, eggs started to gain traction once more when they were applauded for their high protein and heart-healthy DHA omega-3 fatty acid content.

Despite of all that, whole eggs are probably one of the most inexpensive food items with more essential vitamins and minerals than any other food. Given the fact that eggs are an excellent source of choline, a substance that the body requires to turn fat into energy, they are also rich in two very important antioxidants: lutein and zeaxinthin. These two substances help prevent cataracts (clouding of the lens in the eye that leads to decreased vision) and macular degeneration (loss of vision in the centre of the visual field).

An article you may like: 5 Foods To Boost Your Eye Health

If you have been afraid of eggs so far, then forget all that you have been told and start eating eggs. Studies conducted at Wake Forest University have shown that there is no correlation whatsoever between egg consumption and heart disease.

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Word of caution: The American Health Association recommends that people who have elevated cholesterol or increased risk factors for heart disease should not consume more than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol, which equals one single egg yolk a day.

Olive oil

Consuming olive oil is one of the many good things you can do to yourself if you are really thinking about changing your eating habits altogether. Olive oil belongs to the group of monounsaturated fatty acids that are considered a healthy dietary fat source due to the following health benefits:

  • lowered total cholesterol levels
  • lowered low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels
  • decreased blood clotting
  • offers better insulin levels and blood sugar control (an ideal health benefit if you are suffering from type 2 diabetes)

Despite of all these amazing health benefits, we must not forget that olive oil is a fatty acid and that fat is rather calorie-dense (9 calories in 1 gram). Therefore, we must consume them in moderation. Choosing olive oil in place of your regular butter or margarine can go a long way in making sure you stay healthy and beautiful all year round.

Word of caution: Do not use olive oils for cooking, for they have a low smoke point. What this means is that once they are exposed to heat, they go rancid fairly quickly, which can turn an otherwise healthy oil into unhealthy oil, thus running the risk of creating inflammation in your body.

Avocado

Avocado is one of the most renowned go-to ingredients on parties for making guacamole dips, but they are also rather frequently used on salads, smoothies and brownies to create a unique flavor. What is it that makes this pear-shaped fruit a commodity of great renown?

Avocados offer more than 20 vitamins and minerals in every single serving, such as potassium(blood pressure), folate(cell repair), lutein(eye health) or B vitamins that help us fight off infection or disease. Given their Vitamin C and E content, they are also an excellent means of fighting or preventing cancer.

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On top of all that, they are low in sugar and contain fiber (gives a feeling of satiety that can be a useful asset in any diet). The most important fact of all is that avocados are also high in monounsaturated ‘healthy’ fat that lowers bad cholesterol levels but only if you consume them with care and in moderation (avocados are high in calories, that is).

Fish

I am sure you have heard many times before that eating Omega-3 fatty acid through food sources is something that you should definitely do if you want to stay healthy. According to the American Heart Association, we should eat fish (mainly fatty fish) at least two times a week. Fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, lake trout, albacore tuna, sardines or herring are extremely high in omega-3, so these are the kinds of fish we should be focusing on.

Fish is an excellent source of quality protein, and unlike fatty meat products, it is not high in saturated fat. Given its high dose of omega-3, fish is extremely beneficial for improving heart health in general and preventing different cardiovascular diseases in particular. Numerous studies have confirmed the following health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid:

  • decreases the risk of abnormal heartbeat (arrhytmia) that is often the number one cause of sudden death in people.
  • lower blood pressure
  • prevents/decreases atherosclerosis (the thickening of artery walls)

Word of caution: Avoid eating Mackarel, tilefish, shark or swordfish, for they contain excess amounts of mercury. Also, when it comes to omega- 3 supplementation, taking more than 300 mg of it should only be done under a primary care physician’s supervision.

Nuts

Nuts are the holy grail of healthy fats. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts, if eaten as part of a balanced healthy diet, can contribute a great deal to your overall health and cholesterol levels. The best about nuts is that they are not only inexpensive and easy to pack when you are on the go, but they are also full of heart-healthy nutrients no matter what kind of nut you like: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts…you name it.

Let’s see some of the benefits that make nuts an ideal choice for anyone:

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  • lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol levels (a primary cause of heart disease worldwide)
  • Reduces the risk of blood clotting
  • Improves the health of the lining of arteries

Nuts are also an excellent source of unsaturated fats, Omega 3 fatty acids, fibers (you know, the thing that makes you eat less), vitamins and other substances that are vital to our long-term well being.

Word of caution: Nuts are also extremely calorie dense. Fat consumed in the diet beyond what the body can immediately metabolize/use as an energy source will be stored as fat. Therefore, make sure you do not consume more than a handful of your favorite walnuts or peanuts a day.

Animal Fats

When it comes to grease, people tend to turn away in disgust because they believe that animal fat is the villain everyone should stay away from. The reason why hamburger does not fit into any weight loss diet is not because it is greasy. The reason why it is unhealthy is because hamburgers generally contain a large and complicated mixture of toxic vegetable oils as well as highly-processed and genetically-modified ingredients. Also, the meat often comes from sick factory animals that is often the consequence of how these animals are treated and housed in these large establishments.

So what happened to us? Every single indigenous culture consumed a large variety of animal fats in varying quantities based on where they were geographically located. Even though these cultures consumed a lot of animal fats, there has been no indication that these people actually suffered from similar degenerative diseases that modern people experience nowadays. As a matter of fact, in his book entitled Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, according to Dr. Weston Price, an author and scientist of great renown, these people had high longevity as well due to their consuming of animals, vegetables and fruits in their unaltered “raw” state.

Health Benefits of Animal fats:

  • Contain Vitamin A and D (needed for the assimilation of protein)
  • Dietary fats are required for converting carotene to Vitamin A and mineral absorption.
  • they are concentrated sources of energy
  • they are building blocks of cell membranes and a large set of hormones.
  • Saturated fats (in moderation) support our cells’ walls, promote essential fatty acid metabolism, and enhance the immune system while also contribute to strong bones and the protection of the liver
  • Dietary cholesterol strengthens the intestinal wall and helps children develop a healthy nervous system.

Word of Caution: Animal fats make an excellent choice for cooking with, but I urge you to use the ones that come from grass-fed, pasteurized and organic animals. Normally, if you can gain access to high quality fat sources such as, ghee, tallow or lard, then they would make an excellent, delicious and healthy alternative.

Soybean oil

Soybean oil, being one of the many ancient crops from the Chinese inlands, was introduced to the rest of the world some hundred years ago. According to the U.S Agricultural Services, it has by now become one of the most popular cooking oils. Soybean oil is a rather healthy oil, provided that you are using the non-hydrogenated and organic version of it. It would be particular useful for someone who is missing essential Omega-6 (linoleic acid) from one’s diet, for 50% of it consists of linoleic acid. Monounsaturated fats are in abundance in this kind of oil (approximately 25%), so if your diet requires more of it, there you have it.

Health Benefits of Soybean oil:

  • Has a good lipid profile (meaning, it has saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in healthy proportions)
  • It is a stable cooking oil with a long shelf life
  • low in saturated fats and free from cholesterol (Soybean is considered the healthiest cooking oil of all)
  • According to the FDA, it reduces the risk of heart disease because the phytosterols found in it completely inhibit cholesterol absorption in the gut while also reducing blood cholesterol levels by approximately 10-15%.
  • Soybean is filled with the antioxidant called Vitamin E. (maintains the integrity of cell membranes and skin by protecting them from oxygen-free radicals)
  • There is a high Vitamin K concentration in Soybean oil that contributes to bone health, bone strength and bone formation. Given its ability to limit neuronal damage to the brain, Vitamin K is often used in the treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Cheese

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, Americans eat a record amount of cheese – more than 10.6 billion were produced in 2011. This fact in itself would be a favorable one, but the problem is that we do not usually eat it the way we should. Poured over nachos and pizzas, or stacked on top of crackers, pretty much cancel all the health benefits that they may yield on their own. If you are shooting for cheese, you should choose the fat-free and low-fat kind to make the most of the number of health benefits.

These health benefits are as follows:

  • full of bone-building calcium as well as protein, zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12 and phosphorus
  • Keeps teeth and bones strong
  • In moderation, cheese can help you lose weight
  • Protects against osteoporosis and PMS Symptoms in women
  • Zinc and Biotin: aids tissue repair, prevents and treats macular degeneration, keeps your nails strong and skin smooth.

Taking a look at these health benefits, we can easily see how adding cheese to our meals (in moderation) can go a long way in helping us reap the aforementioned long-term health benefits. If you are afraid of the high concentration of saturated fats in it, then do not be: recent research has shown that there is little to no correlation between the consumption of saturated fats and heart disease. This does not mean that we can just go ahead and eat them mindlessly. It is all about control and portions.

Word of Caution: If you are lactose intolerant, Cheddar, Swiss or other aged cheeses would be ideal alternatives, for they contain little to no lactose. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the consumption of 3 servings of milk, cheese or yoghurt every day for individuals aged 9 and over. One serving = one or one-half ounces of hard cheese, two ounces of processed cheese and one-third cup of grated one.

Takeaway:

Consuming healthy fats in our diet has a large pool of benefits to our cardiovascular health. If you pay attention to the amount of fat you take in every day, you can potentially contribute to your weight loss endeavors, too. Yes, fight fire with fire, that is, fat with fat. Several studies have proven that as long as calorie intake is equal across diets, the percentage of calories consumed from fat, protein and carbs does not make a difference in a sustained weight loss program. What this means is that as long as you pay attention to the amount of micro – and macronutrients consumed in your diet, you  do not have to be afraid of putting on weight or putting yourself at risk of any heart-related disease.

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Szabo Laszlo

Content Marketer and Fitness Enthusiast

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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