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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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