- High-fat foods are often viewed as being unhealthy but that’s not always the case.
- Some foods that are high in fat can be good for your heart and they can also help you to feel fuller for longer.
- High-fat foods that can be beneficial to your health include hemp seeds, nuts, and fatty fish.
Some people automatically assume that all high-fat foods are linked to weight gain and a generally unhealthy lifestyle – but foods that contain a lot of fat aren’t always a bad thing.
Some fatty foods are actually high in unsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids which can provide you with some health benefits like helping to lower your blood cholesterol. Plus, consuming foods that are high in healthy fats may also help you to feel fuller for longer.
But with high levels of fat comes a lot of calories, so it’s also important to be mindful of portion sizes when consuming foods that are high in fat, healthy or not.
Here are some high-fat foods that are healthier than you might think.
Hemp seeds are loaded with healthy fats and they can help keep you satisfied
Hemp seeds, taken from the edible part of hemp plants, are commonly sprinkled on top of food or pressed for oil. The seeds are known for being nutrient-dense as just 3 tablespoons of them have 15 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein.
They are also high in fats like linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). Omega-6s and omega-3s are both essential fatty acids, which means your body cannot produce them naturally but you still need them in order to maintain good health.
And so sprinkling small amounts of hemp seeds on top of foods like oatmeal or smoothie bowls can help you to feel more satisfied after meals while ensuring your body gets some essential nutrients that it might not be producing on its own.
Avocados are high in fiber and fat but low in carbs
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Avocados are high in monosaturated fat, which is a good fat that can help lower your cholesterol, according to WebMD. Since they’re full of omega-3 fats and fiber, avocados can also help you to feel fuller for longer.
“Avocados are so nutrient-dense and satisfying that including a few slices in your sandwich or salad will make you feel satiated and satisfied so you’re not hungry,” New York-based dietitian Laura Burak previously told INSIDER.
Olive oil is rich in some healthier fats
There’s a reason olive oil is such a big part of the Mediterranean diet, a diet that focuses on the consumption of healthy fats and fresh produce.
A 2013 study from Technische Universitaet Muenchen found that olive oil has a “satiety effect,” meaning that consuming it can help you to feel more satisfied.
The oil has other potential benefits, too. Olive oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, which, according to WebMD, can help reduce “bad” cholesterol in your body while also lowering your risk of heart disease.
To reap the benefits of olive oil, try drizzling it on top of salads or using a bit of it to cook fish. Just be mindful of portion sizes as olive oil is high in fat and calories (just a single tablespoon has about 13.5 grams of fat and 119 calories).
Many nuts are high in heart-healthy fats
Nuts typically contain heart-healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats. They also contain plenty of fiber and protein, which can help you to feel more satisfied. Some popular varieties of heart-healthy nuts include almonds, walnuts, and pistachios.
Since most nuts are also high in calories, if you are trying to lose weight, Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, and owner of BZ Nutrition, said she recommends sticking to just 2 or 3 tablespoons per serving of any nut or seed.
Consuming full-fat dairy in moderation can have some benefits
Full-fat dairy, like whole milk, can be beneficial to your health when it is consumed in appropriate quantities. And consuming full-fat dairy may also be helpful when it comes to avoiding overeating.
“By eating the full-fat form of dairy products, you might actually eat fewer calories throughout the day than you would otherwise,” Brian Quebbemann, a bariatric surgeon with the Chapman Medical Center in California and president of The N.E.W. Program, told US News in 2016.
Additionally, in a 2016 study published by the American Journal of Nutrition, participants who consumed the most high-fat dairy products reduced their risk of being overweight or obese by 8%. According to Time magazine, researchers believed this was because people who cut fat out of their diet often overcompensate with carbohydrates, which the body converts into sugar, and, subsequently, body fat.
To get a suitable serving of full-fat dairy for breakfast, Zeitlin said she recommends eating about 6 ounces of full-fat Greek yogurt mixed with half a cup of berries and 2 or 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds for breakfast.
The fat and proteins in certain types of fish can help you to feel fuller for longer
According to the American Heart Association, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines, are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming these fatty acids that are found in fish can reduce your risk of having a heart attack and they can help to slightly lower your blood pressure, according to Mayo Clinic.
Plus, a 2006 study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that consuming fish could actually help you to live longer. According to Dariush Mozaffarian, the researcher who led the study, consuming fish or fish oil can reduce your total mortality rate by 17% and lower your risk of dying from heart disease by 36%. These benefits were both related to the consumption of high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that are found in some oily types of fish, like salmon.
In addition, the high levels of protein in fish like yellowfin tuna can help keep you fuller for longer, which can be useful if you’re trying to cut back on feeling constantly hungry or snacking in between meals.
For a meal that’s packed with satisfying, high-fat foods, Zeitlin said she recommends grilling a fatty fish and serving it with vegetables that have been cooked in olive oil.