We’ve certainly come a long way since the ’90s—and not just because someone figured out how to milk oats and almonds. By now, virtually all healthy eaters have come around and accepted that some types of fats (namely, unsaturated ones) are full of nutritional benefits. (Ketogenic dieters live by this principle.)
As with any food group, not all unsaturated fats are created equal; some are more nutrient-rich than others. To help healthy eaters know which ones are the best of the best, author of Food: What The Heck Should I Cook? and functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman, MD, named his top five healthy fats in a recent Instagram post detailing why they rank as his favorite good fat foods.
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His ride-or-die absolute favorite healthy fat? Olive oil. “You should not live in fear of fats and oils,” says Dr. Hyman. “They make food taste better, offer many nutritional benefits, make you feel fuller, and help you lose weight.” While he says refined vegetable oils are not healthy and can actually cause inflammation, he’s a big fan of olive oil, which is a good source of omega-3s and antioxidants, working to reduce inflammation in the body.
Watch the video below to learn more of the health benefits of olive oil:
Your favorite food is also one of Dr. Hyman’s all-time faves. Yes, this healthy fat is worthy of all the hype. Research has shown that regularly eating avocado can actually improve your cholesterol. It’s also full of fiber, so it will keep your gut happy, too.
Plant-based eating has become increasingly popular, but Dr. Hyman says meat still has a place in a healthy diet because it’s such a good source of iron, protein, and healthy fats. To eat as nutritionally, sustainably, and ethically as possible, he recommends choosing grass-fed meats, if available to you.
Coming in at number four on Dr. Hyman’s good fat foods list is nuts—specifically walnuts, almonds, pecans, and macadamia nuts. “Focus on eating the fats and oils that our ancestors ate, and banish the industrially produced, highly processed ones from your kitchen,” says Dr. Hyman. And yes, our ancestors ate a lot of nuts.
Fatty fish like wild salmon, herring, mackeral, and sardines also regularly make their way onto Dr. Hyman’s plate. To ensure you’re choosing fish that’s low-mercury, in-season, and not being overfished, use the Seafood Watch app, which makes it easy to look up any breed of fish.
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