We’ve come to the last group of superfoods after going through starchy grains, starchy vegetables, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and dairy. Today it’s time point out the best superfoods from the food group called fats.
And no, fats are not something you should avoid as they are essential for our health, just like all other food groups.
What you should know, however, is that there are different types of fat, some of them being healthy while others not.
Fats that are good for your health are unsaturated fats which can be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They help lower the risk of heart disease and reduce the cholesterol levels.
On the other hand, unhealthy fats include saturated fats and trans fats. They increase the risk of high blood cholesterol and heart disease.
Without further ado, here are the healthiest fats you should include in your diet.
Even though avocado belongs to the group of fruits, its rich fat content puts it in the group of fats as well. It is abundant in the heart-healthy monounsaturated fat which can help reduce LDL cholesterol.
Thanks to the phytosterols in its content, avocados can regulate blood cholesterol levels. What’s more, it’s high in potassium which is crucial for blood pressure control.
Besides supporting the heart health, they also help control triglyceride and blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Also, they are rich in carotenoids which help protect against vision problems and possibly prostate and breast cancer.
¼ cup of avocado contains 9g of fat, 4g of fiber, 5g of carbs, and 96 calories.
Select slightly soft avocados, and avoid those with cracks or sunken spots. If you buy hard avocados, you can ripen them by keeping them in a paper bag. Keep the ripe ones in the fridge and prevent them from turning brown by sprinkling some lemon juice on any cuts.
You can add avocado slices in sandwiches, salads, or spread soft one on bread or crackers.
Pumpkin seeds are a nutrient powerhouse, containing magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, protein, zinc, vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, omega-3s, and phytosterols.
Thanks to their phytosterol content, they help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. That’s why pumpkin seeds are recommended for a heart-friendly diet.
On the other hand, the zinc, omega-3s, and carotenoid content give the seeds incredible anti-inflammatory properties. Pumpkin seeds contain vitamin E, carotenoids, and other antioxidants which help lower inflammation and prevent free radical damage.
Some studies suggest that they can even reduce benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms. Others show that adding pumpkin seed powder or juice to one’s diet can help reduce blood glucose levels in those with type 2 diabetes.
¼ cup of whole pumpkin seeds includes 3g of fat, 3g of protein, 9g of carbs, and 71 calories.
It’s always best to eat fresh seeds straight from a pumpkin, but you can do that just in autumn. The other option is to buy packaged seeds and make sure there’s no moisture in the container or package, as well as no sign of any insects.
Even though they grow in trees, olives must undergo some processing before you can eat them. There are many types of olives, some of the most common being Sevillano, Picholine, Barouni, Ascolano, Mission, and Manzanilla.
They are extremely high in the heart-friendly vitamin E and monounsaturated fats. What’s more, olives contain the antioxidants flavonoids and polyphenols which is why they have anti-inflammatory effects.
They make the incredibly healthy olive oil which can help reduce blood cholesterol and the risk of cancer.
10 black olives include 5g of fat, 3g of carbs, and 50 calories, while 10 green ones contain 4g of fat, 1g of carbs, and 40 calories.
You can choose olives in cans and jars, or select your own in barrels or tubs. Keep them in the fridge. There are many great ways to add olives to your diet. For example, use them in tuna or chicken salads or green salads, or serve them as part of an appetizer tray.
Sesame seeds come in different colors, ranging from yellow and ivery to black, red, and brown.
They are high in manganese, calcium, copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, and vitamin B1. Moreover, sesame seeds contain lignans, sesamolin, and sesamin, which can reduce cholesterol levels and fight prostate and breast cancer.
Animal studies have shown they can also reduce blood pressure. Other beneficial compounds present in sesame seeds are phytosterols. They help reduce cholesterol levels, which is why they boost the heart health.
A tablespoon of these seeds contains 4g of fat, 1g of fiber, 2g of carbs, and 50 calories.
You can find them in packages or bulk. If you buy sesame seeds in bulk, check to see if there’s any moisture or insects. You don’t want to buy seeds that smell rancid. You can keep them in the fridge for up to 6 months. Otherwise, keep them in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.
Besides adding them to muffins, cookies, and other baked goods, you can also sprinkle some sesame seeds on vegetables or add them to sauces and salad dressings.