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5 Healthy High-Fat Foods

Low-Carb High-Fat Vegetarian Foods

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Updated October 03, 2013

Do you consider youreslf to be a eater of healthy food? Sometimes the most conscientious eaters will avoid some very healthy foods because of the fat content. Even though the word is out that fats per say are not bad (after all, our brains are mostly fat), there are still a lot of mixed messages about fats in the diet. Cries of "there's too much fat in that!" can still be heard throughout the land, including in news programs on TV.

If you have determined that a low-carb diet is a healthy way for you to eat, eventually you'll have to come to terms with the fact that you'll be adding high-fat foods to your diet. Even though there is some controversy about saturated fats among low-carb authors (though there is growing consensus that in the context of a low-carb diet, saturated fats are not the demons they've been made out to be), basically everyone agrees that the following foods are very good for you and can be added into your diet.

How much fat to add? Basically, once you know how much carbohydrate works for you and how much protein you need, the rest of your calories will come from fats. If you are losing weight (in other words, using the fats stored in your body), you may not need to add much, but as weight loss slows add fats rather than carbs if you need more food.

How to Overcome Fat Phobia

1. Olive Oil

olive oil
Photo © Olga Lyubkina]
Olive oil isn't just "not bad for you" -- it's truly an excellent food to include in your diet. Extra virgin olive oil has anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant effects in the body, and can protect is from heart disease and even cancer. Find out more about the Wonders of Olive Oil, as well as important information about selection and storage.

2. Avocados

avocado
Photo © Karen Struthers
Avocados are another rich source of monounsaturated fat and a true low-carb super-food. They are packed with nutrients, and a whole California avocado has only 3 grams of net carb! Great reasons to indulge! More about avocados with links to recipes.

3. Nuts and Seeds

Photo: Dennis Flaherty/Getty Images
Nuts have been shown to be heart healthy -- in many studies, people who eat nuts are less likely to get heart disease and diabetes. Nuts aren't all the same, of course, and some have more carbohydrate, and different types of fats.

Chart with Carbs, Fats, and Calories in Nuts and Seeds

Almonds - Health Benefits and Links to Recipes

4. Flax and Chia Seeds

flax seeds
Photo © Emily Dolson
Although lots of plants, like most greens, have some omega-3 fatty acids, they are really in tiny amounts compared to what is recommended. There are some seeds, though, like flax seeds and chia seeds, that contain omega-3 fats. Although the fats are not the prized longer-chain omega-3s (DHA and EPA) found in oily fish, most bodies can make the longer-chain ones from the omega-3's found in these seeds and other plant sources. Flax -- The Low-Carb Whole Grain - links to recipes

5. Coconut

Photo © Ionut Neacsu
Coconut oil, which is found in the meat and milk of the coconut and also extracted and sold just as oil, is controversial as a recommendation. This is because the oil in the coconut is mostly saturated fat, which to many people is an automatic danger sign. On the other hand, there are many different saturated fats, and they certainly do not all have the same effects in the body. The fats in coconut are mostly medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which some research is showing may have positive effects on our immune systems, for digestive problems, in some brain problems such as Alzheimer's disease, and more. Some studies indicate that diabetics have improved glucose tolerance when they consume these types of oils.

One way in which MCTs are different is that we use them quite quickly for energy, so they are less likely to be stored in our fat cells. Ketones are readily generated when medium-chain triglycerides are metabolized, which may be a partial explanation for the lack of fat storage.

More Information about Medium-Chain Triglycerides from Cathy Wong, About.com's Guide to Alternative Medicine

These five foods will get you off to a healthy start in increasing the fats in your diet. They will help to keep you feeling satisfied longer after a meal and are good for your overall health as well.
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