You cannot eliminate fat from your diet, and more importantly, you should not. Fats are what make your hair glossy and your skin smooth, optimize the activity of your cells, and promote a healthy nervous system (Your brain is actually 65 percent fat).
But there is no denying that fats also make you, well, fat. But that's only if you consume too many of the wrong kind. The bad fats are the “saturated” kind. They raise your LDL or “bad” cholesterol, the kind that contributes to the collection of plaque in your arteries and causes atherosclerosis. These saturated fats are found in animal products such as meat, butter and cheese. Trans fats – another bad fat – are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Trans fats are found in many fried foods and baked goods such as pastries, pizza dough, pie crust, cookies and crackers as well as fried and baked goods. According to the American Heart Association, calories from these saturated and trans saturated fats should amount to no more than 120 out of a 2,000 calorie diet – about 6 percent of total.
Instead, get the fats your body requires from the “good,” unsaturated kind:
Toss some seeds into your salad to add a new nutritional dimension to your healthiest meal of the day. Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and especially chia seeds are all rich in unsaturated fats. Ground flaxseed is also loaded with good fats, and is often overlooked. Use a teaspoonful to embellish your morning cereal.
Every nut you can name, from peanuts to pecans, is good for your cardiovascular system. Walnuts have even been known to help in the fight against cancer.
Avocado is not just for guacamole anymore. Not only is it good for your heart, it can help with osteoarthritis symptoms.
Beans are good for your heart, as the old schoolyard chant informed us, but they are also good for your brains as well. Although all beans are high in unsaturated fats, garbanzo beans are one of the best sources for magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels and allows more blood to flow to the brain. Soy beans, of course, are a prime source of protein for vegans.
When you cook with oil, use olive oil, as it is high in good fat. Because it's easy to overdue it, consider using an olive oil spray.
Eggs should not be overlooked in a healthy diet, as they are high in protein and unsaturated fats, as well as being very inexpensive. Some eggs may be enriched with omega-3s, which ups their game even further.