10 High-Fat Foods That Are Surprisingly Super Healthy
Ever since fat was demonized, people started eating more sugar, refined carbs and processed foods instead. As a result, the entire world has become fatter and sicker. However, times are changing. Studies now show that fat, including saturated fat, isn’t the devil it was made out to be (1, 2).
All sorts of healthy foods that happen to contain fat have now returned to the “superfood” scene.
Here are 10 high-fat foods that are actually incredibly healthy and nutritious.
The avocado is different from most other fruits. Whereas most fruits primarily contain carbs, avocados are loaded with fats. In fact, avocados are about 77% fat, by calories, making them even higher in fat than most animal foods (3). The main fatty acid is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. This is also the predominant fatty acid in olive oil, associated with various health benefits (4, 5).
Avocados are among the best sources of potassium in the diet, even containing 40% more potassium than bananas, a typical high potassium food. They’re also a great source of fiber, and studies have shown that they can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL (the “good”) cholesterol (6, 7, 8).
Even though they are high in fat and calories, one study shows that people who eat avocados tend to weigh less and have less belly fat than those who don’t (9).
Bottom Line: Avocados are a fruit, with fat at 77% of calories. They are an excellent source of potassium and fiber, and have been shown to have major benefits for cardiovascular health.
Cheese is incredibly nutritious. This makes sense, given that an entire cup of milk is used to produce a single thick slice of cheese. It is a great source of calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium, and contains all sorts of other nutrients (10). It is also very rich in protein, with a single thick slice of cheese containing 6.7 grams of protein, same as a glass of milk.
Cheese, like other high-fat dairy products, also contains powerful fatty acids that have been linked to all sorts of benefits, including reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (11).
Bottom Line: Cheese is incredibly nutritious, and a single slice contains a similar amount of nutrients as a glass of milk. It is a great source of vitamins, minerals, quality proteins and healthy fats.
3. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is one of those rare health foods that actually taste incredible. It is very high in fat, with fat at around 65% of calories. Dark chocolate is 11% fiber and contains over 50% of the RDA for iron, magnesium, copper and manganese (12).
It is also loaded with antioxidants, so much that it is one of the highest scoring foods tested, even outranking blueberries (13). Some of the antioxidants in it have potent biological activity, and can lower blood pressure and protect LDL cholesterol in the blood from becoming oxidized (14, 15). Studies also show that people who eat dark chocolate 5 or more times per week are less than half as likely to die from heart disease, compared to people who don’t eat dark chocolate (16, 17). There are also some studies showing that dark chocolate can improve brain function, and protect your skin from damage when exposed to the sun (18, 19).
Just make sure to choose quality dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa.
Bottom Line: Dark chocolate is high in fat, but loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. It is very effective at improving cardiovascular health.
4. Whole Eggs
Whole eggs used to be considered unhealthy because the yolks are high in cholesterol and fat. In fact, a single egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, which is 71% of the recommended daily intake. Plus, 62% of the calories in whole eggs are from fat (20). However, new studies have shown that cholesterol in eggs doesn’t affect the cholesterol in the blood, at least not in the majority of people (21).
What we’re left with is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Whole eggs are actually loaded with vitamins and minerals. They contain a little bit of almost every single nutrient we need. They even contain powerful antioxidants that protect the eyes, and lots of choline, a brain nutrient that 90% of people don’t get enough of (22, 23).
Eggs are also a weight loss friendly food. They are very fulfilling and high in protein, the most important nutrient for weight loss (24). Despite being high in fat, people who replace a grain-based breakfast with eggs end up eating fewer calories and losing weight (25, 26). The best eggs are omega-3 enriched or pastured. Just don’t throw away the yolk, that’s where almost all the nutrients are found.
Bottom Line: Whole eggs are among the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Despite being high in fat and cholesterol, they are incredibly nutritious and healthy.
5. Fatty Fish
One of the few animal products that most people agree is healthy, is fatty fish. This includes fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring. These fish are loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high quality proteins and all sorts of important nutrients (27).
Studies show that people who eat fish tend to be much healthier, with a lower risk of heart disease, depression, dementia and all sorts of common diseases (28, 29, 30). If you can’t (or won’t) eat fish, then taking a fish liver oil supplement can be useful. Cod fish liver oil is best, it contains the omega-3s that you need, as well as plenty of vitamin D (31).
Bottom Line: Fatty fish like salmon is loaded with important nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Eating fatty fish is linked to improved health, and reduced risk of all sorts of diseases.