Healthy-Fat Foods

Healthy-Fat Foods

Fish
Naturally fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These are “good” fats that help keep your heart healthy. They may also help keep your brain sharp, especially as you get older. The American Heart Association suggests eating two servings of fatty fish a week. A serving is 3 ounces — about the size of a deck of cards. Try it baked, grilled, or poached.

Avocado
Eat it on your sandwich, or serve it up in guacamole. Tasty avocado is good for your heart and may help with osteoarthritis symptoms, thanks to healthy fats.

An extra benefit? When you eat avocado with other foods, it helps your body better absorb their nutrients. Half a medium avocado is one serving and about 115-160 calories.

Seeds
Little pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds pack a big punch. They have “good” fats that can lower cholesterol. In general, fats that come from plants are healthier than those from animal products. “Bad” fats are in foods like fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy products, and some packaged foods. Check food labels to see how much fat, and what type, you’re getting. Limit saturated fats and avoid trans fats.

Nuts
From hazelnuts to pecans, all nuts are good for your heart. Walnuts, especially, deliver heart-healthy fats. But don’t overdo it. Just because the fats are healthy doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. A serving is 1 ounce. That’s about 14 walnut halves, 23 almonds, 28 peanuts, 18 cashews, and 19 pecan halves.

Olive Oil
Whether you’re cooking or dressing your salad, try olive oil. It’s high in good fat. Remember, though: It’s always smart to watch how much fat — even good fat — you eat. So cook with less oil than a recipe calls for. Or use an olive oil spray. In baking, you can use applesauce for half the oil to cut back on some fat and shave calories.

Eggs
Eggs are a great source of inexpensive protein. A large, hard-boiled egg has 5.3 grams of fat, most from healthy fats. Some eggs are also enriched with extra omega-3s. It will say so on the carton.

Ground Flaxseed
As part of a healthy diet, good-for-you fats can help make your skin look great — plumper and younger. Plus, they add fiber and can help ease inflammation. Get good fats by sprinkling a teaspoon of ground flaxseed on your salad or your cereal, or use it when you’re baking.

Beans
Whether they’re kidney, Great Northern, navy, or soybeans, adding beans to your diet can be good for you mentally and physically. Beans have omega 3s, which may help with mood.

Omega-3-Fortified Foods
There are also many foods that have added omega-3s to make them healthier. You can find enriched milk and eggs, bread, and breakfast bars, for example. Check product labels to make sure. Plus, you may get more health benefits by getting omega-3s through fortified products than from a supplement.

Your Guide to Eating Healthy Carbs

Your Guide to Eating Healthy Carbs

Make the Right Choice
Think of carbs as raw material that powers your body. You need them to make sugar for energy.

They come in two types: simple and complex. What’s the difference? Simple carbs are like quick-burning fuels. They break down fast into sugar in your system. You want to eat less of this type.

Complex carbs are usually a better choice. It takes your body longer to break them down.

Read the “Fine Print”
Nutrition labels offer an easy way to spot added sugar, the source of simple carbs that you want to cut back on. Just look for words that end in “ose.”

The chemical name for table sugar is sucrose. Other names you might see include fructose, dextrose, and maltose. The higher up they appear in the ingredients list, the more added sugar the food has.

Just Avoid Simple Carbs?
Well, it’s not quite that easy. Foods that have been processed with added sugars generally aren’t as healthy a choice, it’s true. But simple carbs occur naturally in some foods that are part of a balanced diet. For example, most milk and other dairy products contain lactose, or milk sugar.

Get Smart About Bread
Does your loaf have the complex carbs that are good for you? It depends on the grain used to make it.

Look for bread made with whole grains. Barley, rye, oats, and whole wheat are some top choices.

What About Fruit?
They’re sweet, which must mean they have simple carbs, right? That’s true, but they’re still a healthy choice. They’ve got fiber in them, which helps slow the breakdown of sugar. Plus, most are a good source of nutrients like vitamin C and potassium.

Fruits with skins you can eat, such as pears, apples, and berries, are especially high in fiber.

Watch What You Drink
That soda you’re sipping could be a sneaky source of simple carbs. That’s because non-diet sodas contain a sweetener, often high-fructose corn syrup. It’s right there on the nutrition label, usually one of the first ingredients listed. Twelve ounces of a regular soda can pack 39 grams of carbs, all coming from the sugar in it.

Think Fall
Many of the foods you associate with autumn are great sources of complex carbs.

Try starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin.

Sweeten With Caution
You can quickly load up on simple carbs if you’re not careful about what you stir into your hot drink or put on your oatmeal. Go easy on brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, and molasses.

And don’t overdo it on fancier-sounding sweeteners, like turbinado and agave nectar. They’re also sources of simple carbs.

Bring on the Beans
They’re a good way to get complex carbs. Whether you choose kidney, white, black, pinto, or garbanzo, beans have lots of fiber.

While you’re on that aisle in the grocery store, think about picking up some lentils or split peas, another way to add complex carbs to your diet.

A Guilt-Free Treat
It seems too good to be true, but you can believe it: Popcorn is a whole grain. That means it’s got complex carbs and fiber. Your healthiest choice is air-popped, without any added fat and salt. Season it with your favorite dried herbs and spices instead.

Great Grains to Try
Maybe you’ve heard of quinoa, the whole grain from South America. Some other new-to-you whole grains are becoming more widely available, and they can be a good choice to get complex carbs in your diet.

Some grains to look for are millet, a staple from Africa and Asia, bulgur, which is used in Middle Eastern dishes, and triticale, a hybrid of wheat and rye.

Which Kind of Rice?
You’re ordering Chinese food and the restaurant asks, “White rice or brown?” Which should you choose?

White rice is a “refined” grain, meaning it has lost some key nutrients during processing, like fiber. But brown rice is a whole grain, a good source of complex carbs.