8 Healthy Fats You Should Be Eating

Fat is actually important to a healthy diet: Find out which foods will give you the healthy fats you need. 

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Walnuts have earned their superfood status in part because of their fats. They are one of the few foods to deliver alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fat thought to protect against heart disease. Toast them to bring out their flavor and extra crunch, then sprinkle about a tablespoon on yogurt or fold some into muffins or your morning oatmeal.

By Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D.


Olive oil is a great way to get monounsaturated fats in your diet, but so are olives. They also deliver plant sterols — compounds that can lower "bad" LDL cholesterol. Olives can be pretty high in sodium, but you can take away some of that salt by soaking them in fresh water.


Avocados get their creamy texture from heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They also deliver fiber, which helps you feel full, as well as potassium and vitamin C. For a heart-smart and delicious breakfast, smash an avocado onto whole-grain toast.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is an excellent heart-healthy choice for cooking. It’s loaded with monounsaturated fats, which can raise your "good" cholesterol (HDL) and lower your "bad" cholesterol (LDL). It’s particularly good for cooking at high temperatures, since it has a higher smoke point than olive oil.

Peanut Butter

Smear some toast or apple slices with peanut butter and you have a breakfast or snack with staying power. The unsaturated fats in peanut butter help make the meal satisfying by making it take longer to digest, and it’s also packed with protein. Stick to natural peanut butter to avoid the added sugars and unhealthy partially hydrogenated fats that are added to other kinds of peanut butter.


As an "oily" fish, salmon has lots of DHA and EPA — two kinds of omega-3 fats that can reduce inflammation, lowering risk of skin cancer and heart disease. Want an alternative to salmon? Trout, mackerel, sardines and herring are all good choices for getting DHA and EPA into your diet.


Flaxseed is high in a plant-based form of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is linked to heart health by improving blood pressure. Grind up 2 tablespoons or so in a clean coffee grinder and sprinkle it over cereal or yogurt.


Almonds are particularly high in monounsaturated fat, the kind that helps improve your cholesterol levels. They’re a smart choice for snacking; in addition to those healthy fats, almonds provide fiber and protein, which help keep you feeling satisfied. About a dozen is an appropriate serving.