6 Healthy High-Fat Foods You Should Be Eating

Olive oil paved the way for the pro-fat movement and soon ingredients like salmon and walnuts followed. The reason these foods have received so much love is because they contain polyunsaturated fat, which includes omega-3 and monounsaturated fat. Once studies showed these types of fats led to healthier hearts, people began leaving their low-fat ways behind.

While saturated fats have still largely remained something health professionals tell us to limit, they’re starting to change their tune. One recent study published in the British Medical Journal reported while trans fats are most certainly bad news for health, saturated fats don’t seem to have any correlation with mortality or heart disease.

Whether you’re interested in sticking with your monounsaturated standard or want to find some healthier ways to eat saturated fat, these six foods have you covered. They’ll give your diet a welcome change.

1. Cheese

blocks of Parmesan cheese to be grated

Parmesan cheese | iStock.com

When it comes to everyone’s favorite dairy, full-fat is the way to go. For starters, traditional cheese has a taste and texture even the best diet versions just can’t match. It might even reduce the likelihood of overeating throughout the day. Nutritionist Alan Aragon tells Men’s Health both the fat and protein help to boost satiety. “As a result, eating full-fat cheese holds your appetite at bay for hours,” he says in the story. And because cheese is made from milk, it also contains plenty of bone-building calcium.

Still skeptical of that pesky saturated fat? Don’t be. Most studies are finding no association between consuming fat from dairy products and heart disease, and some have shown an inverse relationship. This isn’t an invitation to gorge yourself on mass quantities of Brie and blue cheese every night, but this food absolutely deserves to see your dinner table.

2. Sardines

grilled srdines with rosemary and lemon

Grilled sardines | iStock.com

You’re probably used to hearing about the heart-boosting benefits of eating fatty fish by now. For most folks, that means lots and lots of salmon. Such demand is probably why the fish is so costly. To keep your bank account from suffering, go for sardines instead. Epicurious explains these tiny fish are inexpensive, sustainable, and contain minimal amounts of mercury.

As for the fat component, sardines deserve an award. According to EatingWell, these little fish deliver even more omega-3s than salmon — 1,950 milligrams for just 3 ounces. They’re also perfect for busy nights since they cook so quickly.

3. Coconut oil

whole coconut split in half next to a container of coconut oil

Coconut oil | iStock.com

One of the darlings of paleo devotees, coconut oil is getting a lot of attention. While you’d be wise to remain wary of some of the more extreme claims, science is telling us there may actually be something to this oil. Dr. Axe explains coconut oil is predominantly composed of medium-chain fatty acids, which are easier to digest and may be good for cholesterol.

Let’s look to a little bit of research. One 2012 study involved subjects living in India who had heart disease. They were grouped by cooking medium: Coconut oil or sunflower oil, which is high in polyunsaturated fats. Researchers found the choice of oil had no effect on arterial plaque composition. Coconut oil is still high in calories, though, so you still need to control your portions.

4. Pistachios

white bowl filled with pistachios

Pistachios in a bowl | iStock.com

Walnuts and almonds usually make the healthiest foods lists, but pistachios deserve just as much love. Rich in both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, pistachios can do wonders for your heart. One review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found while a mix of nuts can reduce cholesterol levels, pistachios had the greatest effect.

Nearly any type of nut is a smart choice for snacking thanks to satiating fat, but pistachios are even better for portioning purposes. The Kitchn illustrates that you can eat more pistachios for the same number of calories as other varieties. Opting for shell-on is even better. Removing the exterior will slow you down, reducing your chances of going overboard.

5. Olives

olives next to olive oil on a table

Olives and olive oil | iStock.com

Olive oil gets all the attention from healthy eaters, so it seems a little silly the fruits themselves haven’t received as much adoration. According to SFGate, olives boast plenty of fiber, iron, vitamin E, and monounsaturated fats. The fruit also has an advantage over the oil when it comes to your digestive health. Time explains olives are a fermented food, rich in a type of bacteria that’s great for your gut.

The one caveat to this ingredient is the salt. But keep in mind, cooking with olives means you’ll likely end up using far less additional salt in your dish. According to Livestrong, black varieties tend to boast lower sodium levels than green ones. You should also keep your eyes peeled for low-sodium olives.

6. Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate bar wrapped in foil

Dark chocolate | iStock.com

While most of us think of chocolate as something sweet, more than half of the calories in this treat come from fat. This isn’t a bad thing because reaching for something with a bit of fat for dessert will keep you more satisfied than something on the sugarier end of the spectrum. Consider one 2014 study that found dark chocolate was more effective at promoting a feeling of fullness than milk chocolate.

And let’s not forget about the antioxidants dark chocolate boasts. One 2013 review suggests these compounds may boost cognitive function and mood. Though the link between dark chocolate and heart health has gone both ways, a 2015 study found high chocolate intake was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Not bad for dessert.

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