Healthy Sources of Fat

by Louise | February 21st, 2012 | Eating Tips

Various sources will recommend that runners get 20-30% of their daily caloric intake from fat, but where should that fat come from? We know that trans fat and saturated fats are bad for us, so where can we get the good fat? Here are a few ideas for healthy sources of fat:

  • Almonds. Almonds (and nuts in general) are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Almonds are loaded with Vitamin E, and they also contain magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. Grab a handful of almonds to munch on-the-go, or add them to your favorite trail mix or granola mix. Fifteen almonds contain about 100 calories, 80 from fat.
  • Chocolate. Isn’t it great to have an excuse to eat some more chocolate? They say that the phytochemicals in chocolate (and wine) may fight heart disease. Dark chocolate contains more of them than milk chocolate, and it turns out to be a decent source of iron too! White chocolate does not contain any phytochemicals.
  • Flaxseed. Ground flaxseed can be mixed into your bowl of cereal, oatmeal, or the batter for a batch of muffins. It is one of the few vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid, which is hypothesized to boost immunity, blood flow, and even endurance. One tablespoon has about 60 calories, 60% from fat. Flaxseed is a good source of vitamins such as thiamin and B12, as well as a number of minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. It is a great source of dietary fiber. To keep flaxseed fresh, store it in the fridge.
  • Peanut butter. The fats in peanut butter are primarily the heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. Peanut butter is also a good source of vitamin E. Often eaten as a spread, as a dip, or even straight off a spoon, peanut butter is extremely easy health, fatty food to add to one’s diet.

It’s easier than you might think to have a diet that is too low in fat. I never really gave much thought to the idea. Trying to be “healthy,” I bought nonfat options of items when they were available. I recently decided to analyze my caloric intake for a week, and I noticed that I was only getting around 15% of my calories from fat on any given day (most of it which was from peanut butter), which is below the recommended range. As a quick fix, I started to replace some of my no-fat choices with low-fat choices, but adding nuts and other healthy, fatty foods, is another route to take.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.