Healthy Fats List: 12 Healthful Sources

Opt for these foods on our healthy fats list and lower your risk of disease.

| January/February 2014

  • Avocado oil is an excellent source of highly nutritious monounsaturated fats.
    Photo By Thomas Gibson
  • Oils that are unfiltered, first-pressed (extra virgin) or cold extracted retain more nutrients.
    Photo By Thomas Gibson

The oleic acid in dark chocolate can improve our cholesterol profiles. The butyric acid in butter from pastured animals and the capric acid in coconuts have antiviral properties. Hemp seed oil has an excellent omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Plainly, it’s a good idea to incorporate a variety of health-promoting fats into our diets.

When choosing oils, opt for unfiltered, first-pressed (extra-virgin) and cold-extracted versions whenever possible. These are extracted without heat, hot water or solvents, and are left unfiltered to retain all the nutrients. 

To extend them as long as possible, store butter, lard and nut oils in the refrigerator or freezer (depending how soon you will use them) and other oils in cool, dark conditions. Exposing fats to heat, oxygen and light is the fastest way to age them. Smell and taste fats and oils before using them to make sure they have not become rancid.

Healthy Fats List

Here are a few sources of healthy fats:

• Avocados and avocado oil
• Dark chocolate
• Microalgae such as spirulina and chlorella
• Coconut and coconut oil
• Oily fish, especially anchovies, Atlantic herring and mackerel, Alaskan wild salmon, sablefish, sardines, shellfish and oysters
• Flax seeds and flax seed oil
• Fats from pastured animals: butter and ghee (clarified butter) and suet (from cows); lard (from pigs); schmaltz (from chickens); duck fat, etc.
• Meat, eggs and dairy from pastured animals
• Nuts and nut oils, especially hazelnuts, macadamias and walnuts
• Olive oil
• Palm oil
• Seeds and seed oils, such as sesame, hemp and pumpkin (except sunflower oil, which is especially high in omega-6 fatty acids)

NOTE: Canola oil is not on this list. To learn more about how this genetically modified plant oil is highly processed, read The Great Con-Ola and The Real Story on Canola Oil (Can-Ugly Oil).

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