Fat-Rich Plant Foods that are Good for your Health

almondsShould you avoid eating fat? No, your body needs a certain amount of fat. Make sure you eat healthy fats and that you do not over do it.

Avoid eating fats that cause health consequences. These fats are trans-fatty acids found in processed foods and saturated fats from animal products. The fats that are healthier for you are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are mostly concentrated in plants.

When consuming refined or unrefined oils be mindful of the amount of oil you consume. If oils are extracted from whole plant foods (avocados, fresh nuts and seeds, olives and lower-fat plant foods):  fiber, minerals, protein, vitamins, unrefined carbohydrates, protective antioxidants, phytochemicals and plant sterols get left behind.

Focus more on eating healthy fats in the whole food form and less on the extracted oils. The oils leave you with a lot of calories and very little nutrients for your body. You also save money not buying the oils, because oils tend to be more expensive than the whole food.

If you do use extracted oils, keep in mind that the whole food form of that specific food the oil was extracted from is more nutrient dense than the oil itself.

Here are plant-foods that are fat-rich that give you the greatest health advantages:

Avocados

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats and have a high level of nutrients and phytochemicals. Avocados contain more folate and potassium per ounce than any other fruit and are good sources of vitamin C and E. They also contain 76 milligrams of beta-sitosterol per 100 grams of fruit. Beta-sitosterol can inhibit cholesterol absorption from the intestine, helping to reduce the blood cholesterol levels and possibly inhibit tumor growth. Avocados has a rich source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. The avocado also is a high-fiber food, with 13.5 grams of fiber per average fruit.

Nuts

Research studies have confirmed the health benefits that exist in eating nuts. Regular nut consumption has been associated with an average risk reduction in coronary artery disease of 30-50 percent in several large study groups.

Maximum benefits appear to occur with intakes of 1-2 ounces per day.

Nuts are high in calories, it is best to eat them in moderation. Nuts are mainly monounsaturated fat (except for pine nuts and walnuts, both of which are high in polyunsaturated fats). They are low in saturated fat and free of tans-fatty acids and cholesterol.

Raw and roasted nuts both provide protection. However, roasted nuts may contain acrylamide and products of oxidation that could reduce their beneficial effects. Soaking raw nuts increase the protective components of the nuts, such as antioxidants and phytochemicals, and improves nutrient availability.

Olives

Olives have phytosterols and polyphenolic compounds. Oleuroopein, the major polyphenol in olives, is a powerful free radical scavenger, inhibiting oxidative damage and protecting the heart tissue. Olives and olive oil also contain phytochemicals with known anticancer effects, including lignans, squalene, and terpenoids. The concentration of these protective compounds depends on the processing techniques.

Seeds

Seeds are the life-giving part of a plant. Seeds are our most plentiful sources of essential fatty acids. Hempseeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds are all rich in linoelic acid (omega-6). Chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemspeeds are all rich in alpha-linoleic acid (omega-3).

Seeds are our richest sources of vitamin E and have other vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber.

Flaxseeds have a fatty acid ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 (about 1:4) and average about 57 percent of alpha-linoleic acid. Flaxseeds can help correct an imbalance of essential fatty acids. Flaxseeds are high in soluble fiber and are one of the richest known sources of boron. Flaxseeds are also the richest-known source of lignans, and preliminary evidence suggests they amy help reduce the growth of human cancer cells.

Chia seeds are the only food that is higher in omega-3 fatty acids than flaxseeds, with the oil containing about 63 percent omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contain 3.3 milligram of iron and 142 milligrams of calcium.

Hempseeds has remarkable nutritional value.  The calories in hempseeds have 20 percent of it as high-quality protein that is easily digestible.  They also have phytochemicals, trace minerals, and vitamins.

Final Words

If you use oils, stick with those oils that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Concentrated oils have few nutrients, besides the fat, and when too many calories in the diet come from oil, the amount of vitamins and minerals you eat may fall below desirable levels.

Focus more on eating whole fat-rich plant foods, because they provide great health benefits, make the foods you eat more pleasurable and increase the nutritional quality of your diet.

Do not be afraid of eating fat, just eat it in moderation and if you are trying to lose weight, be even more conservative with how much fat you consume.

Source of InformationBecoming Raw by Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD with Rynn Berry

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Evelyn Parham started this site in 2010. She enjoys writing, reading, and dabbling in photography and video editing. Learn more about her here.

6 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Bharat says:

    Great share Evelyn,

    I know lots of people still believe that fat is not good for your health, but they’re not aware that all fats are not bad. Some fat are really essential for your healthy body.

  2. GiGi Eats says:

    Coconut oil and olives/ olive oil are probably my FAVORITE plant based fats!! 🙂 Of course I do love flax, however, it tends to give me… Well, yep, gastric distress! Coconut oil on the other hand, helps it all and sautees veggies so amazingly well 🙂

  3. I love almonds. I love avocados. I love olives. I have hemp oil here at the house, but no idea what to do with it. It was given to me, but I’m clueless. Great article – makes it easy to know what is what.

    • Hey Alexandra,

      I love all the foods on your list. 😉

      You can make a salad dressing with it or add some to a smoothie. Hemp oil has a strong taste, so be careful when you using it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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