Healthy Fats for a Balanced Diet: The Best Sources

When it comes to a healthy diet, it's essential to include foods that are high in good fats. These include vegetable oils such as olive, canola, sunflower, soy and corn, nuts, seeds, and fish. Dairy products, eggs, and plants like avocados are also great sources of healthy fats that contain important nutrients like protein, fiber, and key vitamins. Avocados are particularly unique in the fruit world since they are packed with fat - 80% fat per calorie - making them richer in fat than most animal foods.

Cheese is surprisingly nutritious and is a great source of calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium. It also contains 6 grams of protein per ounce - almost as much as a glass of milk. Dark chocolate is another great source of healthy fats that contains fiber and several notable nutrients such as iron and magnesium. It's also packed with antioxidants like resveratrol and epicatechin.

Eggs are another great source of healthy fats that have been found to not adversely affect blood cholesterol in most people. Fish like mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and white tuna are loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Eating nuts regularly has been linked to improved health and a lower risk of suffering from various diseases like obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Chia seeds are also packed with fiber and omega-3s as well as other nutrients.

Olive oil is an essential component of the Mediterranean diet which has been shown to have numerous benefits for heart health, blood sugar control and weight control. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fatty fish a week - about 3 ounces or the size of a deck of cards - baked, grilled or poached. Avocados are also good for the heart and may help with symptoms of osteoarthritis. Half a medium avocado is one serving and has about 160 calories. All nuts are good for your heart but it's important to remember that just because fats are healthy doesn't mean you can eat as much as you want - about 14 walnut halves, 23 almonds, 28 peanuts, 18 cashew nuts or 19 halves of walnuts is equivalent to one serving. Eggs are also a great source of low-cost protein with 4.7 grams of fat per large hard-boiled egg - most of which comes from healthy fats.

Some eggs are also fortified with additional omega-3s. Good-for-you fats can help your skin look great, smoother, and younger as well as add fiber and help relieve inflammation. Ground flaxseed is a great way to get more healthy fats - try sprinkling it on your salad or cereal or use it when baking. Beans like kidney beans, Great Northern beans, navy blue beans or soy beans can be good for you mentally and physically since they contain omega 3s which can help with mood. Omega-3s have also been added to many foods such as fortified milk and eggs, bread and breakfast bars so check product labels to make sure you're getting the most health benefits possible. Healthy high-fat foods are an excellent way to incorporate more flavor, satisfaction, and nutrition into every snack and meal.