The benefits of heart-healthy omega-3 fats, unsaturated fats, and healthy saturated fats are well known , plus they’re great for metabolism, weight management, and mental wellness. But how exactly do you go about incorporating them into your diet? Start with these 7 suggested foods. Experiment to find what works for you, and incorporate them into the meals and snacks you’re already eating. They’re tasty – enjoy!
1. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are high in minerals such as potassium, selenium, iron, and calcium; essential amino acids, and protein. Plus they’ve got a sweet nutty flavor and a gentle crunch.
Sprinkle them on salads, stir fries, grilled meats, and yogurt parfaits. Or incorporate them into smoothies and baked goods
2. Walnuts and Walnut Oil
Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Walnut oil is great for cooking as a change from olive oil plus it is stable at relatively high cooking temperatures.
Toss walnuts on a salad, use walnut oil to grill asparagus or fish. Or mix with raisins, chopped dates, and dark chocolate chips for a healthy sweet snack.
3. Omega-3 Eggs
Eggs are inexpensive and versatile. They often get a bad rap for their presumed association with heart disease and high cholesterol levels in the blood. While the jury is still out on how many are OK to eat, you may want to play it safe and limit your intake to a total of 15 per week. Choose omega-3 eggs for their high content of essential amino acids.
Make a frittata or omelet for dinner, poach them and make them part of a rice bowl along with steamed or fried broccoli, or eat them boiled as a healthy, easy snack.
We all know salmon is rich in healthy fats but you may want to incorporate other healthy fish into your meal repertoire. You could try sardines, mackerel, and anchovies which are also healthy, but they may be too “fishy” for you and your family. Try trout: it’s closely related to salmon which is important to know for those allergic to salmon. Trout is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, the B Vitamin-complex, and minerals such as potassium and phosphorus.
Coat trout lightly with olive oil and dried spices like basil and garlic powder: bake, grill, pan fry, or grill. Simple and delicious!
5. Grass-fed Beef
Not all meat is created equal. The difference between factory raised cattle vs. those that are allowed to graze on grass is that the former eat corn, soy, other foods including other animals that cattle in nature don’t eat along with small amounts of dried grasses. Conversely, grass-fed cattle eat fresh grass or dried rye, clover, alfalfa, and sorghum grasses and many other grasses. In addition to these grasses being much better tolerated by the steer’s digestive tract, these grasses contain omega-3 fatty acids which explains why their meat is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Grass-fed beef is also one of the best dietary sources of iron. It has antioxidants, B vitamins, and is generally free of hormones and antibiotics.
Burgers, steaks, fried ground beef incorporated into sauces for pasta, and casseroles with beef are a great way to get the benefits of this healthy fat source.
Avocado is not just for guacamole! It’s loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, magnesium & other minerals, and folate & other vitamins.
Try it sliced on whole wheat toast spread with hummus; chop it up and incorporate into cooked quinoa, drained canned black beans, and chopped baby spinach; or blend with cocoa powder and maple syrup for a healthy chocolate pudding.
And speaking of chocolate…
7. Dark Chocolate, 70% or higher
The percentage noted in chocolate refers to the percentage of the entire weight of the chocolate made from the actual cocoa bean. Chocolate over 85 or 90% can taste chalky so many people aim for those between 70 and 85%. Chocolate contains antioxidants, minerals such as magnesium and calcium, and fiber. The higher percentage of chocolate vs. sugars and other fats the better the nutrient value. Plus for those of us who enjoy the taste of chocolate, it’s a real pleasure. If you’re sensitive to caffeine and some of the other stimulants found in chocolate, be sure to limit yourself to an ounce at a time or eat it before 2pm so it doesn’t interfere with sleep.
Try a square of dark chocolate after lunch or dinner, mix cocoa powder into a smoothie, or add a Tablespoon of dutch processed cocoa to a half cup of whole milk and half cup of hot water heated in the microwave along with 2 teaspoons of maple syrup for a healthy hot chocolate treat.
If you’d like some support and guidance for your healthy eating, let’s talk! You can book a session with me here. I look forward to chatting with you.