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What are some examples of healthy fats?

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Healthy fats include monounsaturated fats found in foods such as avocado and olive oil, the polyunsaturated fats found in plant-based foods such as corn oil and pumpkin seeds, and omega-3 fatty acids including those in salmon, soy and walnuts. Nuts, beans and dark-green veggies are also sources of healthy fat.

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Essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 are especially important because the human body doesn't naturally produce either nutrient, although not all researchers agree on the health benefits of omega-6 fatty acids, as of 2015. Foods that are high in omega-6 include eggs, cereals, whole-grain breads and most vegetable oils. Fatty fish are the best source of omega-3, particularly salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout. Ground flaxseed, canola and soybean oil, sunflower seeds, and most nuts are good plant-based sources for this important healthy fat, but it isn't as useful to the body as the omega-3s derived from fish oil.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults receive 20 to 35 percent of their daily calories from fat while limiting the consumption of unhealthy fats to less than 10 percent of the total. Unhealthy fats, including trans and saturated fat, are found in most meats, animal fats and dairy products, as well as some plant-based oils such as palm oil, coconut oil and vegetable shortening.

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