Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Love Your Heart With Healthy Fats

Kathy Graves, MS, RD, LD

I’ll let you in on a secret… Your heart really does love a little fat. But it must be the right kind of fat. Our diets usually consist of four types of fat: saturated, trans-saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Saturated and trans-saturated fats in large amounts contribute to elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as the “bad” cholesterol in our bodies. When we replace these “bad” fats with “good” fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, we can lower our LDL and raise our high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol. Below are foods containing healthy fats, ways to incorporate them into your meal plan and recipes that have healthy sources of fat.

Sources of Healthy Fats

  • Avocados
  • Nuts: walnuts, almonds, pistachios
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Canola oil
  • Flaxseed
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut butter

Healthy fats, like any other type of fat, have 9 calories per gram. One tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil have about the same number of calories. The difference comes down to which type of fat makes up those calories, so portion size is still important when consuming healthy fats. Treat your heart to some healthy fats by incorporating them into your daily meal plan.

How to add healthy fats to your everyday foods:

  • Add flaxseed to yogurt, smoothies, casseroles and oatmeal.
  • Use olive and canola oil when cooking meats and vegetables instead of butter.
  • Make dressings using olive oil or canola oil by mixing with balsamic vinegar or another favorite vinegar.
  • Eat nuts for a healthy snack or chop them and add to oatmeal, smoothies and yogurt.
  • Aim to eat 1-2 servings of fish a week.
  • Substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise or sour cream.

Mayo-free Avocado Tuna Salad

4 servings


2 to 4 slices of whole-wheat bread, toasted
1- 5oz. can of tuna packed in water
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. red onion, finely chopped
⅓ cup celery, finely chopped
¼ of a Fuji apple, finely chopped into thin matchsticks
1 ripe, fresh avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Black pepper to taste

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tuna, Dijon mustard, onion, celery and apple.
  2. Add in lemon juice and black pepper to taste. Using a spatula, gently fold in the avocado cubes.
  3. Spoon the tuna salad gently over toast.

Mango-Almond Smoothie Bowl

1 serving


½ cup frozen chopped mango
½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup frozen sliced banana
¼ cup plain unsweetened almond milk
5 Tbsp. unsalted almonds, divided
? Tbsp. ground allspice
¼ cup raspberries
½ tsp. honey

  1. Blend mango, yogurt, banana, almond milk, 3 tablespoons almonds and allspice in a blender until very smooth. Be sure to use frozen fruit to keep the texture creamy.
  2. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with raspberries, the remaining 2 tablespoons almonds and honey.
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