While often targeted as the enemy when it comes to nutrition and a smaller waistline, fats are a natural part of everyone’s diet that can promote several health benefits.

In the Fats for Fitness article, recently published by the Institute of Food Technologists, contributing editor Milo Ohr identifies how some fatty acids and oils can benefit cognition, weight management, heart health, eye and brain development, and even mood.

In all, she identifies nine different fat sources and their potential benefits:

Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with improving brain development, cognition, eye health, dementia and depression. They are also widely well known for their heart health benefits.

Pinolenic acid: Based on pine nut oil derived from a specific Korean pine tree, pinolenic acid is especially rich in long-chain fatty acids. Clinical trials have shown it can help suppress appetite and promote a feeling of fullness.

Conjugated linoleic acid: Conjugated linoleic acid has been shown to affect weight management by helping reduce body fat and increase lean body mass.

Flaxseed oil: Flaxseed oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, that can contribute to heart health and help reduce inflammation.

Hemp seed oil: Hemp seed oil contains a balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 linoleic essential fatty acids and contains vitamin E.

Fish oil: Fish oil is known for its effect on cardiovascular, neurological and cognitive health.

Canola oil: A study showed a canola oil-enriched, low-glycemic diet improves blood sugar control in type 2 diabetics, especially those with raised systolic blood pressure (Jenkins, 2014).

Soybean oil: High-oleic soybean oil contains less saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat, and delivers three times the amount of monounsaturated fats, compared to commodity soybean oil.

Coconut oil: Although not as much research has been done compared to olive or fish oil, coconut oil is believed to promote energy, skin health and dental health.

The full article can be read here.