By Katie Morell
American Heart Association
Not all fats are created equal. While saturated and trans fats are bad for you, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can actually be good for you. How as that possible?
“Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are healthy fats because they do not raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels,” says Dr. Rachel Johnson, Robert L. Bickford Jr. Green and Gold Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont. “They also seem to have an anti-inflammatory affect and studies have shown that people who have that diets rich in these types of fats have lower rates of heart disease and diabetes.”
Let’s explore these good fats tips.
Foods containing good fats
Interested in starting a diet that is rich in healthy fats? If so, head to the grocery store and stock up on vegetable oils. This can include everything from olive oil and canola oil to peanut oil and sesame oil. Monounsaturated fats are found in these oils as well as avocados, olives and various types of nuts, including almonds and peanuts.
Eating fish is an excellent way to incorporate polyunsaturated fats into your diet. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout and tuna are excellent options and also are high in Omega-3 fatty acids — known to help with inflammation.
Managing intake of good fats
How often should a person consume healthy fats? “Every day,” says Johnson. “Just be careful about calories. Foods with healthy fats can be high in calories.”
Dr. Judith Wylie-Rosett, professor of epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, concurs. “The problem with good fats is that it is easy to consume too many calories,” she says. “For example, if you have a child that is very active and lean, nuts are a wonderful snack. But if you have someone who is overweight, they may get too many calories going out to eat and munching on nuts at the dinner table.”
The American Heart Association recommends people eat foods with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats. Aim for healthy fats to not exceed 35 percent of your total daily calories, according to the AHA. To control portions, try just a handful of nuts or olives for a snack.
Learn more about good fat versus bad fat on Go Red For Women.