Fat is quite a notorious word in the world of diet and weight loss. While the bad rap is justified to some extent, because certain types of fat do play a role in causing diseases and obesity, it doesn’t change the fact that fat is indeed an essential nutrient, provided that they are good.
Not all fats are created equal, and some may even help to promote overall health and wellness. Knowing the difference is key to determining which fats to avoid, and which fats to consume in moderation.
What Are Good Fats?
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are considered as more “heart-healthy” fats. These are healthy fats that you must incorporate in your daily diet.
Plant-based oils and foods make up the primary source of polyunsaturated fat. This good fat helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing cholesterol levels.
A certain kind of this good fat, known as omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to be especially beneficial for heart health. Omega-3s not only work to lower the risk of coronary artery disease, but may also help bring down blood pressure levels along with guarding against abnormal heartbeats. They do this by helping with blood oxygenation, which is needed for cell growth promotion, muscle growth, and maintenance of overall health of the systems and organs. Listed below are foods that are plentiful in omega-3 fatty acids:
Flaxseed, canola and coconut oil, and walnuts also contain omega-3s, but they are not as rich in the fat as fish. Besides omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated also contains omega-6 fatty acids, which can be found in the following foods:
Soft margarine (tub or liquid)
Seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds)
Soy nut butter and roasted soy beans
Remember that margarine also contain trans fats (bad fats) in it if produced with hydrogenated components, so make sure to always go with “zero trans fats”. Don’t just for the front packaging, reads the list of ingredients.
Monounsaturated fat can be found in a variety of different oils and foods. Research consistently suggests that consuming foods with monounsaturated fat can improve your blood cholesterol level and minimize the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. These foods include:
Nuts (cashews, almonds, pecans, peanuts)
Vegetable oils (canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil)
Almond butter and peanut butter
Healthier fats are a crucial part of one’s diet. Nevertheless, they should still be consumed in a way that is balanced and moderate because at the end of the day, all fats are calorie-dense.
A good idea is to start by reducing food items in your daily diet that are rich in trans and saturated fats. Make it a habit to incorporate edibles that comprise of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. This way you will soon be on your way to a healthier heart and a better quality life.