Fat can be fabulous—as in heart-healthy, belly-slimming fabulous. Even if your goal is to shed pounds and slim down, you don’t need to completely cut fat from your diet. We’re sharing 5 reasons why healthy fats are good for you.
It’s important to note that we’re not talking about saturated or trans fats, the types found in high-fat cuts of meat, lard, margarine, and fried foods. These types of fat contribute to obesity, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. Eat unhealthy fats sparingly or not at all. Instead, choose healthy fats, which are found in foods like olive oil, avocado, nuts, tofu, fatty fish, and more. Check out our healthy fat facts below to learn more.
1. Healthy fats take vitamins where they need to go.
Healthy fats transport certain vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, through the body via blood circulation. The process allows these vitamins to get to the body tissues where they’re needed. People who don’t consume enough good fat can become deficient in those vitamins. Try Oven-Grilled Salmon or Baked Coconut Shrimp. (While shrimp has a reputation for being high in cholesterol, it also offers a healthy portion of omega-3 fatty acids. Enjoy it in moderation.)
2. Healthy fats keep your ticker happy.
One of the top reasons to eat healthy fats is that they help lower bad cholesterol, including triglycerides. While this type, called omega-3 fatty acids, is available in supplement form, the best way to add them to your lifestyle is through a diet rich in healthy fat foods, including fish like salmon. Orange-Glazed Salmon with Wilted Kale and Oven-Crisp Fish Tacos are tasty omega-3 dishes.
3. Healthy fats may help control blood sugar.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) may help regulate blood sugar. In one study, participants eating a MUFA-rich diet lowered fasting glucose levels as well as insulin resistance. Why worry if you don’t have diabetes? A recent study estimated nearly 50% of Americans live with diabetes or pre-diabetes , making chances good that you or someone you love has one of those conditions—perhaps undiagnosed. Find MUFAs in healthy fat foods like avocado, nut butter, olive oil, olives, and almonds. Add Clean-Eating Nut Butter and Jam Sandwich or Grilled Avocado Tacos with Cilantro Crema to the menu this week.
4. Healthy fats power up the immune system.
Maybe one of the surprising healthy fat facts is that these fats support a properly-functioning immune system. Research suggests omega-3 fatty acids in particular boost white blood cell activity , potentially allowing the immune system to respond better to harmful invaders, like bacteria or viruses. Increase omega-3 intake, veggie style, in Spicy Grilled Tofu with Szechuan Vegetables and Citrus and Spinach Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing.
5. Healthy fat fosters better skin.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs), like omega-3s and omega-6s, act as the building blocks of healthy skin cells and help create a natural oil barrier to make the skin look plumper and more hydrated. Women who don’t consume enough of these good fats may find themselves fighting with skin that’s dry, flaky, or inflamed. Build better skin from the inside out with recipes like Black Pepper and Walnut-Crusted Chicken Breasts or Spinach Pear Walnut Salad.
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