You need fat in your diet!
Believe it or not, fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. In fact, the World Health Organization even includes fat as part of the food pyramid you learned about as a kid. That doesn’t mean you should load up on all the greasy food you can find, though. Unfortunately, not all fats are created equal.
“Healthy fats”, which are found in foods like avocados, olive oil, and nuts, are a necessary nutrient to bodily function and are great for your heart. Artery clogging unhealthy fats, however, have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke and should be avoided whenever possible. Unhealthy fats take the form of saturated or trans fats and are found in foods like fried chicken, chips, French fries, and butter. Increase your intake of healthy fats, while eliminating unhealthy fats from your diet, to keep your heart strong and your waistline thin.
More about Healthy Fats:
Monounsaturated Fat has been shown to help improve blood cholesterol levels and to reduce the risk of heart disease. Research has also shown that these fats may help control blood sugar control.
Polyunsaturated Fat is found mostly in plant-based oils. Studies have shown that it can be helpful in improving blood cholesterol levels, and it can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
What about Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
An important kind of polyunsaturated fat that you may have heard of are Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are found in some types of fish, oils, seeds, and nuts, and are touted for having anti-inflammatory properties to help fight against cardiovascular disease and prevent heart attacks and strokes. Studies have even shown that diets high in Omega-3s can prevent certain types of cancers and developmental disorders.
For more information on the health benefits of Omega-3’s watch this short video:
To increase your intake of monounsaturated fats, Eat: Olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, poultry, nuts and seeds. Try some Chia seeds here!
To increase your intake of polyunsaturated fats, Eat: Vegetable oils (such as safflower, corn, sunflower, soy and cottonseed oils), nut oils (such as peanut oil), poultry, nuts and seeds. Get your heart-healthy oils here!
To increase your intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Eat: Fatty, cold-water fish (such as salmon, mackerel and herring), ground flaxseed, flax oil and walnuts. Pick up delicious flaxseed snacks here!
Many people take a fish oil supplement to get the recommended amounts of Omega-3s without the presence of heavy metals. Get your fish oil supplement here!