How to Choose Heart Healthy Fats
February is Heart Healthy month! So we are looking at ways to live a heart healthy lifestyle with healthy fats!
One of the easiest ways to live a heart-healthy lifestyle is to get your bad cholesterol (LDL) lower and boost your good cholesterol (HLD) higher. The best ways to do both is to choose the right fats in your diet.
There are 4 main kinds of fat:
*Monounsaturated ( Good Fat )
* Polyunsaturated ( Fair )
* Saturated ( BAD)
* Trans fats (BAD)
Your goal is to add more of Monounsaturated fats and cut the other 3 fats whenever possible. You should also limit your overall intake of fat to around 25% of your overall calorie intake each day. In a 1600 calorie a day diet, that would be no more than 400 calories. Dietary fat is not only linked with weight issues, it is linked with cardiovascular health as well, particularly in relation to cholesterol and how it can block arteries and lead to heart attack and stroke.
Cholesterol is formed naturally in the body, but we also consume it in animal-based products we eat such as butter, meat and milk. Butter is one of the most common fats most people consume, but it is full of saturated fat, which has been linked to hardening of the arteries. Olive oil may look less healthy in terms of calories if you compare the 2 side by side in a food database, but olive oil is plant-based and has no cholesterol. It is also a heart-healthy fat because it can boost good HDL cholesterol, which can help bad LDL cholesterol from sticking to artery walls.
A lot of people think margarine is healthier for them than butter, but this is often a mistake, for a couple of reasons. Some are made with milk, which has saturated fat. Others are made with corn oil, which sounds natural but can form clogs in the arteries as well. Plus most all corn in the US is GMO corn and that is something you want to avoid! But the main reason it is so unhealthy is the process of hydrogenation, which forms trans fatty acids. Think about it. Oil in its natural form is liquid. Hydrogen molecules added make it solid and spreadable. But just think how much more that can clog your arteries. So if you want to eat butter, choose organic butter and NOT margarine!
Many people avoid nuts because they are high in calories per ounce. The truth is that their fats are monounsaturated. They are also full of fiber and filling. In addition, walnuts and almonds have been found to lower LDL and boost HDL.
Avocados are also high in fat, but have the same heart-healthy benefits when eaten fresh or the oil is used.
Start using healthier fats such as nuts, avocados, flax and olive oil and see what a difference it can make to your heart health!
Jennifer George says
Good information. I used to try to avoid any kind of fat but it’s good to know that some are actually good for you.
Very informative and for me timely information since I’m working in cleaning up my diet.
Catherine Williams says
Wow who knew!
I went on a margarine kick for a while and realized that organic butter was better for me and I liked it better.
slehan at juno dot com
YES! I don’t have a problems with using butter. Butter is so much better than margarine. If you have real dairy allergy then I suggest using coconut oil as a replacement. But if you just are not eating butter because it’s dairy….margarine is much worse.
It took many years to accept that I could eat good fats. We were always conditioned that fat was bad for you. Now I stock lots of olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and look for recipes to use them. I get the big bottles to encourage me to use more in fact.
I now what you mean! It was drilled into us that fats were bad. Now they find you need good fats!
Linda Manns Linneman says
Thank you so much for sharing all this information. I am trying to eat healthier and get my family involved. Thank you so much for sharing this
Your welcome Linda! So glad it is of help to your and yours!
Alison Gibb says
I have always been a bit confused about the differences in the fats. So, thank you for clarifying. Bad…love butter. Good…love walnuts!!!!
But butter is so much better than crisco or margarine!
This is great information. Thank you for informing us.