Fats are your friends!
You read that right!
Well, let me rephrase that – some fats are your friend!
Fats that are beneficial to your diet are called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They can help balance your cholesterol, lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, and lower blood pressure and prevent hardening and narrowing of the arteries.
Fats are also necessary for protecting our vital organs and certain fats are actually considered brain food. Because of the high caloric content of fats, they sustain us longer than carbs and proteins.
So what are good fats?
- Olive, sesame, avacado, and coconut oils
- Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
- Nut butters
- Flax and chia seeds
- Fatty fish and fish oil
As in all dichotomous things, there is a bad side to fats as well.
“Trans fats are a form of unsaturated fat associated with a number of negative health effects. Artificial trans fat is created during hydrogenation, which converts liquid vegetable oils into semisolid, partially hydrogenated oil. Trans fat can also occur naturally in meat and dairy.” Simply stated, you want to avoid these as much as possible!
Trans fats are mainly found in prepackaged baked goods (pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough), some packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips) margarine and shortening, commercially fried foods (french fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish), and foods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, even if it claims to be “trans fat-free.”
There are many harmful effects of trans fats, including raising bad LDL cholesterol while also lowering good HDL levels, as well as creating inflammation. Trans fats are also linked to heart disease and stroke and contribute to insulin resistance.
A small amount of fat is important for a healthy, balanced diet, but it is important to take into consideration the types and amounts of fats you are consuming.
What is your favorite source of healthy fats? Tell us in the comments below.