Are you feeling confused about fats in your diet? Do you want to know which fats are good for you and which ones to avoid? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
A Little About the Different Fats
First things first, not all fats are created equal. Some are essential for our health, while others can harm our bodies. Healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can be found in foods like nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, are crucial for brain function and hormone production. They also lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
On the other hand, trans fats and saturated fats should be avoided as much as possible. Trans fats are found in processed foods and are often used to improve their shelf life. However, they can raise your bad cholesterol levels and lower your good cholesterol levels, leading to an increased risk of heart disease. Saturated fats are found in animal products like meat and dairy and should be limited, because they can increase cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
The Good Fats
When it comes to cooking and preparing food, opt for healthy oils like olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. These oils contain healthy fats and are perfect for cooking and baking. Avoid oils like vegetable oil and canola oil, which are high in omega-6 fatty acids, and can contribute to inflammation in the body.
Foods high in the “good” fats include:
- Oils from olives, peanuts, canola seeds, safflower seeds, and sunflower seeds.
- Pumpkin seeds.
- Sesame seeds.
- Peanuts and peanut butter.
The Bad Fats
Less than ten percent of calories a day should be from saturated fats. Saturated fats can add up quickly, especially in dishes that combine meat and dairy products. Sandwiches, burgers, tacos, and burritos are all examples of this. Baked goods with butter, full-fat ice cream and other desserts are also common sources of saturated fats.
Foods high in “saturated “bad” fats include:
- Foods baked or fried using saturated fats.
- Meats, including beef, lamb, pork as well as poultry, especially with skin.
- Dairy products like butter and cream.
- Whole or 2% milk.
- Whole-milk cheese or yogurt.
- Oils from coconuts, palm fruits, or palm kernels.
This Information in Use
A healthy diet is a balance between taking in the calories and nutrients you need for your level of activity, and your health care provider or a dietician can help you understand the best goals for you.
Try these tips to reduce unhealthy fat in your diet:
- Use plant-based oils instead of butter. For example, sauté vegetables with olive oil instead of butter. Use canola oil for hot cooking, such as searing or stir frying.
- Add fish to your diet, especially oily fish.
- Choose lean meat and skinless poultry. Trim visible fat from meat. Remove fat and skin from poultry.
- Eat and drink low-fat dairy products.
- Reach for whole fruits and vegetables when you’re hungry.
- Limit processed foods, which often contain trans-fat.
- Check labels on low-fat or fat-free processed food, which may have lots of added sugars and sodium.
Another excellent method for introducing healthy fats into your diet is to create your own salad dressing vinaigrette. By making your salad dressing as opposed to buying it, you can ensure you are getting those healthy fats you need! We will be sharing our recipe in a later blog post, so stay tuned for that this month!