When it comes to fats in our diet there is a lot of conflicting information out there. Is all fat bad for you? What’s a good fat? And how much fat should you be getting in your diet?
Saturated fats are typically known as the unhealthy fats. Too much saturated fat in your diet causes a rise in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), which increases the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends only 5-6% of your daily calories come from saturated fat. This is about 13 grams based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Foods with Saturated Fats
Saturated fats are typically solids at room temperature and are found in:
- Fatty beef
- Poultry with skin
- Beef fat (tallow)
- Lard and cream
- Dairy products made from whole or 2% milk
- Baked goods
- Fried foods
- Palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil
Tips for Limiting Saturated Fats
- Substitute red meats with leaner meats like fish and poultry without skin
- Prepare foods with vegetable or canola oil instead of butter or margarine
- Substitute saturated fats with foods high in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered healthy fats. These fats may help reduce cholesterol and lead to better overall heart health.
Foods with Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats
These healthy fats are found in a variety of foods including:
- Fatty fish (salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, lake trout and mackerel)
- Peanut butter
Tips for Eating More Healthy Fats
- Include fish in your meals at least twice a week
- Get more vitamin E and Omega-3 by adding flaxseed or walnuts to salads, muffins and cereal
- Enjoy peanut butter in moderation. Half of the fat in peanut butter is monounsaturated, but be careful of the portion size because just 2 Tbsp contains 190 calories
Avocados are a superfood. Not only are they packed with monounsaturated fats, but they also contain beneficial nutrients like folate, vitamins E, C, and B6, potassium, soluble fiber and antioxidants.
Tips for Enjoying this Tasty Superfood
- Smashed as a dip or spread for sandwiches
- Cubed and sliced on salads, soups, eggs and pizza
- Pureed into dressings, puddings and smoothiesPreserve the freshness of avocados year round by peeling off the skin, lightly tossing in lemon juice and freezing.
Remember, the best way to keep your heart and body happy is by eating a healthy, balanced diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts.