Misconceptions About Fat
Many people believe that all fats are bad. In reality, some fats are good for you and are essential to the proper functioning of your body. This means that you can’t completely cut fat out of your diet. Nonetheless, you can learn to choose between good fats and bad fats. Doing so may help you to lose weight and lower your risk for developing many of the most common diseases.
Fatty acids perform useful functions like storing energy and insulating us from the elements. They even protect our organs and make proteins more effective. Clearly, fat is essential to good health, so it’s smart to focus on making good fats part of any well-balanced diet.
A “good” fat is one that lowers your risk level for developing certain diseases. They also provide essential fat-soluble vitamins and ensure that our bodies have the fatty acids they need for optimum functionality. When you consume healthy fats, you also receive important fuel that keeps you feeling energized throughout the day. Unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids two examples of fats that you want in your healthy diet.
There are two main categories of unsaturated fats: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Corn and safflower oil are two major sources of polyunsaturated fat. You’ll also find this substance in sunflower seeds, soybeans and seafood. Research demonstrates that consuming reasonable amounts of polyunsaturated fats may be linked to improved blood cholesterol numbers and lower triglycerides.
Monounsaturated fats are found in many foods, but are perhaps most prevalent in olive oil. Other important sources include cashews, almonds, avocados, olives and pumpkin seeds. An added bonus for eating these foods is high levels of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that Americans frequently don’t get enough of. Eating a diet that includes monounsaturated fats in place of saturated fats may lower your risk for developing heart disease.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are actually a sub-group of polyunsaturated fats. The best source for getting this good-for-you fat is fish. If you ingest enough omega-3s, you’ll reap plenty of healthy rewards like a steadier heartbeat and reduced risk of developing clots. Look to fatty seafood like salmon and catfish to get the best results but there are also many places to find grocery lists for high omega-3 items to buy.
Saturated fats, trans fatty acids and partially hydrogenated fats are bad news for your health although some recent studies have combated the notion. Unfortunately, they are also pretty easy to find in American foods. Popular snack items like French fries, potato chips and crackers frequently contain one or all of these types of bad fats. Saturated fats are additionally common in animal products like red meat, full-fat dairy products, eggs and poultry skin. Saturated fats have been linked to an increased risk of prostate and colon cancer.
Trans fatty acids and partially hydrogenated fats are closely related culprits. Some trans fats occur naturally in foods like meat, and they are no particular threat to overall health. The same cannot be said for artificial trans fats and partially hydrogenated fats. Even a little trans fat has the power to decimate good cholesterol numbers while causing bad cholesterol numbers to soar. While many manufacturers of processed foods are removing trans fats from their products, it still may be found in granola bars, microwave popcorn, cookies and fast-food meals.
Simple Ways to Avoid Undesirable Fats
Make your diet natural and simple, choosing whole foods instead of processed items. This may mean that you prepare more of your meals than you did before. When it comes to protein, choose lean meats and poultry. Also, make fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes a bigger part of your meals. Substituting good-for-you oils like sunflower, olive and canola can easily help you avoid less healthy alternatives.
If you would like even more advice about which fats are good for you and how to eliminate the unhealthy ones from your diet, contact My House Fitness. Our experienced personal trainers have the knowledge you need to get heart healthy.