Fat…you’re told they’re bad, then you’re told they’re good. So, which is it?
“Your body needs fat in order to function,” says Barbara Roberts, MD, director of the Women’s Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital in Providence and author of How to Keep from Breaking Your Heart. “Fats help you absorb vitamins A, D, and E, and they are vital for your nervous system.”
According to a study, people who follow a Mediterranean diet, which consists of eating a variety of healthy foods that include whole grains, vegetables, protein and healthy monounsaturated and omega-3 fats, may lower their heart disease risk of heart disease by nearly 30 percent. Healthy fats can also help you manage your weight.
In fact, did you know that 25 to 30 percent of your total daily calories should come from fat? The issue is whether you’re eating good fats or bad fats.
Also known as MUFAs, monounsaturated fats raise good HDL cholesterol, lower bad LDL cholesterol, and protect against the buildup of plaque in your arteries. They also help prevent belly fat, according to research.
Foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats include olive oil and olives, almonds, peanuts and avocados.
“Just two to three tablespoons of olive oil a day can raise HDL levels and protect against heart disease,” says Dr. Roberts.
Polyunsaturated fats not only lower your LDL, they also contain essential omega-3 fatty acids, which boost brain function and may help strengthen your immune system, and omega-6 fatty acids, which help keep skin and eyes healthy.
Polyunsaturated-rich foods include salmon, canola oil, safflower oil, flaxseeds, walnuts and grass-fed chicken and beef.
Why are saturated fats bad for you? They can raise your cholesterol level, which can raise your heart disease risk. Which is why you should limit foods like red meat, cream, butter, coconut oil and palm oil, and make sure that saturated fats make up no more than 10 percent of your total daily calories.
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