Some fats are bad for you. Some of these have been in the news a good deal lately as snack makers and fast food giants work to remove them from our menus. These are trans fats. They are most often found in commercially packaged snacks and even in your favorite fast food sandwiches and fries. Saturated fats are to be avoided or enjoyed in moderation. You are likely to find saturated fats in dairy (think ice cream, butter and cheese) and beef products. While tasty, these fats contribute to high cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. Check food labels to be sure trans fats are not listed among the ingredients. Enjoy saturated fats as part of a sensible, well-balanced diet; ideally they should not comprise more than 10% of your total daily caloric intake.
Fats to Embrace
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are considered to be healthy. Examples of monounsaturated fats include avocados, peanut butter, some nuts and olive oil. You will find polyunsaturated fats in fatty fish, such as salmon, some nuts and flaxseed.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega -3’s have been getting a lot of attention lately, and with good reason. This polyunsaturated fat has been shown to promote brain health, protect against heart disease and even help maintain a positive mood. According to Dr. Frank Sacks of the Harvard School of Public Health, Omega-3 may even offer benefits against cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. That’s because omega-3’s can reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been associated with illness, including Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Another benefit of omega-3 is the connection it has established with improved immune function.
Our bodies don’t manufacture omega-3’s so we have to rely on diet to get them. Good sources include salmon, tuna, mackerel, broccoli and kale. Many commercially produced milk products and eggs now boast omega-3. If you are looking for more ways to include this healthy fat in your diet, an omega-3 fortified omelet with broccoli can be a good choice.
Diet is the best way to add healthy fats to your body. Although supplements are available, they are not well regulated and do not have the same absorption rate as food. Look for creative and easy ways to include healthy fats in your diet at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Add avocado to your sandwich or enjoy a handful of walnuts for your mid-morning snack and have salmon with kale for dinner. Move over, milk – healthy fats, they do a body good, too.