Tips for Choosing Healthier Fats

November 2016

There are four main types of fat:

  • Monounsaturated
  • Polyunsaturated
  • Saturated
  • Trans

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered healthy, while saturated and trans fats are unhealthy. The goal, of course, is to choose more of the healthier fats and to reduce your consumption of unhealthy fats.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help improve your cholesterol numbers. Sources include:

  • Avocado
  • Almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts, pine nuts, pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds
  • Olive oil and olives
  • Vegetable oils
  • Peanut butter

Of course, while “good” fats can be healthy, fats are high in calories and should be eaten in moderation. Omega-3 fats are especially heart healthy and can help with lowering high triglyceride values in your blood.

Omega-3 fats can be found in:

  • Salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna, rainbow trout
  • Tofu and other soybean products
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
  • Canola oil

Limit or avoid saturated and trans fat. Saturated fats are mainly found in food that comes from animals, such as meat and full-fat dairy products, but they can also be found in fried foods and some packaged foods. Trans fat is simply liquid oil turned into a solid fat during food processing. There is also a small amount of trans fat that occurs naturally in some meat and dairy products, but those found in processed foods tend to be the most harmful to your health.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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