Fat, Oil & Heart Health

Learn here what fats are good for heart health, guidelines & tips to help choose healthy fat alternatives & increase intake of healthy fats.

Though eating fatty food is generally considered a bad thing, but some fats do play an important role in keeping your heart healthy.

Various foods you eat have different types of fats and some are healthier than others.

Fats & Oils For Healthy Heart & Over All Health

Eating Healthy Fats

(i) Help improve cholesterol levels.

(ii)  Reduce other heart (cardiovascular) risk factors.

(iii) Add flavor to your food.

What Are The Different Types Of Fats?

Four Main Types Of Fats Are

(a) Monounsaturated fats

(b) Polyunsaturated fats

(c) Saturated fats

(d) Trans fats.

Healthy Fats

Unsaturated fats are considered healthy fats. They tend to be liquid at room temperature and include:

  • Monounsaturated Fats
  • Polyunsaturated Fats (Omega-3 and Omega-6).

Unhealthy Fats

Unhealthy fats are bad. They tend to be solid at room temperature. They include:

  • Saturated fat
  • Trans fat.
For healthy diet, you need to swap Saturated and Trans fats for Healthy Unsaturated fats.

Relationship Between Fats & Heart Health

Unsaturated Fats

Unsaturated fats can help keep healthier blood cholesterol levels by reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) and enhancing good cholesterol (HDL). Low LDL & high HDL cholesterol levels can help cut down the risks of heart disease.

Omega-3 fats

A type of polyunsaturated fat, Omega-3 fats help:

  • Improve heart rhythm & lower heart rate.
  • Lower the risk of clotting.
  • Cut down on triglycerides.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Improve blood vessel function.
  • Slow down the building up of the fatty substance (plaque) in your arteries.

Unhealthy Saturated and Trans Fats

Saturated and trans fats are unhealthy and can increase the risks of heart disease by raising the bad cholesterol (LDL) and reducing the good cholesterol (HDL).

How Much Fat Should You Eat Per Day?

Here what matters is the big picture! The type of fat you consume is more important than the total amount.

We need to eat the balance of fats. This you can do by:
  • Replacing unhealthy with Healthy Unsaturated fats.
  • Eating a mix of heart-healthy foods regularly over time.
Important tips To Help Eat The Right Balance of Fats for a healthy heart:
Choose More Healthy Fats

Examples of Foods that have healthy monounsaturated fats: 

  • Avocados
  • Unsalted nuts such as almonds, walnuts, peanuts and cashews
  • Olives
  • Cooking oils made from plants or seeds, such as olive, canola, peanut, sunflower, soybean, sesame and safflower.

Some Examples of Foods that have HEALTHY polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6): 

  • Fish
  • Tahini (sesame seed spread)
  • Flaxseeds (Linseeds) and Chia seeds
  • Soybean, sunflower, safflower, canola oil and margarine spreads made from these oils
  • Walnuts, Pine and Brazil nuts.

Try To Eat Omega-3 From All The Following 3 Sources

# 1: Marine Source
  • Oily fish, like tuna, sardines and salmon
  • Barramundi
  • Flathead
  • Scallops
# 2: Plant Source
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds (Linseeds)
  • Chia seeds
  • Oils and spreads.
# 3: Animal  
  • Eggs
  • Chicken

Foods That Can Bring Down Cholesterol

Plant sterols contain substances that help reduce cholesterol levels. They are found naturally in foods like:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts

Plant sterols are also added to some foods. You can read the food label to check what a serving size is and if plant sterols have been added. Some examples of the foods that often have plant sterols added are:  

  • Milk
  • Yoghurt
  • Breakfast cereal.

Eat Less Foods That Contain Unhealthy Fat

Foods that naturally contain Trans Fats include butter, dairy and some meat products. Most of the trans fats eaten are from processed foods, such as:

  • Deep-fried foods
  • Biscuits, cakes and pastries
  • Butter
  • Takeaway foods, such as hamburgers, chips, pizza
  • Foods that have ‘hydrogenated oils’ or ‘partially hydrogenated vegetable oils’ on the ingredients list.

Foods that commonly contain saturated fats include: 

  • Butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Palm oil (often called vegetable oil in products)
  • Processed foods, such as biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, and takeaway foods
  • Lard
  • Ghee
  • Copha
  • Dripping
  • Fat on meat
  • The skin on chicken and other poultry
  • Processed or deli-style meats, such as salami, ham, and bacon
  • Cream
  • Ice cream.

Increase Healthy Fats In Your Diet

Choosing healthier food alternatives can be difficult. This table provides some healthy choices for a snack or meal.

SWAP THISFOR THIS
BISCUITS, MUFFINS Or CHIPSFruit, nuts or veggie sticks
DEEP-FRIED FOODSSteamed, boiled or pan-fried foods
BUTTER OR COCONUT OIL IN COOKINGOlive, canola, peanut or sunflower oils
BUTTER AS A SPREADAvocado, nut butters, tahini or margarine made from healthy oils
SAUSAGES AND OTHER PROCESSED DELI MEATSHealthy protein sources (fish, legumes, chicken, lean red meat)

 

Watch this IMPORTANT video about “WHAT DOES Sugar DO TO YOUR BODY?”

About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Renu Bakshi AKA Fitness BuffhqPersonal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me age is just a number!”

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