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Fat and the heart

posted Feb 17, 2017, 7:21 AM by
About a month ago, we discussed fat and learned they are essential to our diet and important for good health. We also learned about the main types of fat and how much of it you need in your day (for more on that, click here). This week we’re discussing fat and its role in heart health.

Unsaturated fats

The two types of fats that you should focus on for heart health are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. While trans fats are linked to heart disease and saturated fats may also play a role in hindering heart health (studies have found mixed results, so the debate is still out on this one), unsaturated fats help prevent heart disease by reducing bad cholesterol in your blood.

Monounsaturated fats also contain vitamin E, which is an antioxidant, while polyunsaturated fats also provide essential omega-6 and omega-3 fats. You can find these heart healthy oils in plant-based liquid oils as well as nuts, seeds, and fatty fruit like avocados.

Does that mean I should cut out milk and meat?

While saturated fats are found in animal foods, you do not need to cut them from your diet (remember, fish is rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fats). The key is to eat foods that are higher in saturated fats in moderation, and make sure to make the majority of the fats you eat mono- and polyunsaturated ones.


Visit the American Heart Association’s website for more on mono- and polyunsaturated fats and general heart health.