Now that you know that trans fats are an enemy to overall health and wellness, and that they should be avoided whenever possible, it is time to take a look at the other types of fat that we consume. This includes saturated fat, cholesterol, polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats.
Saturated fat is found in a variety of food products, including full-fat dairy products, fatty meats and plant oils that are solid at room temperature, such as palm oil and coconut oil. Many commercial baked goods contain saturated fat, as do many ice cream products, cheeses and real butter. High saturated fat intake is linked to coronary heart disease and obesity, as well as other health concerns; therefore, consumption should be kept to a minimum.
You can reduce your intake of saturated fat by reading nutrition labels, choosing leaner meats with little to no marbling, trimming visible fat off of meats and choosing low-fat or non-fat dairy products. Since most saturated fat comes from animal products, simply reducing consumption of animal-derived foods is an easy way to reduce the saturated fat in your diet.
We have covered cholesterol more extensively in previous blog posts; however, it is also part of dietary fat and certainly worth mentioning again. Since cholesterol is found in the same foods that provide saturated fat, you can reduce your cholesterol intake by limiting those same foods, such as meats, full-fat dairy products, coconut oil and palm oil. Switching to low-fat or fat-free dairy products and the leanest cuts of meat possible will assist you in reducing your intake of cholesterol. Limiting or eliminating animal products from your diet is also an easy way to cut down on cholesterol.
Unsaturated fats, which include polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, are the fats you hear about when nutritionists talk about including good dietary fat in your eating plan. These fats come from sources like avocados, vegetable oils, fish and nuts. Polyunsaturated fats provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential to proper bodily functions and are believed to benefit overall health and wellness.
Good sources of monounsaturated fats include olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, nuts and avocadoes. Good sources of polyunsaturated fats include safflower oil, corn oil, flaxseed, soybean oil, fish and canola oil.Remember, including some fats in your diet is necessary for proper nutrition and to ensure that your body has what it needs to function. Some nutrients are fat soluble, such as vitamins A, D, E and K, meaning that fat is necessary for absorption. In addition, fat provides a needed energy source, is important to cell membrane health and cushions organs. The key is to replace unhealthy fats, such as saturated fat and trans fat, with healthier options that come from the unsaturated fats family. This is the healthiest way to ensure your body has the fat it needs to survive, while lowering the risk of health issues, such as heart disease.