When it comes to dieting and eating right there are as many ideas and bad information as there are stars in the sky. What is good, what is bad, what do you really watch when dieting, should you even diet? There are answers that actually make sense and are not that hard to incorporate into your life and diet. The easiest part of your health that you can have the most control over without a calculator is your good versus bad fat intake.
Monounsaturated fats are proven to lower cholesterol and increase your HDL (good cholesterol) levels. This all is because of the chemical makeup of these fats; they are unsaturated and can be more easily digested in the body because of the way they are made.
Some foods that contain monounsaturated fats include:
- peanuts, walnuts, pistachios and almonds
- olive oil, which can help with weight loss and tastes great
- olives (fresh, not canned)
- whole grain wheat
- oatmeal (make your own; avoid instant)
Polyunsaturated fats have been shown to lower LDL levels reduce heart attacks and cancer risk. They are mostly found in nuts, leafy greens, fish and algae, as well as:
- peanut butter
- hemp seed
- safflower oil
Also try including more beans, poultry and fish into your diet.
Saturated fats are found in most everyone’s favorite foods. It is okay to eat these foods in moderation and enjoy them when you do have them. According to a Harvard study, it is not the cholesterol that is in the food we eat, it is the mix of fats that we consume that affect us. It is a good idea to cut back on red meat, full-fat dairy products and most fried fast food.
Food to avoid include:
- any foods that contain transfats
- hydrogenated liquid oils
- packaged food
- fried fast food
- microwave popcorn
- vegetable shortening
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The type of fat and not how much fat that you eat is what affects your health. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids were first discovered when researchers studied the Inuit tribes in the 1970s. They had a very fatty diet and were considered obese, but had a very low rate of death from heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to benefit gastrointestinal, neurological, cardiovascular, circulatory, and other systems.
These fatty acids are found in:
- dark green leafy vegetables
- pumpkin seeds
- cold water fish
- oily fish
- fish oil