How to eat fat in a heart-healthy way

How to eat fat in a heart-healthy way

We know that fat is an essential nutrient we need in our daily diet.

Fat can provide us energy and help the body absorb some vitamins.

But when we choose the wrong types of fat or eat fat excessively, it can harm our health.

It is known that too much fat in food can lead to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Recently, researchers from NIH suggest how to choose the right fat to eat.

Dr. Alice H. Lichtenstein, who studies diet and heart health at Tufts University, suggests people should reduce saturated fat in their meals.

Saturated fat in the bloodstream could raise the levels of LDL cholesterol. It is called “bad” cholesterol and may increase the risk of heart disease.

Most of the saturated fat comes from animal products, but plants can have trans fat.

For example, coconut and palm oil are plant-based saturated fats, and their effects on the human body are still unclear.

For saturated dairy fat, the researcher says it could be beneficial to health. One example is yogurt. Saturated dairy fat may help reduce a fat called triglycerides in the bloodstream.

Another type of fat people should avoid eating is trans fat.

It is largely manufactured fat and could be found in things like margarine and many processed foods. Trans fat could increase heart disease risk, too.

Currently, most trans fat in food comes from the small amounts naturally in meat and butter.

Instead, people should choose healthy unsaturated fats.

Unsaturated fat mainly comes from plants. For example, cooking oils like canola, peanut, safflower, soybean, and olive oil, contain mostly unsaturated fat.

Nuts, avocados, seeds, and fatty fish are also good sources.

Recent studies have shown that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat reduces the risk of heart disease. It can be as effective as cholesterol-lowering drugs.

There are 5 tips to choose fat smartly for your heart health

First, eat plant-based foods. Plants can provide healthy fats, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

Second, include plant oils in your diet. You can use peanut, safflower, soybean, olive, canola, sunflower, corn, and nut oils.

Third, replace animal products containing saturated fats, such as butter or lard, with healthy oils.

Fourth, eat fatty red meat less. Try to replace fatty red meat with fish, poultry, or lean meats.

Fifth, eat fewer sugars and processed grains. For example, use whole grains and brown rice to replace white bread and white rice.

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