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Heart Healthy Oils and Fats: Which Ones Should You Use?

Heart Healthy Oils and Fats: Which Ones Should You Use?

Fats and oils are usually thought of as unhealthy and bad for your health as they can lead to heart disease, hypertension, etc. However, this isn’t always the case. There are certain types of heart healthy oils and fats that are actually good for you.

Is there such a thing as heart healthy oils and fats?

Before we talk about healthy oils and fats, we first need to know the difference between healthy and unhealthy types of fat. Knowing which types of fat are healthy and which ones are unhealthy can help us make more informed decisions about our diet.

Saturated fats

Saturated fats are a type of fat that’s found in milk, butter, bacon, red meat, fatty cuts of poultry, as well as coconut and other types of palm oils. These are considered to be unhealthy fats, and should be consumed in very small amounts.

Eating too much of these types of fats can be bad for a person’s health, and lead to numerous health problems.

Trans fats

Just like saturated fats, trans fats should also be avoided. Trans fats have been known to raise levels of bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol.

Trans fats can be found in very small amounts in dairy and meat. But the biggest health risk comes from artificial trans fats. Foods such as chips, baked goods, fried foods, and margarine contain trans fats. Most processed foods also contain trans fats, and you can easily check the food label to know if a product has trans fats1 or not.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats

In contrast with trans fats and saturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are beneficial to your health2. These types of fats have a number of health benefits, which include:

  • Lowers levels of bad cholesterol
  • Can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Helps lower triglycerides, which are associated with heart disease
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Lowers the risk of atherosclerosis

It’s a good idea to incorporate more of these healthy oils and fats in your diet, as they have a number of health benefits. Though, it’s still important to consume them in moderation, as eating too much of even healthy fats can lead to weight gain and other problems.

What are some of these heart healthy oils and fats?

Here are some of the heart healthy oils as well as fats that you can incorporate in your diet:

Oils

If you’re interested in increasing your intake of heart healthy oils and fats, then you could use olive, canola, peanut, as well as sunflower and safflower oils3. You can use these oils when making dressing for salads, as a condiment for your dishes, as well as for frying, sautéing, and cooking in general.

Some types of margarine can also contain healthy fats. If you check the label of these products, it should say non-hydrogenated margarine on the label.

Fish

Fish are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a family of polyunsaturated fats. Healthy fish that you can incorporate in your diet include salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines.

Fish also contain roughly the same amount of protein when compared to red meat. So if you’re looking to have healthier meals, you can try substituting fish for meat instead.

Nuts

Nuts are another great source of healthy fats. These include walnuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, and pecans. They are a great alternative to chips and other processed snacks, plus they are also high in protein, and they also help you feel fuller for longer.

Avocados

When it comes to heart healthy oils and fats, avocados usually get a bad rap, because a lot of people think that they’re bad for you. While it is true that avocados contain fat, most of the fat it has is the good kind. This means that eating avocados can be good for your health.

Key Takeaways

Should we add heart healthy oils and fats to our diet? Yes! It’s important to know that fats aren’t something that should be avoided completely. Our body does need some amount of fat in order to function well, and there are also healthy types of fats that don’t lead to health problems.

Learn other Nutrition Facts here.

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Sources
  1. How to Choose and Use Healthy Cooking Oils – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-choose-and-use-healthy-cooking-oils/, Accessed June 14, 2021
  2. Choosing Healthy Fats – HelpGuide.org, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-fats.htm, Accessed June 14, 2021
  3. The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between – Harvard Health, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good, Accessed June 14, 2021
  4. Fats and oils | Heart and Stroke Foundation, https://www.heartandstroke.ca/healthy-living/healthy-eating/fats-and-oils, Accessed June 14, 2021
  5. Fats and oils that will help keep your heart healthy., https://www.heartuk.org.uk/low-cholesterol-foods/fats-and-oils, Accessed June 14, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Jun 16
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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