Not all fats are bad! Incorporate nonsaturated fats in your diet instead of saturated fats for heart health.

Healthy fats for the heart

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The nutrition message for many years has been to eat little to no fat. Whether to save calories, lose weight or improve heart health, the low-fat recommendations stemmed from earlier, but limited research more than 30 years ago. It was the best recommendation at the time. But nutrition research continues and more is learned about eating well to reduce cardiovascular disease.

Tuft University researchers found a positive association between including more of the healthier fats and protection from cardiovascular disease.

Say yes to polyunsaturated fats:

  • Fatty fish – salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, etc.
  • Soybean, corn and sunflower oils
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Walnuts and walnut oil

Say yes to monounsaturated fats:

  • Olive, safflower, canola, peanut and sesame oils
  • Assorted nuts and nut butters including peanuts, almonds and pecans
  • Avocadoes and avocado oil

Say caution to saturated fats:

  • Whole-milk dairy products including milk, cheeses and yogurt
  • Fatty red meat
  • Processed meats including hot dogs, bacon and sausage
  • Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils found in bakery items and snack foods

Here are some of the interesting notations from the researchers:

  1. Nearly 50,000 Americans die from heart disease each year from a low intake of the healthy oils.
  2. More than 10 percent of heart disease deaths worldwide are estimated to be related to high intake of saturated fats and trans fats – that’s almost 800,000 people!
  3. The highest heart disease death rates are in the Philippines, Malaysia and tropical nations – they have a very high intake of saturated fats.

So feel comfortable including some of these healthy fats every day:

  • Add walnut halves to your breakfast cereal
  • Add avocado slices on your salads or sandwiches
  • Use a flavorful oil such as sesame oil for your stir fry
  • Mix grapeseed oil with balsamic vinegar for a salad dressing

Recipes to try: