Not all dietary fat is bad for you. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of fats that you should be eating.
There are several different types of fat in food. Some fats are not ideal and some are essential to a healthy diet. Unfortunately, dietary fat is often lumped together as unhealthy giving a bad rap to the foods that are great for a healthy diet.
So why are some fats good and some fats bad?
Fats that are bad raise your bad cholesterol – Your LDL. The cholesterol that can give you heart disease, Fats that are good for you raise your good cholesterol – Your HDL. The cholesterol that helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
Good Fat vs Bad Fat
The problem for many people is understanding what fats are good and what are bad. The two main types of fat that are unhealthy are Saturated fat and Trans fat. The three types of fat that are healthy are Monounsaturated fatty acids, Polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids.
This fat is found in animal products such as red meat and full fat dairy products
This fat, although naturally found in trace amounts in food, is the hydrogenated fat made by processing oils. This is the fat that is found in quite a bit of processed food. Not only does it raise your bad cholesterol, it can lower you good cholesterol.
Good Fat Foods
So how do you know what is a good fat food? Generally, these are the fats found in certain vegetables, nuts and fish.
Here are some great good fat foods you can enjoy
Nuts vary in health benefits with some packing more of a punch than others. And, some nuts are better for good fats than others. That being said, all nuts are a great protein rich food that should be included in your diet. Make sure you choose nuts that are unsalted as that extra sodium is not beneficial. The nuts that are lowest in saturated fat include almonds, hazelnuts and chestnuts.
These fruits have had a bad rap over the years for their calories and fat. But, not only are they full of vitamins and minerals, they are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat and should be eaten guilt free.
Chocolate is good for you. Although chocolate contains fat, it is mainly from plant fat and is Monounsaturated fat. It is important to choose a chocolate that contains at least 60% cocoa. Light or milk chocolate contains dairy that raises the saturated fat count quite a bit.
Although an animal fat, there is nothing like fatty fish for your omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish are so full of good fat that they should be considered part of your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered one of the most heart healthy fats you can eat. Fish rich in Omega-3 include trout, salmon, herring, arctic char, anchovies and halibut.
There is often confusion about which oils are healthy and which are not. Most oils contain saturated fat. The top oil is olive oil. This oil contains mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat with very low saturated and is considered a very important addition to a healthy diet. Coconut oil, although higher in saturated fat is also a great choice for cooking as it is resistant to high heat. Butter, although given a bad rap, is a much better choice than margarine. Margarine is highly processed and should be avoided. Stick with the natural.