Good Fats and Bad Fats

Not all fats are bad

Good Fats and Bad Fats - Not all fats are created equal... Learn to distinguish good fats from the bad to keep you healthy.

Fats and Olive Oil -- There have been numerous reports in the past few decades about olive oil and cholesterol and how the fat content in olive oil is very beneficial in lowering cholesterol. Let's learn what all this means...

It seems that the total amount of fat you eat isn't as important as the type of fat you eat and it's critical that we understand which fats are actually good for our health so that you can substitute good fats for bad to maintain our health for the long-term.

Good Fats and Bad Fats...
Understand Different fats

Let's first differentiate good fats from the bad:

The Bad fats increase the risk of diseases:

  • Saturated fats - This is the fat that is found mostly in foods from animals, including beef, veal, lamb, pork, lard, poultry; dairy products made from whole milk, egg yolks, butter, cream; and in certain types of process foods that contain hydrogenated fats and some vegetable oils, including coconut and palm oils. Best to keep use them minimally.

    This is the type of fat that is the main dietary cause of high blood cholesterol and thus increase the risk of heart disease.

  • Trans fat - This is THE worst fat for the heart, blood vessels, and rest of the body. Unfortunately, it is found in thousands of foods that we eat every day. We've seen the ingredient labels phrased "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" and "vegetable shortening". These are trans fats and they are mostly man-made fat. Besides this, trans fat is also contained in meat like beef and lamb and dairy products. It's been known to clog arteries and cause heart disease among other illnesses. Best to stay away from it completely if you can.

olive oil fact

The Good fats lower the risk of certain disease:

  • Mono-unsaturated fats - The positive link between fats and olive oil - one of the key ingredients contained in olive oils, these fats are known to help lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (or LDL) "bad" cholesterol. Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants and many studies have shown that the oxidation of LDL cholesterol is associated with the hardening of arteries that can lead to heart disease.

    Numerous researches provide evidences that explain the heart healthy benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables and grains and low in saturated fat from meat. Studies have consistently documented lower rates of heart disease in Mediterranean countries such as Italy and Spain, where people consume more than one third of their daily calories from fats high in monounsaturated fatty acids, most particularly olive oil.

    Both canola and olive oils are rich in monounsaturated fats, which are considered the healthiest fats. They also contain the essential fatty acids including omega-3's, which is key to good health.

    Read more on Mediterranean Diet

    Read more about the health benefits of olive oil.

  • Poly-unsaturated fats - Polyunsaturated fats are healthier than saturated fats. The two main types of polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which are considered essential fatty acids, because the body cannot produce them and therefore, must be fortified through food.

    Omega-3 and omega-6 play a crucial role in brain function and in the normal growth and development of your body.

    Good news is that polyunsaturated fats can help reduce the cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease.

    Foods that are high in polyunsaturated fat include soybean oil, corn oil and regular safflower, sunflower and cottonseed oils, as well as fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout. Other sources include some nuts and seeds such as walnuts and sunflower seeds. Flax seed oil is high in omega-3 fats.

    You need to take caution though since polyunsaturated fats are rich in omega-6 essential fatty acids, which are now considered to be a slight health risk.

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