Choosing Healthier Fats : Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated Fats Are A Go!

The inclusion of fat in the diet is important for several reasons, including the maintenance and formation of normal cell integrity, neurological structure and function, chemical messaging, brain health and the prevention of chronic heart conditions such as Chronic Heart Disease (CHD), Chronic Artery Disease (CAD) and Chronic Artery Occlusion (CAO).

A key factor in preventing the onset of chronic cardiovascular conditions is the inclusion of healthy fats, and the relative reduction of bad fats! Bad fats include saturated fat and trans fat, and it’s these bad boys that contribute to the elevation of cholesterol (remember, dietary cholesterol doesn’t affect total cholesterol), and in particular, the LDL (bad) cholesterol!

To help reduce total cholesterol you need to minimise saturated fat and trans fats, whilst increase your relative intake of good fats i.e. monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. To help you, here’s a list of what food sources contain what (not an exhaustive list):

Monounsaturated fats

Find them in

• olive oil and rapeseed oil

• avocado

• nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts and pistachios).

NOTE : Some spreads are made from monounsaturated fats.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Found in:

• corn oil, sunflower oil and soya oil

• nuts and seeds (walnuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds).

NOTE : Some spreads are made from polyunsaturated fats.

 

Omega-3 fats

Generally found in:

• fish oil

• oily fish such as herring, mackerel, pilchards, sardines, salmon, trout and fresh tuna.

Saturated Fats

Found in:

• butter

• hard cheese

• whole milk

• fatty meat

• meat products

• biscuits

• cakes

• cream

• lard

• dripping

• suet

• ghee

• coconut oil

• palm oil

• pastry

 

 

Trans Fats

Found in:

• pastries

• cakes

• biscuits

• crackers

• fried foods

• takeaways

• hard margarines.

Foods that have ‘hydrogenated oils or fats’ or ‘partially hydrogenated oils or fats’ in the list of ingredients are likely to contain trans fats.

References

British Heart Foundation, (2013). Reducing your blood cholesterol. Retrieved 18th July, 2013, from http://www.bhf.org.uk/#&panel1-1

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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