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How to Choose Healthy Fats for Your Diet

mixed nuts in a jarA poor diet can play a role in creating health issues. Luckily, you can improve your health by keeping a balanced diet. Don’t worry about cutting out all kinds of fat, as some fats are actually healthy for you.

Follow our guide to learn all about how to choose healthy fats for your diet and why they are important.

The Importance of Eating Healthy Fats

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to build cells and make vitamins and hormones. While cholesterol is essential, too much can pose a problem. There are two types: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered “good” cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is considered “bad.”

HDL transports cholesterol to the liver, prevents buildup in the arteries, and removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. Meanwhile, LDL deposits cholesterol in the arteries, resulting in arterial plaque buildup that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Too little HDL or too much LDL increases the risk that cholesterol slowly builds up within the inner walls of the arteries.

The biggest influence on your cholesterol levels is the type of fats you consume. There are healthy fats, otherwise known as “good” fats, that are good for your heart, cholesterol, and overall health. So, rather than counting cholesterol in the foods you eat, focus more on incorporating healthy fats into your diet.

Monounsaturated Fats and Polyunsaturated Fats

Healthy fats, which are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, have many health benefits. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke, they also lower blood pressure, prevent abnormal heart rhythms, and fight inflammation. Here are some of the foods you can eat.

Monounsaturated fats:

  • Put avocados in salads, salsa, sandwiches, and with eggs. For breakfast, enjoy some avocado toast.
  • Use oils in salad dressing or to sauté vegetables, fish, meat, and tofu. You can choose from olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil.
  • A handful of nuts is a healthy snack. Include almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, and cashews.
  • Nearly half the fat in peanut butter is monounsaturated fat. Mix any of the heart-healthy oils that separate right back in.

Polyunsaturated fats:

  • Keep a carton of soy milk in your refrigerator. It’ll come in handy when making smoothies and coffee in the morning.
  • Eat pumpkin and sunflower seeds year-round. These are popular as-is or roasted and can be mixed in with salads and vegetables.
  • Soybean oil and safflower oil have a neutral flavor that pairs well with other foods. Use soybean oil for high-heat cooking methods like baking and sautéing, and safflower oil for drizzling over steamed vegetables and making vinaigrettes.
  • Tofu is a great meat alternative. Pan fry, air fry, grill, or bake it and serve with your favorite sauce or dish.
  • Also, eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids, especially fish. Read more below!

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A type of polyunsaturated fat that is especially beneficial to your health is omega-3 fatty acids. There are three types: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Since the body cannot make omega-3s, getting these healthy fats through foods and beverages is essential. Here is a list of the items rich in omega-3s that you can eat:

  • Fish are excellent sources of omega-3s, as they are high in EPA and DHA. Some of the many options include salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, mussels, oysters, halibut, and sardines.
  • There are more beans, seeds, and nuts to enjoy. Kidney beans, chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts are high in ALA.
  • For other vegetarian sources high in ALA, look for seaweed, kale, edamame, brussel sprouts, and spinach the next time you’re at the grocery store.

Improve Your Health With Us

Proper nutrition can improve your health, reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high levels of cholesterol. The Wellness Connection takes an innovative approach to wellness by combining nutritional counseling and chiropractic care. Through nutritional counseling, our functional medicine doctors will give you a personalized plan on how you can improve your health through diet and supplements. Contact us to get started today!


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