Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Heart-Healthy Fats


Load up on the "good" fats that help prevent high cholesterol and heart disease
by Densie Webb, Ph.D., R.D., Prevention magazine

More on this in Health & Fitness

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When you hear the word "fat," you probably automatically think "bad." That's because for years we've heard that fat causes heart attacks, high cholesterol, weight gain, and even afternoon slumps.

Now we know better. Science has shown that not all fats are created equal. Sure, some fats are still bad, and too much of any kind of fat is harmful to your waist and your health.

But research has shown that certain types of fat protect us from high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. These types of fat are turning out to be so healthy that you probably need to eat—get this—more of them.

Specifically, you need two types of heart-healthy fats:

Omega-3 Fats

Named because of a chemical bond that falls in the number three position on the fatty acid chain, these liquid fats help lower bad LDL cholesterol, raise good HDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides (a type of blood fat), and may reduce the risk of blood clots.

Omega-3s help heart muscles beat in a steady rhythm, which may be why studies have shown that men who eat more fish have fewer fatal heart attacks. Mostly found in cold-water fish such as salmon, this important cholesterol-lowering fat isn't made by our bodies. We must consume it from food, and few people eat enough of it.

Monounsaturated Fats

These important fats are known to lower bad LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol. They are found in olive oil, almonds and avocados.

Make no mistake though: Too much total fat—more than about 25 percent of calories—is still a bad idea. You want to limit saturated fats and trans fats. And curb the omega-6 fats, such as corn oil.

But finally, there's fat so healthy you can actually enjoy it! Try our easy tips to automatically get the right balance of fats in your diet—starting now.

Learn more about The Heart-Healthy Fats:

Boosting Omega-3s

Boosting Monounsaturates

Easy Ways to Cut Back

Densie Webb, Ph.D., R.D.....