Choosing Healthy Fats

healthyfatsMany people assume that including fat into our diet is an unhealthy choice. However, fat is a nutrient that is necessary for our health-not only in the right amount, but the type of fat you eat is important as well.  Some fats offer health-protective benefits that can protect your heart and support overall health. It is essential to include these good fats into our everyday diet.

There are a few different types of fats. These include monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat, and hydrogenated oils and trans fat. The good fats are the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats can help lower bad cholesterol levels, raise good cholesterol levels, and ultimately help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They can also provide essential fats that your body needs, but is unable to produce on its own. You can find these good fats in foods such as plant-based liquid oils (canola, olive, safflower, and peanut oil), avocados, nuts and seeds (flaxseed, sunflower seeds, and walnuts), and fatty fish (tuna, salmon, trout and mackerel).

Saturated fats are those that are not the best for us. These fats can raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels, which can increase our risk of heart disease and stroke. These fats are found mainly in animal sources such as meat and dairy products, and tropical oils like coconut and palm oil. It is important to limit these in our diet.

pinkdonutsHydrogenated oils and trans fats are fats that are really bad for us. These can raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels, which again, can increase our risk of heart disease and stroke. But these fats can also increase our risk of type 2 diabetes. These fats are found in processed foods that are made with partially or full hydrogenated oils. Examples of these include some baked goods, fried foods, and margarine. It is important that you try not to eat foods that have trans fat or hydrogenated oils in them.

As you can see, not all fats are bad. They each have very different effects on your health, as well as your weight. So, don’t cut out the fat; replace the bad fats with the good fats to promote overall health and well-being. But remember, even healthy fats are high in calories, so eat them in moderation.

DID YOU KNOW?

Healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight!

While on Campus…

  • Add avocado to your wraps, sandwiches, salads, and Mexican food choices. 
  • Add nuts and seeds to salads. 
  • Choose non-fried fish options at our dining locations. 
  • Choose low-fat dairy options at all of our dining locations.

Websites to Check Out: 

Good Fats and Bad Fats

Healthy Fat Foods

Choose Healthy Fats 

Prepared by Jordan Scott, TTU Graduate and Dietetic Intern
Hospitality Dietitian Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD   mindy.diller@ttu.edu 

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