Choosing Healthy Fats

by The Cooperative
Consuming foods that contain healthy fats is an essential component of a balanced diet and an overall healthy lifestyle. Being mindful of how much fat you consume and choosing foods that contain healthy fats can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, decrease inflammation, and improve neurological function. This article will uncover the difference between the two types of fat. One of the types is saturated fat, which is an unhealthy fat that we should limit. The second type of fat is unsaturated fat, which is the type of fat that we should consistently choose to improve our health and well-being.
Foods with Saturated Fat
Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods and are typically solid at room temperature. Most come from animal sources, including meat and dairy products and tropical fats like coconut, palm, and palm kernel.
Examples of saturated fat foods are:
  • Beef and beef fat (tallow)
  • Lamb, pork, and wild game
  • Poultry, especially with skin
  • Lard and butter
  • Cream, cheese and ice cream
  • Coconut, palm oil, and palm kernel oil
  • Fried foods and some baked goods
It’s important to limit the intake of these foods. The general recommendation is to have less than 10% of the calories you consume each day come from saturated fat. For example, if you consume 2000 calories daily, you should consume less than 22 grams of saturated fat. When consuming the foods listed above, choose leaner items such as poultry without skin, low fat dairy products, and cook with olive oils instead of butter. In addition, try to limit your red meat consumption to less than three servings per week and limit fried or processed foods as much as you can.
Foods with Unsaturated Fat
Consuming unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats can help improve your cholesterol, which can lower the risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain our body’s cells.
Examples of unsaturated fat foods are:
  • Oils such as olive, avocado, and canola
  • Fish and seafood
  • Avocados
  • Peanut or nut butters
  • Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and peanuts
  • Seeds such as pumpkin, flax, chia, sunflower, and sesame seeds.
  • Tofu or soybeans
While unsaturated fat provides nutritional benefits, it’s also important to balance your consumption of it with other non-fat food options. Fats, in general, are calorically dense. Overconsumption can lead to weight gain and increased body fat percentages, which increases your risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Eating balanced meals and snacks that contain fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins will help your body function optimally.
Limiting saturated fats and incorporating unsaturated fat foods into our regular nutrition can most benefit our health and wellness. Think about what healthy swaps you may be able to plan into your usual meals and snacks and start adding them in today!
By, Coach Sarah

Share this article:

Related Posts