Though you may have been taught the opposite, fat can actually be good for you. In fact, there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats-and knowing the difference is essential to your health. Below is an easy-to-use guide that will help you understand the differences between fats.
UNSATURATED FATS (Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated)
Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature but firm up when cooled in the refrigerator. They are generally considered healthier fats and are found mainly in plant sources such as nuts and avocados, as well as olive, peanut and canola oils. Like all fats, monosaturated fats are high in calories. If you increase the amount of monosaturated fats in your diet, be mindful of your overall intake in order to manage your weight.
Polyunsaturated fats can be either liquid or soft at room temperature, and are found in plant oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn, flaxseed and canola oils, as well as in seafood. Polyunsaturated fats include the Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9. In addition to providing energy, EFAs are part of the structure of every cell in our bodies. We need EFAs to achieve & maintain a healthy heart; they are also essential for the healthy function of the brain, eyes, skin, joints, hair and the immune system. To supplement your intake of health-promoting Omega-3, try Herbalife's Herbalifeline® and Tri-Shield®. Keep in mind that polyunsaturated fats are also high in calories. If you increase the amount of polyunsaturated fats in your diet, be mindful of your overall intake in order to manage your weight.
Saturated fat is solid at room temperature and is most often found in animal food products including milk, eggs, meat and butter. Some plant products like palm, coconut and palm kernel oil are also saturated. Saturated fats are not inherently unhealthy, but an excess of these fats in the diet raises cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
Trans fats are chemically engineered, with a metal catalyst like nickel, at very high temperatures. Although some may look liquid, they maintain their structure for long periods of time (which is why fast food chains can fry food in the same oil all day long). The FDA suggests regulating your trans fat intake and to replace them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats whenever possible. New label laws require companies to list amounts of trans fats on their product labels.
Quick tips from the doctor:
- Increase the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
- Limit your intake of saturated fats.
- Regulate your intake of Trans Fats and make sure to read labels.
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