February is National Heart Month and I want to share with you some nutrition news that you can use to keep your heart healthy. Let’s talk about the fats you find in foods:
1). Saturated fat. This is the bad fat that is found in foods that can raise cholesterol and put you at an increased risk for heart attack. Saturated fats are typically the ones that are solid at room temperature. Here are some examples of foods that should be consumed in moderation because of the higher saturated fat content: butter, cheese, fatty beef. The American Heart Association recommends that we have no more than 7% of our calories coming from saturated fat, which is about 16 grams per day on a 2,000 calorie diet. Just to put this in perspective, this is equivalent to 1 cheeseburger. That is not that much!
2) Trans Fat: These fats are equally as bad as the saturated fats and they can raise your cholesterol and put you at an increased risk for heart disease. These fats are produced when you take a liquid and make it into a solid. Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils.” Foods that contain trans fats are the foods that are processed and packaged such as frozen foods, doughnuts, and some baked goods. Because trans fat are harmful to our health, it is recommended that we really limit the amount of these that we have in our diet. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration announced last year that it is taking steps to ban trans fat because of the correlation of trans fat to heart disease.
3) Unsaturated fats: These are the fats that are liquid at room temperature. The unsaturated fats have benefits on our health when consumed in moderation and when replacing saturated or trans fat in our diet. Unsaturated fats can help to lower the bad cholesterol and to reduce our risk for heart disease. Great sources of unsaturated fats include olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados. Omega-3s are a type of saturated fat that have very positive effects on our health and our heart. Great sources of omega-3s are salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring and it is recommended that we have 2 servings per week of these fatty fish.
Keep your heart healthy by eating fats in moderation and choosing your foods wisely so that you are eating the healthy fats!