How To Know which Fats are Good For You

When most people think of fat in relation to the food they eat, the next thought is usually to take in as little of the substance as  possible.  We've all heard the bad effects that fat can have on the body.  Too much fat can clog arteries which makes one a prime candidate for a heart attack or stroke. Fats have even been linked to diabetes and cancer.  We also hear from our doctors that fat is really bad for those who have high blood pressure. And many will attest that too much fat in the diet just doesn't make you feel good.  It gives you sort of a lethargic feeling.

So many are avoiding as much fat as possible without realizing that the body needs a certain amount of fat in the diet and there is a difference between good fats and fats that can cause disease.

Two types of fat we hear a lot about these days are saturated fat and trans-fats.   These are the types of fats to limit in your diet.  Saturated fat may be impossible to eliminate from the diet completely because it's found in such things as cow's milk, meat and dairy foods.  But there are things that can be done to reduce the intake of saturated fats, like drinking skim milk and eating lean cuts of meat.

Trans-fats is another type fat that should be limited in the diet because it also has the capacity to cause negative effects on health.  Trans-fats, otherwise known as hydrogenated fats, are found in many processed foods.  Food manufacturers use them because it adds texture and helps give the foods a longer shelf life.

If we didn't have good fats, our bodies would suffer.  Two good fats are linoleic acid and alpha linoleic acid which are fat soluble vitamins that the body can't produce but are needed to move vitamins A, D, K and E throughout the body. These fats contribute to healthy skin, the proper function of eye site and the healthy brain function of infants and children.

Omega-3 fats such as DHA also known as docodahexaenoic acid and EPA also known as eicosapentanoic acid. Is another type of good fats known to lower the levels of blood triglycerides a type of fat that can contribute to arteriosclerosis.  The Omega-3 fats are  found in cold water fish such as salmon and sardines. Two other fats can lower LDL and cholesterol levels in the blood. They are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

So as we watch our fat intake, we should not forget to make a distinction between fats that are good for the body and fats that can cause the body harm and ruin our health.


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