Big Fat Heart
BY ABBY PRATT, CHOP5 NUTRITION BLOGGER
How fat plays into your heart health
Yep, you read that right! Fats can serve a vital role in your health. Fats have gotten such a bad rep but a certain amount of healthy fats can help lower your risk for heart disease. What better time to talk about heart health than February, American Heart Month.
Your winning line up!
Getting these specific fats into your diet can play a key role in keeping your heart healthy! These fats listed below provide the essential fats your body needs but can’t produce itself.
Monounsaturated Fats Benefits * helps lower your bad, LDL cholesterol * raises your good, HDL cholesterol * decreases inflammation * helps reduce blood cholesterol, blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors * prevents atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) * Sources - olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, olives, avocado and nuts Polyunsaturated Fats Benefits * lowers LDL cholesterol * lowers your blood pressure * slows the build up of artery clogging plaque * lowers your risk for stroke * prevents atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) * Sources - vegetable oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, sesame oil, soy milk and tofu Omega-3 Fatty Acids Benefits * lowers the amount of fat in the arteries * makes up the membranes that surround your body’s cells * improves heart health and lowers your risk for heart disease * reduces risk of irregular heartbeat * type of polyunsaturated fat and is especially beneficial to your health * Sources - tuna, trout, herring, salmon, mackerel, sardines, mussels, oysters, fish oil, flax seed, seaweed and chia seeds
So now you know which fats can benefit your cardiovascular health but what are some next steps to begin to apply your new knowledge?
- Limit trans fat, saturated fat and hydrogenated oils.
- Cook with the right oils (olive, avocado, sesame, canola)
- Make sure to eat fatty fish! Aim for 2 servings a week, if possible.
- Make more salads. Opt for an oil-based dressing, hard boiled eggs, avocado, walnuts, sesame seeds or olives. We got you covered at CHOP5 with many oil based dressing options.
- Make some fat swaps. Replace some of the “bad” fats with your new heart healthy friends where you can. One example would be to switch to a natural peanut butter or to swap ranch for hummus with veggies.
Keeping your heart healthy is important so that you can be around as long as possible to do the things you love with the people you love. This Valentine’s and Heart Month, what is one thing you are doing to spread the love? Share with me at email@example.com
CHOP well, Eat well, Live well, Love well