Fats are essential in our diet. They help us feel satisfied with our meals and add flavor to our foods. Consuming certain fats as part of a balanced diet can actually help lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugars and reduce inflammation.
Sarah Meyers, a University of Michigan registered dietitian, describes the types of healthy fats that provide these important health benefits, including:
- Monounsaturated fats: Found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, avocados, olives, nut butters and nuts (including almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and cashews).
- Polyunsaturated fats: Found in soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, certain seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin and flax) as well as in fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines), soymilk and tofu.
- Omega 3 fats (a type of polyunsaturated fat): Found in fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines, or in high-quality cold-water fish oil supplements, as well as in walnuts, flaxseed and canola oil.
Although all these fats are healthy for the heart, Meyers warns that they are also high in calories, so be mindful of your portions.
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the top ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.