Unsaturated Fats are one type of several different types of dietary fats and oils. All these different kinds of fat can be confusing. Let’s look at unsaturated fat a little more closely.
Have you ever heard of healthy fats? These are called unsaturated fats and are known to lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. These are healthier for your heart and can be part of a heart-healthy diet. They are still fat and contain 9 calories per gram.
What is the Mediterranean Diet? This eating lifestyle may help prevent heart disease and reduce risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, and lean protein. Components of this diet include unsaturated fats. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/mediterranean-diet
Eat foods with healthy fats. Good examples include nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines. These foods and vegetable oils like olive and canola, are good sources of unsaturated fat, which is a healthier fat option.
Did you know there are two (2) types of unsaturated fats? These are polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Some more sources of unsaturated fats include:
- Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and pecans. Choose unsalted nuts. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/nuts/art-20046635
- Omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish, such as salmon and mackerel.
- NOTE: The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish (fatty fish) per week.
- Milled or ground flaxseed. Flaxseed: Is ground better than whole? – Mayo Clinic
- Edamame https://recipes.heart.org/en/recipes/sweet-and-spicy-edamame https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-edamame
What are monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat?
Monounsaturated fats are found in high levels in olive oil and in oils from high oleic acid varieties of canola, soybean, sunflower, and safflower. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/monounsaturated-fats
Polyunsaturated fats are found in higher amounts in safflower, soybean, sunflower, corn, and cottonseed oils. Walnuts, sunflower seeds, and fish are other good sources of polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/polyunsaturated-fats
Always check with your healthcare provider for advice regarding your diet and health.
Include a variety of nutrient-packed foods in your daily diet. Nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber make foods good for your heart and your body. Foods that contain a lot of nutrients for the calories they contain are called nutrient-dense foods. Examples of nutrient-dense foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, as well as low-fat/non-fat dairy products. Choose more of these types of foods.
Unsaturated fats can be good for you. What you eat affects your overall health. All foods can fit into a healthy and well-balanced diet in moderation. Be informed and make wise food choices for your body.
Keep your heart healthy. Manage your weight. You matter.
Eat smart and stay well.
Resources to learn more about fats, cholesterol, staying active, omega 3 fatty acids, and olive oil.
All About Saturated Fat – https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/browardco/2023/06/02/all-about-saturated-fat/
Control Your Cholesterol – https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/browardco/2023/06/01/control-your-cholesterol/
Stay Active for Better Health – https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/browardco/2023/06/01/stay-active-for-better-health/
Learn the facts about fat – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fat/art-20045550
American Heart Association/Omega 3 Fatty Acids – https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/fish-and-omega-3-fatty-acids
MyPlate-Re-think Fats – https://www.myplate.gov/tip-sheet/rethink-fats
Health Benefits of Olive Oil and Olive Extracts – https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FS282
Facts About Fats and Oils – https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FS281