Fat Matters if You Want a Healthy Heart: 4 Tips to Help You Get the Fat You Need

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Remember the no-fat, fad diets that promised how much weight you’d lose if you’d just cut out all the fat in your life? Like most fad diets, it didn’t work. In fact, we ended up packing on pounds, not shedding them. The only beneficiaries of the no-fat diet were companies who began stocking shelves with no-fat salad dressings, potato chips and snack cakes. What we’ve learned is that there are good fats, and there are bad fats. Let’s focus first on the good fats.

Go Fish. Eat two servings of four ounces of fish every week. Those fatty fishes such as tuna, lake trout, sardines and salmon are good for you and are packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

Go Nuts.   Craving something crunchy or just want a quick, easy healthy snack? Try a handful of unsalted nuts or seeds, which will give you not only good fats, but protein and fiber. Another added benefit is the boost of energy it can give. The best choices are almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts.

Go Green. There have been lots of jokes about millennials and their love of avocado toast, but avocados are no joke. Slice them up and add them to your favorite salad, make a healthy guacamole, or eat them on whole wheat toast.

Know your oils. Whether you’re cooking or need a dressing for a salad, know which oils will give you exactly what you need. Stick with avocado, canola, corn, grapeseed, olive, peanut, safflower, sesame, soybean and sunflower oils. You’ll get a punch of flavor without all the saturated fats.

As you’re trying to figure out how much fat you need, consider this. About 35 percent of your total caloric intake should come from healthy fats, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Less than 10 percent should come from saturated (or bad) fats, which includes foods like ice cream, bacon and other fatty meats. A diet high in saturated fat may increase the risk for heart disease. On the bright side, eating the right kinds of good fats can keep your heart healthier.

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