Home > Food > General Nutrition > Nutritional Information > Which Fats Are Good for You?
|

Which Fats Are Good for You?

For years, there has been an incredible amount of hype over fat. Fat clogs your arteries, fat increases your cholesterol, fat causes weight gain—fat is the root of all evil. However, some kinds of fat are not just okay to eat—but are actually good for you. To date, the best types of fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and omega-3s. Monounsaturated fat can be found in olive oils, avocado, and most nuts. The omega-3 fats can be found in flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts, and fatty fish.

Nutri-Speak

The omega-3 fats (also known as linolenic fatty acids) are polyunsaturated— meaning their structural makeup is lacking several hydrogen atoms. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fats has been shown to have beneficial effects, such as lowering triglycerides and cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, helping alleviate arthritic pain, aiding with digestive problems, and possibly reducing the risk of certain cancers (and recurrence of them).

The Fatty Fish

Seafood lovers, rejoice! Epidemiological studies have shown a lower rate of cancer in people who eat a lot of fish. The best advice is to have a few servings of tuna, sardines, bluefish, striped bass, herring, trout, and wild salmon—the fish dishes with a rich concentration of omega-3 fats. In fact, eat them at least three times each week (even more if you can). Just make sure to avoid fish that are too high in mercury, such as swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and shark.

Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed, the light brown seed from the flax plant, has received a lot of attention for its potential to protect against breast and other hormone-related cancers (in addition to lowering cholesterol and relieving constipation). Rich in omega-3s, antioxidants, lignans-phytoestrogens, and soluble and insoluble fiber, this impressive seed has been growing in popularity.

You can buy whole flaxseeds in most health food stores and then just grind them in a coffee grinder as needed. Mix them into your cereals, salads, yogurts, cookies, muffins, pancakes, omelets, and even casseroles. Flaxseed oil is effortless, quick, and ready to pour on salad, but you'll miss out on the lignans and fiber found in the whole flaxseed. Just be sure to refrigerate ground flaxseeds and flaxseed oil because they can go rancid quickly.

|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition © 2005 by Joy Bauer. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Top 10 Group Halloween Costumes for Families
These store-bought and Pinterest-inspired Halloween costume ideas for groups are the perfect way to show off your creative side at your Halloween party or while trick-or-treating.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

12 Spine-Tingling Halloween Movies for Teens
Are you looking for a movie with just a little bit of spook-factor for your teen? Check out these 12 spine-tingling Halloween movies!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!