Healthy Fats

Unsaturated fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – are considered heart healthy fats because they help lower the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in our blood.  Because of this, unsaturated fats may help lower our risk for heart disease and should be included (in small amounts) in our diet. 

 

Monounsaturated fats are typically found in:

  • olive and canola oil and peanut oil
  • avocados
  • nuts such as pecans, almonds, peanuts and cashews
  • non-hydrogenated margarines

Polyunsaturated fats are mainly found in:

  • vegetables oils (corn, sunflower, sesame and soybean)
  • fatty fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring)
  • flaxseed
  • nuts such as walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts 

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats are two types of polyunsaturated fats with special functions. 

Omega 3 fats may help:

  • prevent blood clotting
  • reduce the risk of stroke
  • help lower triglycerides (another type of blood fat linked to heart disease) 

Fatty fish, canola and soybean oils, flaxseed and walnuts are our best sources of Omega 3. 

Omega 6 fats help lower LDL cholesterol.  However, in large amounts Omega 6 fats may in fact lower a good type of cholesterol (HDL).  Omega 6 fats should therefore be eaten in moderation. 

Corn, sunflower and soybean oils, non-hydrogenated margarine and nuts such as almonds and brazil nuts, are source of Omega 6 fats.