February is American Heart Month, which makes it a perfect time to talk about replacing saturated and trans fats with heart healthy unsaturated fats. Not all dietary fats are created equal and its important to know the difference when considering your health. Unsaturated fats do not raise your LDL (bad fat) blood cholesterol. When swapped out for saturated animal fats it may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Mono unsaturated and poly unsaturated fats are found mostly in avocado, olive and canola oils as well as seeds, nuts, and fatty fish.
Its important to remember to not go overboard with fats since they contain more than two times the calories of carbohydrates and proteins. The general idea is not to eat additional healthy fats but to replace the unhealthy ones.
For instance, top a salad with a few slices of ripe avocado and 2-3 tsp of walnuts instead of croutons, and use extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar in place of heavy fattening dressings. In addition, cook with olive oil instead of butter or spread your whole grain toast in the morning with a plant based vegan spread. We like Earth Balance Organic Vegan “Butter”. Try to eat a fish high in Omega Fatty Acids twice a week, such as wild caught salmon for dinner and solid white tuna packed in water for lunch. As a snack have 1 oz of almonds with a small apple. The added fiber and fats will keep you satisfied longer and is a much better choice than a bag of salty chips or a sugary cookie.
If you need more reasons to not shun healthy fats from your diet consider the following benefits:
helps absorb fat- soluable vitamins, A,D,E &K
lowers blood pressure
can help prevent blood clots