What are Good Fats
What are Good Fats and their Role in Good Health?

Did you know?

Fats are essential for the absorption of key nutrients such as vitamins A, E, D, C, K, energy production, building cells, transporting oxygen, healthy brain and nerve function, blood clotting, and producing the hormone-like substance prostaglandins - the fatty acid that aids in illness and injury? But when it comes to fats, all fats are not created equal.

What are Good Fats?

There are bad fats: saturated fats - the fats found in fatty cuts of beef, pork, lamb, butter, whole fat dairy products, cheese, ice cream and more; and trans fats - the fats found in many commercially baked cookies, crackers, cakes, doughnuts, French fries, potato chips, stick margarine, pancake mix etc. Bad fats carry little or no health benefits, and are attributed to many health problems such as increased high cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease.

And then there are good fats: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which provide a whole host of health benefits.

Where are Good Fats Found?

Good fats are good for your cholesterol, heart and your overall health. These good fats remain a liquid at room temperature and can be found in many forms such as:

Polyunsaturated Fats

  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Walnuts
  • Safflower oil
  • Tofu
  • Flaxseed
  • Flaxseed oil

What Are Good Fats?

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Monounsaturated Fats

  • Brazil nuts
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Olive oil
  • Olives
  • Peanut butter
  • Canola oil
  • Avocados
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil

  • Omega 3 Fats

Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. Omega 3 fats are especially beneficial for easing arthritis, joint pain and inflammation, reducing the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. They protect against dementia and memory loss, prevent the symptoms of depression, ADHD, bipolar and aid in healthy pregnancy. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in fatty fish such as:

  • Salmon (wild caught, Sockeye)
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Canned albacore tuna
  • Algae
  • High quality cold water fish oil supplements
  • High quality algae supplements

How Much Fat Should You Consume a Day?

The amount of fat an individual should consume on a daily basis depends on their overall health, lifestyle, weight and age. According to the USDA, most individuals should consume no more than 20-30 % of fat calories per day, no more than 1% of saturated fat calories per day and none or only 1% of trans fat calories per day. Omega 3 fats should be consumed every day to reap the health benefits.

The best way to keep up with your fat consumption is to become a label reader. Read the nutritional labels on the package to find information on the fat content. According to experts, you should look for products that are low in fat as well as both saturated and Trans fats. Be aware that some labels that claim to be "free of trans fats" are actually allowed up to 0.5 grams of trans fats, which can really add up.
Not all fats are created equal. When beginning a diet meal plan, it is important to remember to consume good fats for optimum health while eliminating the bad fats.
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This page was last updated: 9/13/2015
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