"Good" Fats Lower Heart Disease Risk
All fats don’t hurt your heart. In fact, some can actually lower your risk of heart disease, concludes a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Fats derived from plants and some fish are called dietary fats. They’re the good kind, and include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats provide energy to the body for a wide range of bodily functions, such as processing vitamins.
And, eating these healthy dietary fats can help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad cholesterol”) levels and decrease risk of developing heart disease. Food high in these fats include corn, sunflower, and soy oil, along with fatty fishes, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and trout.
Saturated fats are the bad fat, and come mainly from animal products such as red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy. These types of fat raise total blood cholesterol levels and LDL, or “bad cholesterol” levels, which inevitably increases risk of heart disease.
The study analyzed data from 186 countries that included food availability, dietary patterns, rates of heart disease, and mortality rates. They estimated 711,800 heart disease deaths were due to eating too few healthy fats compared to 250,900 heart disease deaths resulting from excessive consumption of saturated fats.
When they compared data from 1990 to those from 2010, they found heart disease deaths due to a lack of healthy fats declined by 9 percent, while deaths caused by a high intake of saturated fats declined by 21 percent.
This led researchers to conclude that it’s a lack of healthy fats that should be the primary concern, and not necessaarily focusing so much on cutting back on bad fats.
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