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Senior Nutrition: Good Fats, Bad Fats

Posted on: October 3rd, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments
Good Fats

Good Fats

If you grew up eating a lot of real butter, shortening, and lard, this post is for you!

Dietary fat is a nutrient that helps your body absorb essential vitamins, maintains the structure and function of cell membranes, and helps keep your immune system working.  We need fat, however, some types of fat may increase your risk of heart disease and other health problems. Fat also has a lot of calories, increasing the risk of weight gain.  Source: Mayo Clinic

The Good Fats

Monounsaturated fats: These heart-healthy fats are typically a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, a nutrient often lacking in American diets. Sources: olives, avocados, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and olive, canola, and peanut oils.

Polyunsaturated fats, Omega 3 and 6:  Found mostly in vegetable oils, these help lower both blood cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels— especially when you substitute them for saturated fats.  Sources: Soybean and canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, cold water fish (cod, crab, lobster, scallops, tuna, trout, and salmon).

 The Bad Fats

Saturated Fats: Saturated fats are the solid fats. They are linked to chronic diseases, especially heart disease. Sources: High-fat cheeses, high-fat cuts of meat, whole-fat milk and cream, butter, ice cream, palm and coconut oils  **Low-fat versions of these foods usually still contain saturated fats, but in smaller quantities than the regular versions.

Trans Fats: Partially-hydrogenated oils — the dirty word to look for on a list of ingredients.  Sources: It’s a semi-solid fat commonly found in commercially baked goods and some hard margarines.

Bottom line, avoid those fats you grew up with…real butter, lard, and shortening. Take it easy on the baked goods and go low-fat in the dairy section when you can!

Kim

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