15 May 2016
Trans fats are nasty fats that are known to increase both the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Luckily Australia started reducing the use of trans fats in food production in the 90’s, but can still be found in some takeaway foods and bakery items.
Saturated fat is primarily animal based and found in cuts of meat, poultry, dairy and certain oils. Although your body does need some saturated fat, too much can raise your cholesterol to an unhealthy level.
Found mostly in plants, research has consistently shown that monounsaturated fats can help to improve cholesterol and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Great sources of monounsaturated fat include avocado, nuts and nut butters, and vegetable oils.
Polyunsaturated fats, also known as Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, are also shown to have a positive impact on the cardiovascular system, decreasing cholesterol and the risk of heart disease as well as improving blood pressure.
Sources of omega 3 fats include oily fish like salmon and sardines, eggs, lean meat cuts, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil. Omega 6 can be found in sesame oils, pecan, brazil and pine nuts and sunflower seeds.
In addition to benefitting your cardiovascular system, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats carry vitamins A, D, E and K, and help the body in absorbing these vitamins. They also release appetite controlling hormones to help you feel full.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend 14 – 20g of unsaturated fats per day for women under 70, and 20 – 40g per day for men under 70.
In real terms 20g of unsaturated fat equates to:
¼ cup cashews
½ cup almonds
¾ of an avocado
2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter
1½ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
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