Monounsaturated Fat -- are about as good as it gets. Full of HDLs, they can actually help prevent heart disease by flushing out your system. Monounsaturated fats are also more resistant to oxidation, something that leads to cell and tissue damage.
You`ll find monounsaturated fats in olives and olive oils, peanuts, canola oil, avocados and many nuts.
Polyunsaturated Fat -- here`s where you find your omega-3s with all their aforementioned benefits. They`re also packed with HDLs, although they are more prone to oxidation, or the breaking down of cells. Many vegetable oils, including safflower, sunflower and soy, are polyunsaturated. As previously mentioned, fish are a good source, too. But be careful, some seafood, particularly shrimp, is loaded with cholesterol -- not fat, but pure cholesterol, which isn`t generally a good idea.
Saturated Fat -- now we`re dipping into "bad" fat territory. For the most part, these fats are loaded with LDLs, meaning too much of the stuff will send your cholesterol levels soaring. You`ll find plenty of saturated fat in red meat, poultry (especially dark meat), whole dairy products and tropic oils such as coconut oil.
Trans Fat -- the new kid on the block. Processed food manufacturers discovered that if you hydrogenate polyunsaturated vegetable oils, they`d become more solid and spoil later. Today, they are used in most commercial baked goods -- cookies, crackers, donuts, pie, cake, as well as shortenings, candy, and many margarines. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that trans fats are just as bad for you as saturated fats, if not worse. They raise your cholesterol levels and one study actually shows that they lower your omega-3 levels.
In July of this year, the FDA issued a regulation that manufacturers must list trans fats on their nutritional labels by 2006. Some manufacturers have already started.
Most of the packaged foods we eat contain more than one type of fat. That`s why reading these labels is so important, so do it! Keep your saturated and trans fats down.
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