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Facts on Unsaturated Fats

By Livestrong Contributor ; Updated April 18, 2017

You Have a Fat Tooth, Too

We adore the smooth mouth feel of fat. We fry and bake everything in pools of various oils, and you might be more confused than ever regarding what fats heal and what fats zap your life force. Coinciding with an American obesity epidemic, you along with many Americans are cutting back on your fat intake. Eliminating fat completely may cause more harm than good. Before you throw out the oil with the sautee pan, here's the skinny.

Plant-based poly and mono-unsaturated fats (Poly-Monos) are crucial human nutrients. These two fats can actually reduce your LDL cholesterol levels and provide you with the essential fatty acids that your body eagerly utilizes on a cellular level.

Poly-Monos in the Cabinet

Poly-Monos are the two unsaturated fats that exist naturally and remain liquid at room temperature. Foods high in mono-saturated fats are olives, peanuts, avocados and most unprocessed nuts. Polyunsaturated fats oils include safflower, corn, sunflower, soy, cottonseed and canola oils.

Avocados and most nuts have high amounts of monounsaturated fat. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are found in salmon, mackerel and herring. Vegetarian flax seeds, flax oil, chia seed and walnuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids. These first-rate dietary fats carry fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K from your food into your body. Essential omega-3 and 6 lower blood cholesterol levels, which reduces another risk factor in the acquisition of coronary artery disease. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be less than five to one. You can achieve this by consuming a diversity of whole foods, especially plant oils and spreads. Top shelf fats maintain your healthy hair and skin, protects vital organs and keeps your body insulated.

Total Fat--What's High and What's Low?

Moderate intake of any fat is ideal. You'll need to measure, however, because like an open bar, free-pouring often leads to excess. Measure the oil for cooking with tablespoons rather than pouring it straight from a container. Some folks use a paint brush. The University of Maryland has a complete dosage list of oil needed for weight.

Keep total fat intake between 20 and 30 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, olives and sunflowers. The obligatory ingredient label will alert you if the oils used are hydrogenated. Cottonseed oil is not renowned for its cleanliness, so try to avoid it when possible.

Balancing Your Oils: Your Body is Your Buddy

Try to eliminate foods such as lard, bacon grease, palm oil, cocoa butter, dairy butter, ghee, sour cream, doughnuts and biscuits, which are brimming with these detrimental oils. Read ingredient labels and seek products made with Poly-Monos and your health will blossom. As you decide to make a healthy choice, select more unsaturated fats and less saturated fats. Snack on some unsalted almonds instead of a bag of chips. Whip your mashed potatoes with olive oil, organic de-fatted chicken stock and fresh garlic instead of butter and milk, and try mustard on your sandwiches rather than fatty mayonnaise. Put some extra vegetables, beans or lentils in your casseroles and stews and a tad less meat.

Gratifying Results

Your savvy purchasing paradigm will positively affect your ability to sustain your universal gift of health along with a flattering waist line.

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