How do “good” and “bad” fats affect your heart?
The 4-1-1 on Fats
What fats do for your body:
- gives energy and supports cell growth
- help protect organs and keep your body warm
- absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones
You definitely need fat- but not as much as people are consuming.
Fats on the Heart
It’s important to maintain a healthy diet- one that balances the amount of calories you consume with the amount of calories you burn. A healthy diet emphasizes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grain products, and eat fish, preferably oily fish, at least twice a week.
Choosing smaller portion sizes is also very important to control your total calories and weight.
Cooking and preparing meals at home allows for more control over the healthfulness of foods.
- Start with low-fat cookbooks or recipes.
- Choose liquid vegetable oils or nonfat cooking sprays, and avoid solid fats or shortenings.
- Instead of frying foods, which adds unwanted fat and calories, use cooking styles that add little or no fat to food- stir-fry, roast, grill, boil, pach, saute and steam.
Many restaurants offer delicious choices low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol.
- Request smaller portions or share entrees. You’ll save money and calories.
- Look for foods that are steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted.
- Ask for salad dressings, sauces and gravies to be served on the side.
Reading Food Labels
Learning how to read and understand Nutrition Facts labels can help you make healthier choices.
As an example, for a 2,000- calorie diet:
- 40 calories per serving is considered low;
- 100 calories per serving is considered moderate; and
- 400 calories or more per serving is considered high.
You can find all this information and more on heart health from the American Heart Association.