Polyunsaturated fats are a great choice to help lower your cholesterol the natural way. When eaten in moderation, these fats often deemed "healthy fats," can have numerous benefits beyond their great taste.
Benefits of Polyunsaturated Fats
Known not only to improve cholesterol, polyunsaturated fats also contain the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. Our bodies are incapable of producing these fatty acids on its own, though they are imperative to healthy brain function, and the growth and development of our bodies. Omega-3 has also been proven to prevent many ailments and diseases such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, Alzheimer and gout.
Unlike saturated fats that raise cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease, polyunsaturated fats have been shown to reduce overall cholesterol levels and lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol. By incorporating a few key items into your diet, you can begin to recognize the benefits of polyunsaturated fats.
What Contain Polyunsaturated Fats?
- fatty fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, and mackerel
- grain products
- sunflower oil
- safflower oil
Adding Polyunsaturated Fats to Your Diet
There are many ways in which you can easily implement the addition of polyunsaturated fats to your diet. Starting small and easing your way into a diet change is the best way to go (instead of altering your diet drastically at once). Some tasty meal ideas that incorporate polyunsaturated fats and other unsaturated fats are:
- Baking a salmon filet once a week; season it with salt and pepper or your favorite spice blend
- Eating walnuts as a snack, or incorporating them into a salad dish
- Using flaxseed oil to dress a salad, or eating ground flaxseeds over a bowl of cereal in the morning
- Switching from full-fat dairy products to soy-based products
How Much Polyunsaturated Fat is Healthy?
No more than 30% of your daily caloric intake should be derived from fat products. This should be split primarily between polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. It is difficult to track exactly how much fat you are eating, because many items have more than one kind of fat in them. However, with a little practice of reading labels and knowing which products have unsaturated fats, you can easily trim your unsaturated fat intake to 30% of your daily calories.