In part 2 of our 3-part Vitality Triangle series (don’t miss part 1 here), we’re diving into “good fats.” As most of us now know, not all fats are equal! There are many types of fats, some are bad for you, some are good, and some are absolutely essential for your health and for maintaining a healthy weight.
What are Good Fats?
Good fats include monounsaturated fats like those found in nuts, seeds, avocado and olives. These healthy fats fight inflammation and are heart healthy.
Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory, and they raise HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL and triglycerides, all good news for heart health. These are essential for health and because we cannot make these on our own, we must get them from our diet. Omega 3s are found in fish, but also can be found in plant foods such as flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds.
What are Bad Fats?
Fats that should be avoided are trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated oil. These are man-made fats found in commercially-baked breads and pastries, Crisco and margarine. They have been linked directly to increased heart disease and overall mortality.
Saturated fats found in animal products (meat, chicken, cheese, milk) have also been linked to cardiovascular disease and should be limited.
Fat is an Essential Nutrient
The truth is, you need good fats in your diet. Every cell in your body is surrounded by a protective layer of fat. Your hair, teeth, nails and skin depend on fat. Fat allows for proper brain and eye development, as well as a healthy metabolism.
For optimal health and nutrition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and USDA suggest aiming to get 20 to 35 percent of your calories from fat, or 44 to 77 grams of fat per day on a 2,000-calorie diet. Healthy fats can be added to meals by eating fatty fish, olive and canola oils, and nuts or nut butters.
When you combine good fats with high protein and good carbs, you’re giving your body the vitality it needs to power through your day!
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