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Healthy Dietary Fats Help Heart Health

Posted on 06/20/2017

Good news if you have high cholesterol, you have a new tool to combat heart disease:  healthy dietary fats. Yes, fats to fight heart disease! According to a new American Heart Association (AHA) advisory, replacing saturated fats with healthier fats such as vegetable oils can reduce cholesterol levels and heart disease risk as much as statins.

Vegetable oils are poly-unsaturated fats and mono-unsaturated fats. Poly-unsaturated fats are found in corn, soybean and peanut oils. Mono-unsaturated fats are found in oils such as avocado, canola, olive and safflower. Whereas saturated fats are found in meat, full-fat dairy products and tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil.

Olive Oil Pouring

And, one little tidbit about coconut oil since it is everywhere these days: the AHA does not recommend eating it due to its high level of saturated fat at a whopping 82 percent compared to olive oil at 14 percent and canola oil at 7 percent respectively. Their findings in seven out of eight studies show coconut oil actually increased LDL cholesterol (the “bad cholesterol”), which is a cause of cardiovascular disease.

Recently questions about saturated fats' recommendations have been raised, therefore the AHA ordered a review of current evidence. Already knowing saturated fat increases LDL “bad cholesterol,” which is a major cause of artery-clogging plaque and cardiovascular disease, the AHA sought to learn more. What they found was shocking! By reducing saturated fats in favor of poly-unsaturated vegetable oil, it actually reduced heart disease by 30 percent, which is similar to statin drugs, according to the AHA advisory.

Other studies show that lowering intake of saturated fat combined with increasing intake of poly-unsaturated and mono-unsaturated fat is linked to lower rates of heart disease. And, the widely promoted and popular coconut oil has actually been found in several studies to increase LDL levels, the same way other saturated fats do. According to AHA and recently published in the journal Circulation, replacing saturated fats with mostly refined carbohydrates and sugars is not linked to reduced risk of heart disease.

Bottom line: if you want to reduce your risk of developing heart disease then lower your intake of saturated fats and increase poly-unsaturated vegetable oil...also be sure to steer clear of the popular coconut oil, unless you use it on your skin as part of a beauty regimen!

 

 

post-author

Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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