Healthy Fats for Longer Life

Eating Healthy Fats for Longer Life

The issue of fat is ongoing, with people trying to decide whether to eat a diet of low- or high-fat foods. But you shouldn’t be focusing on choosing between low-fat and high-fat foods, instead you should be considering “right” fats – foods that contain healthy fats.

A new study suggests that eating healthy fats may actually extend life with fewer heart-related illnesses.

Eating too many [bad fats] instead of healthier fats accounted for roughly 4 percent of heart disease deaths — about 250,000 deaths that might be prevented with decreased [bad fat] fat intake. And, about 8 percent of heart disease deaths were estimated to be due to an excess of trans fats, the researchers said. That means decreased trans fat intake could result in about 537,000 fewer heart disease deaths.

Healthy fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, while unhealthy, bad fats include saturated fats from fatty, processed meats and trans fat. Polyunsaturated fats are found in foods like fish (i.e., wild caught salmon), tofu, sunflower seeds and walnuts and help your body in many ways, including:

  • building smarter brains
  • providing a reserve energy source
  • aiding with vitamin absorption
  • supporting a healthy heart
  • protecting internal organs

The best fats you can choose are omega-3 fats, which are the prime structural components of brain-cell membranes and the insulation coating of the nerves throughout your nervous system. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats also help keep your veins free of cholesterol buildup.

The richest sources of omega-3s, in the form that your body can readily use (EPA/DHA),  are cold-water fish such as wild salmon and tuna. Flax, pumpkin seeds and walnuts are also excellent sources of omega-3s (ALA), but your body needs to a bit of work to convert them to usable EPA/DHA.

The healthiest fats are found in foods that swim (fish) or flow (oils). Unhealthy fats are those that just sit there, like the fat on farmed meat and poultry.

– Dr. William Sears

Choosing a “right” fat diet is the direction you should go. Forget about the low-fat vs. high-fat diet debate – become fat savvy for yourself and your family.