Give your heart some love this month by increasing your intake of heart-healthy fats. Your body needs fat to provide energy for your cells to grow, to keep your body warm and to protect your organs. The major types of fats found in foods are saturated and trans fats (the unhealthy fats) and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the healthy fats).
Including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your risk of heart disease and can reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol if you eat them in place of unhealthy fats. Foods high in saturated fats include fatty meat, poultry skin, bacon, sausage, whole milk, cream and butter. Trans fats are found in stick margarine, shortening, some fried foods, and packaged foods made with hydrogenated oils.
This month, try cooking with olive oil instead of butter or substituting fish for meat in your favorite dish to increase your intake of heart-healthy fats. Other sources of healthy fats include vegetable oils, avocados, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, salmon, tuna and trout.
To get started, try this recipe for a heart-healthy alternative to a waldorf salad. Post a comment and let me know what you think!
– Haley Nolan, RD, CD, clinical dietitian specialist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin