SOME FATS ARE NECESSARY
A certain amount of fat content is necessary for any diet. Fat contains essential fatty acids, which the human body is actually composed of. Fat also plays an important role in assisting the body’s absorption of vitamins A, D and E. The fat that you don’t use to create energy gets stored as fat on your body. When contemplating what causes high blood pressure, fat intake should definitely be considered.
THE 3 MAIN TYPES OF FAT
1. SATURATED (try to limit)
Both sweet and savoury foods can contain saturated fats. Many are from animal food products like meat and dairy as well as certain oils. Examples of food that can contain high amounts of saturated fat include:
- Ice Cream
- Sour Cream
- Coconut oil
- Coconut cream
GUIDELINES FOR SATURATED FATS
- MEN (limit it to 24g per day)
- WOMEN (limit it to 20g per day)
2. TRANS (try to limit or avoid)
Low levels of trans fat can exist naturally in certain dairy and meat products, as well as, in hydrogenated vegetable oil. Trans fats can have the unfortunate side effect of raising cholesterol levels in the blood. Examples of foods that may contain trans fats include:
- Breakfast sandwiches
- Microwave popcorn
- Fried fast foods
- Frozen pizza
Keeping an eye on your consumption of trans fats is a good way to potentially avoid hypertension.
3. UNSATURATED (enjoy in moderation!)
These are the fats found in fish and plant oils. To better your chances of reducing high blood pressure and heart disease, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can be a great start. Evidence shows that this can be a very effective way of reducing cholesterol. There are two types of unsaturated fats.
These fats protect your heart by sustaining HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and lowering levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
They are found in olive oil, almonds, peanuts, brazil nuts, and avocados.
These fats lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and come in two types (Omega-3, and Omega-6). Since these cannot be produced by the body, it is important to include them in your diet.
Look for them in foods like tuna, sardines, salmon, herring, kippers, trout and mackerel.
People often tend to get sufficient amounts of omega-3 in their diet, but can be lacking in omega-6. Setting aside a few meals a week that are fish-based can correct this problem. It is worth noting that vegetable omega-6 sources may not offer the same heart benefits as fish sources.
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