6 Healthy Fats You Should be Eating

Don't ban ALL fats—just the bad ones.

February 12, 2013
"Healthy" Fat?
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For years, you've heard that fat is bad. It causes heart disease. It makes you fat. Too much will give you a stroke! But your brain is 60 percent fat. Fat helps you feel fuller and eat less over time, and it's crucial to building cells and protecting your organs. In fact, nutrition science is beginning to turn on its head the idea that all fat is bad for you, with high-profile nutritionists like Walter Willett, Dr.P.H., professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and a professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, working to debunk the idea that low-fat diets are healthier. Many of the recommendations that we all follow regarding fat, he's found, are based on rather weak science that has been repeatedly questioned over the decades. Even saturated fat, research is finding, increases HDL (good) cholesterol, which helps remove plaque from your artery walls and decreases your risk of heart disease.

But it's all about quality. There are some fats that you should avoid, namely manmade trans fats and omega-6-heavy polyunsaturated fatty acids that are abundant in vegetable oils, like corn and soy, abundant in the modern Western diet and guilty of increasing your risk of heart disease.

So don't ban fat. Ban bad fats. These six healthy fats provide you with nutrients you need, though they've been wrongly demonized over the years. As a general rule, whatever kinds of fat you buy, purchase certified-organic plant oils and pastured or grass-fed animal fats to minimize your exposure to pesticide and antibiotic residues.

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