When it comes to diet, fats get a bad rap. Some of this is justified, because certain types of fat — and the fat-like substance cholesterol — may play a role in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
But not all fats are created equal. Some fats are better for you than others, and may even help to promote good health. Knowing the difference can help you determine which fats to avoid, and which to eat in moderation.
Fat is essential for several bodily functions. It is an energy source, and it protects the skeleton and nerves. Fat also makes it possible for other nutrients to do their jobs.
However, as iterated before, not all dietary fats are equally beneficial.
Unsaturated fats, which are liquid at room temperature, are considered beneficial fats because they can improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and play a number of other beneficial roles. Unsaturated fats are predominantly found in foods from plants, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.
There are two types of “good” unsaturated fats:
1. Monounsaturated fats are found in high concentrations in:
Olive, peanut, and canola oils
Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans
Seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds
2. Polyunsaturated fats are found in high concentrations in
Sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils
Canola oil – though higher in monounsaturated fat, it’s also a good source of polyunsaturated fat.