Researchers at the Harvard School of public Health analyzed the findings of eight previous studies on fats and came to the conclusion that reducing the amount of saturated fats—those from items such as butter/dairy, meat, egg yolks—and replacing them with polyunsaturated fats—those that are liquid at room temperature—increases good cholesterol and improves your chances of staving off heart disease.
Lowering Cholesterol is a waxy-fat type substance that is produced naturally by your body. It helps protect nerves, make cell tissues, and produce certain hormones. But when there is too much cholesterol in the blood, the excess builds up on the walls of the arteries, causing them to narrow and harden. Large deposits of cholesterol can completely block an artery.
There are two types: LDL and HDL. An easy way to remember which one is which is that the LDL is "Lousy" cholesterol. You don't want your "lousy" score to be too high. On the other hand, think of HDL as "Healthy," something that is good for you. LDL low is the main source of cholesterol build-up in your arteries, and this is what can lead to decreased blood flow to your heart, even to blockage. HDL is quite the opposite. It can help keep the blood flowing through your arteries at full speed ahead.
The study concluded that for each 5 percent increase in those Good Fats there was a 10 percent drop in heart disease. Making a permanent change in your dietary habits to reflect the change in fat consumption could lead to a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease in just four years. Common wisdom recommends that you should keep your saturated fat intake to 10 percent of total calories per day, and replace saturated fats with healthier alternatives whenever possible.
So what type of fats should you be using? Steer clear of unsaturated and trans fats (often found in processed foods). Instead, look for polyunsatured fats (also known as
and monounsaturated fats. They are found in vegetable oils, fish, bananas, avocados, nuts and sunflower seeds, among others
By Susan Brady
Published: Tuesday, 23 March 2010