Our dietary fat intake has actually decreased over the years... but heart attack and strokes have increased.
Obviously, fat isn't the enemy and, in fact, including the right type of fat in your diet can help decrease your risk of having a first, or a second, heart attack or stroke.
Unsaturated fats include:
Monounsaturated fat- Olives, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, nuts, seeds, natural peanut and seed butters and avocadoes.
Polyunsaturated- Fish and corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, soybean and cottonseed oils.
Replace the Bad with the Good:
Replacing saturated fats or carbs in your diet with unsaturated fats has been shown to decrease the 'lousy' LDL cholesterol (the one that clogs up your arteries), prevent the increase in triglycerides (the fat that's in your blood) that has been linked to heart disease and that increases with high refined carb intake (sweets, desserts, white bread, white pasta, white rice etc.), reduces the risk of blood clot formation, and decreases erratic heartbeats- the main cause of sudden cardiac death.
Dr. Willett and his team at the Harvard School of Public Health calculated that replacing 5% of calories as saturated fat with unsaturated fat reduces the risk of heart attack by 40%!
Assuming you eat 2000 calories, that would means replacing 11g saturated fat with 11g unsaturated fat.
For example, eat 1 oz nuts (about 1/4 cup) instead of 1/2 cup ice cream or eat 2 Tbsp peanut butter instead of 2Tbsp cream cheese or 1 oz hard cheese.
Speaking of nuts, the Nurses' Health Study, published in the British Medical Journal in 1998, looked at the health of more than 86,000 women. It found that those who ate 142 grams (five ounces) of nuts per week were 35% less likely to develop heart disease than women who ate less than one ounce per week.
The 2002 U.S Physicians Health Study found that men who ate nuts two or more times per week were 47% less likely to die of a heart attack and 30% less likely to die of heart disease than men who rarely ate nuts.
Make sure that every day you replace some of the saturated fat in your diet- found in animal products like meat, milk products, eggs, lard, shortening and butter- and excess refined carbs with various sources of unsaturated fat, including fish, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, peanut butter, olives and non-hydrogenated margarine.
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