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Heart Health – Do you know the ‘good’ fats from the ‘bad’ fats?

Posted on November 6, 2013

Recently a number of retailers and food manufacturers have promised to reduce the saturated fat in their products as part of the ‘fight against obesity’, but did you know that saturated fats are just one of the types of fat in our food and that in moderation is actually required by the body in order to absorb certain nutrients and improve your heart health?

There are three types of fats; all required by the body for different reasons such as providing a source of energy and vitamins A and D.

Saturated Fats

As advised by a number of sources, including NHS Choices, reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet is important to your health.

–          Men should not eat more than 30g a day.

–          Women should not eat more than 20g a day.

Most people within the UK are unknowingly consuming about 20% more saturated fat than they should be. A diet high in saturated fat can, in time, increase your LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) level and therefore increase your risk of heart disease.

Foods that are high in saturated fats include butter, dark chocolate, cheese, cakes and meat products.

Unsaturated Fats

Unsaturated fats can increase levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) within the body, which work to lower the levels of LDL cholesterol. Saturated fats can be replaced with unsaturated fats which are the healthier option, found in foods such as nuts and seeds, fruit and vegetables and oily fish.

Oily fish in particular provide omega-3. Omega 3 is a family of polyunsaturated fats that cannot be created by the body, so must be obtained through our diet. Omega-3 is key to lowering triglyceride levels, which is directly linked to regulating heart rhythm and preventing blood clots.

Trans Fats

Trans fats can be found both naturally in meat and dairy products and artificially in processed foods such as biscuits and cakes. Diets high in trans fats can again lead to high levels of LDL cholesterol and also reduce the level of HDL cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease.

Your Bluecrest Health check includes a full biochemistry blood test in which we carry out a cholesterol check. This is broken down into both your HDL and LDL (good and bad) cholesterol along with your triglyceride levels. Understanding your cholesterol profile and then changing your diet to increase the good HDL cholesterol can be a powerful tool in the fight against heart disease and maintaining your heart health.