TargetWoman - Portal for Women
TargetWoman - Portal for Woman

Heart Healthy Fats

TargetWoman is a portal dedicated to Women - Articles of lasting value from Hair styles to liposuction, from working women to fashion jewellery and a handpicked listing of sites of importance to women.
Search from our Articles

Print  Book mark this  Read this later  Send this  Browse by Topic 

Food contains several kinds of fats, some healthy and heart friendly whereas a few are harmful for health. All fats do not work in a similar fashion. We need to consume certain amounts of good fat so as to maintain a balanced dietary intake. Curtailing fat completely is surely not called for! In fact, the key to good health lies in the mix of fats that you eat. Cholesterol is needed by our body to preserve the integrity of myelin sheath within the brain.


Facts about dietary fats

Fat is essential for our body as it supports numerous body functions.


  • A few vitamins require fat to dissolve and to provide nourishment to the body.
  • Our body makes its own fat from the excess calories that we consume.
  • A few fats known as the dietary fats are consumed in the form of plant or animal food.
  • Excess dietary fat can cause diseases like type 2 diabetes, Atherosclerosis - arteriosclerotic vascular disease (or simply put it is the thickening of arteries) , heart diseases, obesity, cardiovascular diseases etc.

Dietary fats are classified into healthy and harmful dietary fat. All foods have a mixture of fats; they are classified based on the predominance of a certain type of fat.


Heart healthy fats

Heart healthy dietary fat comprises unsaturated fat:

Monounsaturated fat: Found in oils and other food items. It helps to improve good cholesterol or HDL (high density lipoprotein) in the body. American Heart Association considers that HDL values lower than 50 mg/dL for women (it is 40 mg/dL for men) can accentuate the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Sources of monounsaturated fat include:


  • Avocado
  • Peanut and almond butter
  • Vegetable oil like canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil
  • Nuts like almonds, pistachios, pecans, peanuts, cashews.

Polyunsaturated fat (omega 6): Found in oils and plant based foods. Reduces risk for heart disease and promotes good cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats can help lower your total cholesterol level.
Sources of polyunsaturated fat include:


  • vegetable oil like sunflower oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil
  • walnuts
  • tofu
  • soy nut butter, soy nuts
  • pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds.

Omega 3 fatty acids: Found in fatty fishes and helps in reducing the risk of coronary heart diseases and blood pressure related health problems. Source of omega-3 fatty acids are:


  • Fish like salmon, trout, sardines.
  • Canola oil, flaxseeds and walnuts also are sources of omega-3.

Harmful dietary fats

Harmful dietary fats can raise the LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) in the body and may make the lining of blood vessel inflexible. They can be classified as:

Saturated fat: This type of fat is mostly derived from animals. Saturated fat can raise diabetes levels, total blood cholesterol levels and LDL in blood which in turn that can raise the risk of coronary heart diseases. Sources of saturated fat include:


  • High fat dairy products like cheese, ice cream, cream cheese, sour cream, butter, whole milk, cream, etc
  • Chicken wings, dark meat chicken, poultry wings
  • Fatty cuts of beef, pork and lamb
  • Tropical oils like coconut oil, cocoa butter, palm oil, palm kernel oil.

Trans fat: This occurs naturally in many food items and is found in animal sources. Most of the trans fat gets generated while food is being cooked. This type of fat causes spurt in HDL and LDL levels in the blood. Sources of trans fat include:


  • Vegetable shortening
  • Stick margarine
  • Doughnuts, French fries and all fried food
  • Commercially prepared food that contains hydrogenated oil like cookies, crackers, microwave popcorn, pastries, cakes, etc.

Cholesterol: Cholesterol is not fat however it is a fat-like substance that is waxy. Human body manufactures some cholesterol and some cholesterol is derived from animals. Cholesterol is vital for the body as it helps the body to build cells and produce certain hormones. However we should keep in mind that this required cholesterol is produced by the body itself.
"Cholesterol helps break down food into essential nutrients. Combined with liver, it produces bile acids which are essential for the digestion of fats and clearing the waste. Cholesterol acts to interlock 'lipid molecules,' which stabilize cell membranes. Therefore, it is a vital building block for all bodily tissues." Says Shane Elison in his book 'Over the Counter Natural Cures' about Cholesterol.

Sources of cholesterol include:


  • Organ meats like liver, kidney, brains
  • Shrimp, squid
  • Egg yolks, whole eggs
  • Meat, poultry, sea food

Fat intake guidelines


  • Total fat intake should be limited to less than 25–35 % of one’s total caloric consumption per day.
  • Saturated fat may not be more than 7% of the total fat intake.
  • Trans fat to be limited t 1% of the total fat intake.
  • The remaining fat can be from sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
  • Cholesterol intake should be limited to less than 300 mg per day, for healthy people and 200 mg per day for people with coronary diseases.

Recommendations for heart healthy dietary fat


Type of fat Food source Suggested intake
Total fat Plant and animal based food Includes all types of fat and can be 20% - 30% of total calorie intake
Monounsaturated fat Olive oil, poultry, canola oil, peanut oil avocado, nuts and seeds No specific recommendation on intake however should remain within the healthy limits
Polyunsaturated fat Poultry, vegetable oil, nut oil and nuts and seeds No specific recommendation on intake however should remain within the healthy limits
Omega-3 fatty acids Walnuts, fatty fish, flax oil, ground flaxseed No specific recommendation on intake however should remain within the healthy limits
Saturated fat Butter, coconut, cheese, pizza, sausage, hot dogs, grain based deserts, etc Not more than 10% of the total calorie intake
Trans fat Cookies, cakes, snack foods, margarine, etc Better if avoided, however minimal intake is suggested
Cholesterol Dairy products, sea food, eggs, beef, hamburger, etc Less than 300mg a day

Choose the best heart healthy dietary fat


  • Reduce consumption of food high in trans fat,cholesterol and saturated fat.
  • Consume food rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat but keep within recommended healthy levels.
  • Choose fats in your diet based on your cardiovascular conditions
  • Use olive oil to sauté instead of butter.
  • Read food labels before picking up the food product.
  • Snack on nuts like unsalted walnuts, peanuts, almonds,sunflower seeds instead of potato crisps and French fries.
  • Use canola oil for baking.
  • Use olive oil for marinade and salad dressing.
  • Use avocado instead of cheese.

Heart healthy diet


  • Consume a balanced diet with plenty of fibers. Fibrous food like fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes should be included. Consume cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.
  • Avoid high-calorie food that has poor nutrient content.
  • Consume fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Limit consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol,food like red meat, egg yolks, shell fish, etc.
  • Consuming oily fishes like salmon is good for the heart.
  • Add chopped olives to your salads and casseroles.
  • Replace sour cream dip with hummus.
  • Try peanut oil to sauté your veggies.
More on Food Topics
Food and Nutrition Facts - Regional cuisines, food facts and gourmet meals ...
Chamomile - Gentle apple-like aroma ...
Parsnip Soup - Traditional American Soup ...
Dim Sum - Bite-sized morsels ...
Gazpacho Soup - Chilled soup ...
Whole Grain Cereal - Powerhouses of fiber ...
Jicama Nutrition - Replace your potatoes ...
Bok Choy Stir Fry - Chinese cabbage ...
Chia Seeds Benefits - Rival to flax seed ...
Teff Nutrition - Tiny powerhouse ...
Kaniwa - Next super food ...
Flax Seed - Rich in omega 3 fatty acids and lignans ...
Wheatgrass Benefits - Power-packed green gold ...
Kelp Benefits - Iodine-rich seaweed ...
Types of Chili Peppers - Turn the heat on ....
Medicinal Benefits of Pomegranate - Health-packed juicy seeds ...
Arugula Leaves - Rocket Salad leaves ...
Pitaya Fruit - Mild and flavorful ...
Benefits of Celery - Crunchy garnish or dieter's delight ...
Leek - Asparagus for the Poor Man ...
Asparagus Benefits - Bright green stalks ...
Oyster Stew - aphrodisiacs and prime health food ...
Oyster Mushroom - Unusual mushroom recipe ...
Lupin Beans - Nutrition packed ...
Quinoa - Wonder grain ...
Freekeh - Young green wheat ...
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Rich source of monounsaturated fats ...
Dill Pickle - Served with deli sandwiches ...
Sauerkraut - Sour cabbage ...
Fat Burning Foods - Bust the fat ...
Nutrition Chart - Understand nutritional requirements ...
Food Combining - Key to wholesome nutrition ...
Calorie Counter - Counting calories ...
Non Alcoholic Beverage - Party time ...
Punch Recipes - Fun drink for parties ...
Food Label Nutrition - Understanding nutritional data ...
Homemade Sausages - Meat Lover's delight ...
Cooking Steak - The perfect steak ...
Eating on a Budget - Eat right, eat smart ...
Budget Friendly Recipes - Easy on the pocket ...

Quick Recipes
Healthy Packed Lunch - Lunch on the go ...
Overnight Oats Recipes - Easy tasty healthy mornings ...
Eggplant Casserole - Grill, bake or stuff it ...
Brunch Recipes - In-between meal ...
Burrito Recipes - Folded delights ...
Muffin Recipes - Lunch box treat ...
Cupcake Frosting - Little baked treats ...
Apple Crisp - Warm and crumbly ...
Stir Fry Cooking - Retain the color and aroma ...
Seafood Salad Recipe - Work with a variety of herbs, dressings and seasonings ...
Cooking Corn on the Cob - Retain the milky moisture ...
Finger Food Recipe - Bite sized snacks ...
Sandwich Recipe - Quick, simple and wholesome ...
Bread Stuffing Recipes - Ready to stuff ...
Easy Chili Recipes - Rev up your metabolism ...
Picnic Recipes - Easy to make and easy to pack ...
Edible Mushroom Recipes - Mushrooming recipes ...
Mushroom Soup Recipes - Rejuvenating Soups ...
Dip Recipe - Wonderful with snacks ...
Tapas Recipe - Spanish appetizers ...
Corned Beef Recipe - Cured meat ...
Canned Salmon Recipe - Whip up great meals ...
Tilapia Recipes - No saturated fat, no cholesterol...
Crumb Cake - Moist and tender ...
Flourless Chocolate Cake - Gluten-free cakes ...

Regional Food
Lasagna Recipe - Delicious layers of cheese, sauce, herbs ...
Peruvian Ceviche - Fresh raw fish dish ...
Chinese Food Recipe - Different Chinese cooking styles, mouthwatering recipes and more ...
Vietnamese Food Recipe - Rice cakes, fish sauce, crunchy vegetables ...
Malaysian Food - Wafting aroma of Meat Satay on a bed of rice ...
Korean Food Recipe - Kimchi flavors ...
Indian Curry Recipe - Fiery, spicy, tangy ...
Edible Rice Paper - Unique authentic taste ...
Mexican Food Recipe - Read up on spicy salsa and mexican herbs ...
Quesadilla - Cheese tortilla ...
Guacamole Dip - Avocado-based relish dip ...
Italian Food Recipe - Cheese, olive oil and salads ...
Spanish Food Recipe - Saffron flavored rice with meat or seafood ...
Kosher Food - It is all about Jewish set of rules ...
Falafel Recipe - Israeli hamburger ...
Tandoori Chicken - Marinated and grilled ...
Noodles - Stir fried or steamed ...
Canape - Delicious, attractive snack ...
Couscous - Serve with stew or curry ...
Meatloaf - Seasoned meat dish ...
Chowder - Thick, steaming broth ...
Gumbo Recipe - Spicy Louisiana soup ...
Crockpot Recipes - Cooking in a pot ...
Moroccan Food - Rich intense tastes ...

Healthy Food
Pre Workout Snack - Fuel up for workout ...
Matcha Tea - Greenest Antioxidant ...
Simple food Swaps to Lose Weight - Swap to healthy eating ...
Foods to Beat Stress - Heap calm on your plate ...
Foods to beat Insomnia - To help you doze ...
Bone Density Foods - Preserve bone mass ...
Prebiotic Foods - Delicate combination of good and bad bacteria ...
Kefir Grains - Natural probiotic beverage ...
Agave Nectar - Delicious and healthy sweetener ...
Spicy Trail Mix - Nutrition on the go ...
Pesto Sauce - Summer pasta sauce ...
Homemade Hummus - Spread on good health
Crab Cake Sauce - Delicate crab meat
Bamboo Shoots Nutrition - Fiber and nutrients ...
Lemon Grass Plant - Tangy lemony aroma ...
Butter Beans Recipes - Nutrition in a bean...
Loose Green Tea - Good health in a teacup ...
Seaweed Nutrition - Outstanding nutritional profile ...
Healthy Food - An overview of healthy food options for our body requirements ...
Low Fat Granola Bar - Meal on the go ...
Steel Cut Oatmeal - Nutritional powerhouse ...
Fruit Pizza - Fruits on a crust ...
Pizza Toppings - Top up the cheese ...
Green Smoothie - Power packed drink ...
Healthy Meal Planning - Add the health factor ...
Delicious Mealtime Recipes - Ideas you can use ...
Heart Healthy Fats - Blast that fat ...
Healthy Heart Recipe - Heart friendly dishes ...
Healthy Dinner Recipe - Enjoyable and wholesome mealtimes ...
Healthy Dessert Recipe - Indulge your sweet tooth sans the guilt ...
Healthy Fast Food - Make healthy choices ...
Healthy Kid Recipe - Balancing the meals ...
Probiotic Food - For life ...
Diabetic Friendly Foods - Low Glycemic foods ...
Fruit Salad Recipe - The flavor of fresh crunchy fruits and heavenly dressings ...
Bread Pudding - Simple and tasty ...
Tofu Recipe - Packed with the goodness of soy protein ...
Oat Bran - Natural healthy food ...
Broccoli Salad - Dark green florets bursting with anti-carcinogenic properties ...
Avocado Recipe - Large central seed and a paper-thin skin ...
Iron Rich Food - Vitamin C aids better absorption of iron ...
Brain Foods - Enhance brain function ...
Antioxidant Food - Prunes, broccoli, tomatoes ...
Natural Diuretic - Flush out toxins ...
Low Fat Cooking Tips - Low on fat, great on health and taste ...
Rice Pilaf Recipe - Rice and condiments ...
Low fat Chicken Recipe - Watch your waistline ...

Food Tips
Steak Marinade Recipe - Makes grilling flavorful ...
Sous Vide Cooking Technique - Cook in Vacuum ...
Natural Sugar Substitute - Added sweetner ...
Stevia Sugar Substitute - Sugar substitute in cooking ...
Sunflower Seeds Nutrition - Summer icon ...
Bouquet Garni - Bagful of flavor ...
Cake Decorating Tips - Sugar craft ...
High Satiety Foods - Feeling of fullness ...
Thanksgiving Dinner - Stuffed turkey with golden brown gravy ...
Safe Food Storage - Fresh, nutritious, clean food ...
Frozen Food Storage Tips - Freeze it right ...
Cold Storage Food Tips - Cold and safe ...
Leftover Recipe - Waste not the leftovers ...
Food Pyramid - An informative guide about essential food groups and healthy food habits ...
Dairy Free Food - Sans dairy products ...
Microwave Cooking - Defrosting, heating and whipping up tasty meals ...
Food Intolerance - One man's meat, another man's poison ...
Homemade Ice Cream - Conjure up a delight at home ...
Apple Cider Vinegar - An apple a day ...
Benefits of Honey - Healthy replacement for sugar ...
Beverage Cooler - Cool drink on a sunny day out ...

Food Allergy
Food Poisoning Symptom - Poor sanitation, unhygienic food handling and improper preservation and packaging of food ...
Food Allergy Symptom - Do not underestimate any food allergy symptom ...
Food Addiction - Compulsive overeating ...
Heart Healthy Fats

RSS feed on Food Topics
Heart Healthy Fats