The secret to dropping pounds, reducing your risk of heart disease, and feeling better overall may just be filling your plate with fats. While eating more fat doesn’t mean drowning your veggies in butter, it does mean focusing on two types of “good” fats: MUFAs, or monounsaturated fats, and PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats), which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Why are good fats so, well, good for you? For one, unsaturated fats contain disease-fighting antioxidants like vitamin E, and have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol levels to reduce your risk of heart disease. Plus, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are important for keeping many of our body functions, like our immune system and heart, in top shape. If you’re trying to drop pounds here’s another important reasons to embrace good fats: MUFAS have been shown to help burn away belly fat.
While MUFAs and PUFAs reign supreme, a little bit of saturated fat in your diet may not be as bad as previously thought. Recent studies have suggested that saturated fats in foods like milk, cheese, and meat may not be as harmful as previously thought, after a analysis found no correlation between a high saturated fat diet and an increased risk of heart disease. Coconut oil, a plant-based saturated fat, has actually been shown to raise levels of the “good” cholesterol, HDL, in recent studies. Current guidelines still suggest limiting your saturated and trans fats intake, however, so it’s up to you to make educated decisions about how much you should eat.