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healthy fats


According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 80 million Americans are affected by some type of cardiovascular disease. However, there are positive steps those affected by heart disease can take in order to improve their health condition. Reduce and Replace fats Multiple studies show that reducing intake of saturated fats and trans fats in your diet and replacing them with good fats can have positive effects on cholesterol and vascular or circulatory health – both... significant risk factors for heart disease.According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 even a 5 percent decrease in saturated fat, replaced by monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, results in meaningful reduction in associated cardiovascular risks. In addition, dietary guidelines from Health Canada encourage consumers to choose foods with unsaturated fat as part of a balanced, heart-healthy diet. A recent review from the Cochrane Database showed that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats proved to be beneficial. The review analyzed results from 48 research studies, and the results suggest that modifying fat intake by increasing unsaturated fats and reducing saturated fats (but not just reducing fat intake alone) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events – such as heart attack and stroke – by 14 percent. These results were not seen when saturated fat was replaced with carbohydrates. Furthermore, benefits seem to be best when the patients adhere to the new fat intake for at least two years, and those who are already at risk for cardiovascular disease may benefit the most. Reduce Cholesterol The Dietary Guidelines indicate most Americans consume too much saturated and trans fats and not enough unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). In fact, the most recent guidelines recommend replacing bad trans and saturated fats with good fats. A diet high in unsaturated fat helps reduce heart disease and stroke by reducing both total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride (fat in the blood) levels. Omega-9 fatty acids have been shown to increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol and decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, thus helping to eliminate plaque buildup in the arteries, which may cause heart attack or stroke. A scientific review revealed there is strong evidence that replacing carbohydrate intake with unsaturated fats can have positive effects on blood cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors. The results of the research suggest replacing carbohydrates with monounsaturated fats increases HDL (good) cholesterol while replacing carbohydrates with polyunsaturated fats both increases good cholesterol and decreases bad cholesterol. Overall, unsaturated fats have positive effects on cholesterol, whereas saturated and trans fats negatively impact cholesterol levels and increase risks for heart disease. -