Saturated Fats for Heart Health: Here's What You Need to Know


Avoid all foods high in fat to protect your heart? Or are some fatty foods good for you? If you’ve wondered about this dietary debate, you’re not alone.

For years, health professionals recommended following an all-low-fat diet. But not all fatty foods are created equal.

For example, there’s a difference between the saturated fat in a burger-and-fries meal compared to the fat in a salmon filet. Or a deep-fat-fried Twinkie compared to a handful of nuts. All four foods contain fat. But the fish and nuts contain a healthier kind of fat than the junk food.

Which is better? In a large study recently published in International Journal of Cardiology, researchers followed about 75,000 people in the United Kingdom and Denmark for almost two decades. They looked at types of fat in their diet and risk for a heart attack or heart disease.

Here’s what they found: Eating fats from plant-based foods does not raise your risk for heart disease and other health problems, compared to eating saturated fats from other sources like burgers, fried food, red meat, and processed foods made from trans fats.

In other words, some foods that contain fats are good for you. Don’t be afraid to add these fatty foods to your diet, in reasonable portions:

  • Avocados
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil

If you want to follow a heart-healthy diet, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, legumes, and nuts and seeds. And include healthy-fat food options. You’ll find plenty to choose from on our Low-Sodium Friendly menu like: