Start Your Summer Right with Heart Healthy Fats

June 21st marked the first day of summer! With all the fun summer activities there to help keep you moving and heart healthy, here are some tips about dietary fats that will help get your heart in shape through your diet. Let’s begin with looking at the different types of fat:

The American Heart Association recommends a diet with more unsaturated fats rather than saturated fats and trans fats. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are considered good fats and can help to lower the bad cholesterol in your body. Fats are needed in your diet to help with a variety of body functions such as keeping you warm and protecting your organs. So, eating the good fats within a balanced diet can help your body. For more information about The American Heart Association’s Dietary Fat Recommendations, click here.

According to current research, there is a common misconception about fats. In a study done in 2017, it was found that to reduce saturated fats, overall fat reduction was recommended, and many people began to think that all fats should be avoided. Because of this recommendation, people are eating more carbohydrates than fats and many people now avoid nutrient-dense foods with healthy unsaturated fats. There has been evidence showing that replacing saturated fats in the diet with carbohydrates (a low-fat diet) has no significant effect on lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, there has been evidence that by replacing saturated fats or carbohydrates with polyunsaturated fats does reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

So, now that we know more about fats, what kinds of foods have heart healthy fats? (Hint: Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated are best!)

There are many ways that you can include these healthy fats in your diet. Here are some healthy swap ideas to get you started! To read more on foods containing heart healthy fats, click here.

Hopefully this summer you can incorporate healthy fat choices to keep you energized and fueled for all the fun in the sun you will have! Check out the recipe below for Sweet Potato Avocado Toast for an energizing snack packed full of heart healthy fats, or click here for a printable recipe flyer.

By: Angela Wielander, Fontbonne Dietetic Intern

Sweet Potato Avocado Toast

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 large avocado
  • seasoning, to taste ((garlic powder, salt, pepper, etc))
  • 4 leaves fresh basil
  1. Slice sweet potato lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices.

  2. Place slices in toaster on high for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through.

  3. While the sweet potato is toasting, slice the avocado and mince the fresh basil.

  4. Top your sweet potato "toast" with the avocado, basil, and desired seasonings.

  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Alternatively, you can bake the sliced sweet potato in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until cooked but not mushy. 

You can also mix up the toppings! Try these fun flavors: peanut butter & chocolate chips, hard boiled egg & shredded cheese, goat cheese & cherry tomatoes, or cream cheese and berries. The toppings are endless!

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