Fats are essential for good health and an important part of any diet. Studies show that the right kinds can help maximize your metabolism, protect against heart disease, speed nutrients through your body and even improve vitamin intake. But not all fats are the same, so it’s important to choose the right type.

In popular terminology, the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are what most people refer to as healthy fats. However, a better definition of healthy fats is relatively unprocessed fats from whole foods. On the other hand, unhealthy fats are typically those that are industrially produced and nonperishable.

Monounsaturated fats are considered beneficial as they help to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke while also helping to manage weight. Healthy fats can be found in foods like olive oil, avocados and nuts like almonds, pistachios, cashews, pecans and hazelnuts.

Polyunsaturated fats, which are found in foods like walnuts, flax seeds and fish, are the other good fats to consider adding to your diet. Like monounsaturated fats, these also help with weight management by controlling blood sugar and help to reduce bad cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fats, essential fatty acids required for proper brain function and cell growth.

Our bodies can’t produce these healthy fats, so we need to make sure we’re getting enough from the foods we eat. To incorporate more into your diet, try adding a handful of nuts to a salad lunch or part of an avocado to your morning shake.

If you’re not getting enough essential fatty acids in your diet, consider an omega supplement. You can find supplements and snacks rich in healthy fats at your local Canadian Health Food Association member health food store. Find one near you online at chfa.ca.

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