Adding Fats the Right Way

5 easy ways to add healthy fats to your diet.

By Dean Ornish | MD

These simple changes may make a significant improvement in how well you live and how long you live.

     

  • 1.

    Fish oil.

    Take 3 grams a day of fish oil capsules in which mercury, PCBs and dioxin have been removed.

  • 2.

    Reduce total fat consumption.

    You only need about 5% of calories from fat. The average American gets almost 40% of calories from fat. To cut fat, use small amounts of canola or flaxseed oil rather than olive or corn oil, eat fewer processed and fried foods and avoid foods with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.

  • 3.

    Choose good fats.

    While omega-3 fatty acids reduce harmful inflammation, omega-6 fatty acids increase it if you consume too much. Omega-3s are found in cold-water fatty fish, especially salmon, and in oils from canola, soybean, flaxseed and walnuts. Ideally, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be about 1:1, or no more than 2:1. The ratio for the average American diet is between 10:1 and 30:1. The best way to improve this ratio is to consume more omega-3s and less omega-6s. Much of the excessive omega-6 comes from eating the wrong kinds of oils. Olive oil has 13 times the amount of harmful omega-6s as beneficial omega-3s. Corn oil is even worse, with a 46:1 ratio. Canola oil has a much more balanced ratio of 2:1. Flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3s, with a ratio of 1:3.

  • 4.

    Lose bad fats.

    Saturated fats, trans fatty acids and partially hydrogenated fats promote inflammation and raise LDL cholesterol. They’re strongly linked with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, many types of cancer and other chronic diseases.

  • 5.

    More grains, less refined carbs.

    Eat more whole grains and fewer refined carbohydrates.

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