Many are familiar with the division between HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, but a similar division exists in fats. The Trans fats and the refined polyunsaturated fats in processed food harm the body while the monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) found in several fruits and their oils are beneficial. Olives and olive oil, avocados and certain nuts provide the prime MUFA sources. Foods rich in these good fats have a prominent place in the traditional Mediterranean diet. Experts believe that a diet rich in MUFAs helps explain why people in Southern Europe and the Middle East suffer less from obesity and other common western health issues.
Those with too high levels of bad cholesterol face an increased risk of developing diabetes and heart problems. All the authorities agree that large amounts of unhealthy fats in diets push up cholesterol far too high. Changing meal plans to use MUFAs is an excellent way to help restore a healthy cholesterol balance. It costs a little more to cook with olive oil, but the gains from healthier eating far outweigh the cost of this moderate increase in household expenses.
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