Cut down on saturated fats, sodium and trans fat for a healthier lifestyle

By Camille H, Parent Herald February 20, 12:19 pm

Saturated fats, sodium and trans fat are three ingredients most Americans would benefit from cutting, health experts agree.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people should limit their consumption of saturated fats to no more than 10 percent of one's total calorie allowance. They suggest that saturated fats be replaced with healthier options that are beneficial to the heart. Some of these options include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Experts also suggest that people limit their consumption of trans fat, which are considered more dangerous than saturated fats given their role in increasing total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as "bad cholesterol."

Most foods with lengthy shelf lives contain trans fat as they act as a preservative. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend restricting trans fat consumption as much as possible, which can be helped by avoiding commercially processed foods as well as fast food restaurants.

Sodium intake, meanwhile, should be no higher than 2,300 milligrams daily. People who are 51 years or older, of African American descent, suffer from hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should further cut down their sodium intake to only 1,500 milligrams per day. People who consume high levels of sodium may suffer from high blood pressure, and the higher the blood pressure, the higher a person's risk of cardiovascular diseases, congestive heart failure and kidney disease.

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