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Good Fats vs Bad Fats for Senior Health

If you remember the diet crazes of the 80s and the 90s, you remember fat being the culprit making everyone unhealthy. Every brand came out with a low or non-fat version of their product, and on a surface level it makes sense. Eat fat, get fat, right? But the truth is a little more complicated than that. And with nutritional deficiency being a common concern for seniors, knowing a little bit more about dietary fats will go a long way in serving to make sure that you or your elderly loved ones get a balanced diet.

Broadly speaking, dietary fat comes in two forms. Saturated, and unsaturated, which can either be mono or polyunsaturated. While the molecular difference between the two involves a lot of science about chemical bonds, the most obvious difference between the two is that saturated fats tend to be solid at room temperature, while unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Saturated fats mostly come from animal or tropical sources. Dairy, the fat on beef or pork, or tropical fats like coconut or palm oil. Unsaturated fats come mainly from vegetable sources, like nuts, or some animals like the fats found in fish oil or chicken skin.

Saturated fats should be enjoyed sparingly, as increased consumption can lead to higher cholesterol, a contributing factor to heart disease. Unsaturated fats, however, will lower your levels of bad cholesterol, and the omega fatty acids found in fish or nuts additionally can improve mood and brain health, two areas of concern for seniors.