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Eating for Life

The most-maligned 'fatty' foods

Staving off middle-age spread requires portion control and plenty of exercise

Updated: 2008-03-25T19:08:57Z

By Jill Wendholt Silva

The Kansas City Star

Fat facts: Saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, hydrogenated and, now the latest villain, trans fats. It's enough to make your head spin. Isn't it just easier to stay away from all fats? A certain amount of fat is necessary for the body to function properly, and some fats don't deserve their bad rap, health experts say.

Salmon - Yes, it's a fatty fish, when compared with other leaner varieties, but it's high in omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in reducing the risk of heart disease and building healthy brain cells.

Shrimp - At one time shrimp was wrongly accused of being a high-cholesterol food. Not so. Shrimp has about the same cholesterol as the white meat of chicken, is low in calories and is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Avocado - Avocados contain monounsaturated fat with lutein, aphyto chemical that prevents macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in elderly people. They also contain glutathione and phytosterol, which inhibit cholesterol absorption.

Nuts - There's plenty of nutrition in nuts. Ranked by nutrient density they are almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, chestnuts, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, pecans and macadamias. Almonds and hazelnuts contain nearly 25 percent of the adult recommended daily allowance of vitamin E, while walnuts have the greatest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Just keep in mind that nuts contain plenty of calories; a 1-ounce serving is a medium-size handful.

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