Heart Healthy Helpers

Back in the 80's and 90's, the only "healthy" foods were thought to be ones with a low fat or fat free label on them. We've learned quite a lot since then, and we now know that all fats are not created equally. In fact, our body NEEDS certain types of fat in order to absorb vitamins, move our joints, help keep your heart healthy, and maintain body temperature.


MONOUNSATURATED FATS: Can help improve your heart health. Found in nuts, oils, avocado and nut butters like peanut butter.

POLYUNSATURATED FAT: Needed to build cells, muscle movement, prevent inflammation and can decrease LDL cholesterol. Found in corn, sunflower, and safflower oils. There are two main types:

  • OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health. Found in fish like salmon, tuna, and trout; walnuts; flaxseed.

  • OMEGA 6 FATTY ACIDS can protect again heart disease. Safflower, soybean, sunflower, and walnut oils are all sources.

  • Experts suggest an Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio of 4:1.

The Bad

SATURATED FATS: May increase cholesterol levels and heart disease. Mainly found in animal products like beef, chicken, eggs and dairy products, as well as coconut & palm oils.

TRANS FAT: Found in stick margarine and solid shortening. Often found in prepared foods like cookies, crackers, cakes, fried foods.


Since we NEED certain fats to be healthy, here are some examples to help you get started:

  • 12 Almonds: 5 grams MONO, 1 gram POLY

  • 2 Egg Omelet: 4 grams MONO, 1.5 grams POLY

  • 4 ounces Wild Salmon: 4 grams MONO, 5 grams POLY

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil: 10 grams MONO, 1.5 grams POLY

  • 1/2 cup Tuna Salad with Avocado & Greek Yogurt (see below for recipe!): 4 grams MONO, 1 gram POLY

Fat Intake Goals:

  • Total Fat = Less than 30%

  • Saturated Fat = Less than 10%


We all grew up eating tuna salad, and while there are many variations that don't make for the most heart-healthy option, this one is loaded with protein and monounsaturated fat. Plus there's no cooking involved!


  • Servings: 2

  • Calories per serving: 179

  • Total Fat: 8 g

  • Saturated Fat: 2 g

  • Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g

  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g

  • Trans Fat: 0 g

  • Cholesterol: 32 mg

  • Sodium: 350 mg

  • Potassium: 481 mg

  • Total Carbohydrate: 8 g

  • Dietary Fiber: 3 g

  • Sugars: 3 g

  • Protein: 20 g

  • Vitamin A: 105%

  • Vitamin C: 12%

  • Calcium: 6%

  • Iron: 10%


  • 6 ounces of canned light tuna in water, drained

  • 2 ounces plain full fat greek yogurt

  • 1/2 avocado

  • 1 carrot, chopped

  • 1 celery stalk, chopped

  • 1/4 red onion, chopped

  • 1 pickle, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon each garlic powder, onion powder

  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Mash avocado in a bowl, then add greek yogurt.

  2. Add drained tuna, flaked and mix together.

  3. Add remaining ingredients.

  4. Enjoy alone, on whole grain toast or multigrain crackers, or cucumber slices!