Healthy fats for healthy life
In our world today, there is a general notion among people that fats are really bad for our health, but the fact is our body really needs some of the healthy fats for healthy life. Fats are a rich source of energy and they also help to absorb minerals and vitamins.
So before understanding good fats let’s talk about some “bad fats” first.
If there would be a ranking list of bad fats, trans-fats would be top the ranks. Consumption of trans-fats leads to an increase in bad (LDL) cholesterol and reduces helpful (HDL) cholesterol. These trans fats are produced by a hydrogenation process which converts liquid to solids at room temperature. Some common foods containing these fats cheese, butter, meat, doughnuts, pastries or especially deep-fried foods such as potato fries, fried chicken etc. There are some major side effects of Trans fats, develops inflammation which increases the rate of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and other chronic conditions. These mainly man-made fats are rapidly growing in our food industry because they tend to have the longest shelf life but do not have any health benefits. As per some studies even if you eat 2% of calories from trans-fat it may increase your risk of heart diseases by 23%.
Consumption of saturated fats increases bad (LDL) cholesterol which is really harmful to our heart and create blockages. Therefore, health experts recommend eating less than 10% calorie from saturated fats in a day. Cheese, coconut oil, whole milk, whole milk food products and all prepared baked packaged foods are high in saturated fats. Some important studies suggest that if we replace these saturated fats with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats such as high fiber carbohydrate, vegetable oil we can significantly decrease the risk of heart disease.
Ok, how about some “Good fats”…
Now it’s the time to talk about those fats which we should focus and include in our diet. Good fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are a good source of essential fatty acid which helps to maintain a healthy heart. They can be found in
- Nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds;
- Some of the plant-based oils, canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil;
- Fish such as salmon, sardines, etc.
Monounsaturated fats were discovered in the seventh century by the people who lived in Greece and some of Mediterranean region. These parts of the world tend to use monounsaturated fats more in their daily foods. That’s is one of the reasons why they have the lowest rate of heart disease even though they enjoy a high-fat diet because the primary fat in their diet was olive oil which is pure monounsaturated fat. Nowadays many people seem to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine more and look at it with their “healthy goggles” as a favorable diet choice. These monounsaturated fats have no recommended daily intake (DI) so you can enjoy these fats as much as possible together with polyunsaturated fats to replace trans fats and saturated fats (obviously within the total Fat DI J). Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are very essential polyunsaturated fats present in flax seeds, plant-based oil, chia seeds, walnuts and in some type of fish salmon, sardines. It reduces the risk of heart disease, blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and helps to lower triglyceride levels.
Sometimes choosing inappropriate foods and snacks can lead to more complications. For example, when we are really famished we tend to eat readily available food items without giving it much thought if they are healthy or not. For those who have a sweet tooth and are big fan of cookies, cakes etc. a better alternative is homemade trail mix in which you can add some dried fruits dried cranberries, apricot, resins and some good fats such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, peanuts and some seeds like (sunflower, chia, flax, pumpkin). To healthify it, even more, you can mix it with some whole grain cereals to satiate your daily snack hunger. The message is very simple, instead of choosing sticky kinds of butter try to choose butter spreads which are low calorie, having less percentage of total fats and specifically lesser saturated fats. And say No to Trans fats, no artificial preservatives. Choose your fats wisely, after all, it affects you and your loved ones directly or indirectly.
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Healthy fats for healthy life
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