For the last several decades, healthy eating has been equated with consuming low fat foods. However, it is not absolutely true that a diet low in fat is the most healthy diet. For instance, some studies reveal that certain fats can reduce the risk of strokes or heart attacks. Fat is simply a macro-nutrient substance found on food items. A chief constituent of cells as well as the precursors for many body substances, fats primarily consist of hydrogen and carbon items. When discussing fatty foods it’s important to note that there are different kinds of fat, good fats and bad fats, and each one affects the body differently.
Fats can be categorized into: good fats, also referred to as Smart Fats or EFAs, and bad fats. Good fat or unsaturated fat plays a pivotal role in the formation and maintenance of cell membranes, proper functioning of sex hormones, and the creation of bile salts and vitamins like Vitamin D. Apart from these, good fat reduces the risk for developing such devastating ailments as Alzheimer’s disease, coronary heart disease, depression, hyperactivity disorder, and inflammatory ailments including bowel diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. Also, good fat is essential to absorb and stock some kinds of vitamins and chemicals that are vital for proper functioning of the body. Good fat is vital for the healthy functioning of the nervous system, eyes, and kidneys.
Different types of good fat include monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fatty acids are natural fats and are usually found in olives and nuts. While, polyunsaturated fats are usually seen in oils that are extracted from seeds, apart from high fat fish, inclusive of Omega 3, which in turn is beneficial for healthy brain growth. Further, both of these fatty acids lower the LDL (low density lipids) cholesterol levels and increase the level of HDL (high density lipids) cholesterol. Among the sources of good fats are chicken and duck meat, palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, peanuts, and butter. Although beneficial, increased usage of these fats may sometimes lead to diseases such as liver and lung disorders, obesity, and heart ailments.
Now for bad fats, which include saturated fatty acids and trans fat. Saturated fat contains chains of hydrogen and carbon, which are packed together. They are usually found in tropical oils and animal products. On the other hand, trans fats are the result of hydrogenation, and they are most commonly seen in packaged food items including commercially fried items, fast food items, vegetable shortening, popcorn, and hard stick margarine. Bad fats are also a major cause for several other diseases leading to heart ailments, peripheral vascular disease, pancreatitis, clogged arteries, as well as strokes. In order to avoid bad fats, it is better to reduce the intake of items such as hemp oil, cottonseed oil, powdered milk, poultry with skin, fried items, egg dishes, processed meats, milk chocolates, desserts, ice creams, and homogenized fats like coconut cream.
Though tasty, increased consumption of aforementioned items may tremendously increase the level of bad fats. Hence, alternatives can be used. For instance, a better alternative for cooking vegetable dishes with butter is to steam them with herbs. Similarly, instead of eggs and dairy items, consume items like fruit purees and healthy oils to prepare desserts. In addition, try to include nutrients supplying vegetables, fruits, salads, and whole grains in your diet.
It is evident that it is necessary to avoid bad fatty foods and consume good fatty foods, as fat plays a pivotal role in the healthy functioning of the body. Also, fats are essential for the digestion of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, and K. Likewise, fats also serve as a shock absorber and an insulin regulator by maintaining body temperature. Hence, an intake of good fat is highly vital for healthy living, although in correct proportion. Above all, adequate exercise is necessary to balance the good and bad fats in your body.