by The Welthi Bureau | 18th Jan, 2019
The world is becoming more aware of the negative impact that too much fat intake can have on your body. There is however a need to be aware that there are different kinds of fats and that there are also some that are beneficial for your health.
Nature designed fats to give you energy, keep your body warm, build cells, protect your organs, help your body absorb vitamins from foods, and produce hormones that enable your body to function properly.
The fact is, the word ‘fat’ is not always a bad word when it comes to your health. Medical experts now acknowledge that there are some fats that lower your cholesterol levels and keep you healthy. The key to your health is to get the right balance of fats and other nutrients in your body and to eat the healthier kinds of fats in the recommended amounts.
You may have heard about Saturated and Unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are healthy fats. Saturated, or trans fats, are the ones you should avoid or reduce in your diet. Saturated Fats have carbon atoms that are totally covered, or saturated, with hydrogen atoms. This makes them solid at room temperature. When it comes to Unsaturated Fats, they have fewer hydrogen atoms which are bound to carbon atoms, and they remain liquid at room temperature. Just their behavior at room temperature will indicate which one is good for you and which one could be potentially dangerous.
Saturated Fats are deemed to be unhealthy because they raise the levels of “bad” LDL Cholesterol, which in turn raises your risk of getting heart disease. Red meat, skin-on chicken and other poultry, whole milk dairy products like milk, cheese, butter, etc., eggs, palm, and coconut oils contain Saturated Fats. Experts on the subject will tell you that some Saturated Fats like red meat are definitely bad for you, while some, like milk, can contribute to your health. If you’re a dedicated calorie counter, ensure that you get no more than 5-6% of your daily calories from Saturated Fat.
Unsaturated Fats are derived from vegetables, nuts, and fish and form the perfect substitute for Saturated Fats. There are two kinds of Unsaturated Fats – Monounsaturated Fats and Polyunsaturated Fats.
Monounsaturated fats have one unsaturated chemical bond. Oils that contain these fats are liquid at room temperature, but they turn solid when you refrigerate them.
You'll find monounsaturated fats in foods like avocados, olives, canola, and peanut oils; almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and other nuts.
Polyunsaturated Fats have many unsaturated chemical bonds. Polyunsaturated oils stay liquid both at room temperature and in the refrigerator. You will find Polyunsaturated Fats in foods like flaxseed, corn, soybean and sunflower oil; walnuts, salmon, tuna and other fatty fish. There are two types of Polyunsaturated Fats, which are Omega-3 and Omega -6 Fatty Acids. Omega-3 Fatty Acids come in three forms, which are Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) that is found primarily in fish; Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) which is also found in fish, and Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA) which is found in plant sources like flaxseed, vegetable oils, and nuts. Studies have found that eating fish high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids can decrease your risk of getting heart disease, and Omega-3s, on the whole, may actually slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Trans Fats are detected in small amounts in animal-based foods like meat and milk, but most trans fats are manufactured, wherein hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to make them solid at room temperature, as this helps the food to last longer, apart from enhancing the taste and texture. Trans fats may be found in French fries, baked goods, margarine, and microwave popcorn, to name a few.
Count your calories and be vigilant about fats. Controlling what you eat will determine how good your health is.
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