Nutrition & food, Physical, Wellness

Is fat good or bad ?

Fat, often treated as the culprit, has a bad reputation in health and diet.  Cholesterol or obesity are linked to fat which is justified. But little did you know that all fats are not bad. Some are meant for good health. Example Omega 3 is good for physical and emotional health. Don’t stare in disbelief. We will bust the myths of good fat and bad fats for you.

What are fats?

Just like carbohydrates or protein, fat is a nutrient found in plants as well as animals. Dietary fat, also known as fatty acids, your body needs these to absorb vitamins, give energy and protect brain or heart health. All foods and oils contain a mixture of fatty acids, but the type of fat they contain makes them good or bad.

Difference in good and bad fat

Bad fats are trans-fat or saturated fats which are majorly responsible for cholesterol, weight gain and so on.  Bad fats raise LDL cholesterol, inflammation, insulin resistance and chances of type 2 diabetes as well.  
Good fats are called monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, which are good for health. They can lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure or narrowing of arteries.  

Sources of fat

1.Trans fat (unhealthy)

Abbreviation of “trans fatty acids,” trans-fat appears in foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These are the worst fats for the human body.  The major sources of trans fat at
-Commercially baked pastries, pizza, cakes, muffins etc
-Fried food like French fries, deep fried Indian snacks, fried chicken
-Packaged snacks like chips, microwave popcorn etc

2.Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is primarily animal-based, and is found in high-fat meats and dairy products. Some prominent sources of saturated fats are as follows:
-Red meat (lamb, pork, beef)
-Chicken skin
-Whole fate dairy of cheese or milk
-Ice cream 

3.  Monosaturated fats

The above are known as the good fats because they are good for heart health, especially helping in lowering your cholesterol cardio-vascular diseases and improving overall health. These fats are generally found in:
-Nuts (pecans, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts)
-Healthy oils –sesame, canola, olive, peanut
-Peanut butter 

4. Polyunsaturated fats

Like monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat can decrease your risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels. This is a healthy fat recommended for you. This fat is mainly found in the following sources:
-Seeds –pumpkin,sunflower, sesame
-Soybean and safflower oil
-Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout) and fish oil

Choosing the good fat

As you now know that all fats are not bad for body, you need to consciously choose the healthy fats and include in your diet. The best type of fatty acids for human health is Omega 3 Fatty Acid. It can be found abundantly in eggs, walnuts kidney beans, spinach, flaxseeds, chia seeds, trout fish, tuna fish, oysters and sardines.  3-.5-5 ounces of omega 3 is recommended in your daily diet. It has the following benefits:
-Reduces symptoms of depression or dipolar disorder
-Acts against memory loss or dementia
-Supports healthy pregnancy
-Eases joint pain or arthritis
-Improves inflammatory skin conditions
-Sharpens memory and balances mood
-Reduces risks of heart disease, stroke or cancer
-Helps overcome fatigue or low energy
You need not cut down on all fats in your daily dietary habits. Limit the bad fats to 10% in the entire day. For good health, it is recommended to consume a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids daily, exercise and be active. Leading the sedentary lifestyles that we have, it is easy to fall prey to the bad effects on health. Take control of it before it is too late.
Check out the recent article on Debunking of Keto Diet by HVMN.

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