Stop Worrying About Fats in Your Diet
It's time to stop worrying about fats in your diet. Not all fats are bad and destroy the body. Some fats can even be beneficial to our health. Just like protein and carbohydrates, our body also needs fats. These are essential for the absorption and transportation of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and are an important source of energy. Fats also play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of cell membranes, hormone production, and regulation of inflammation. They provide cushioning to protect organs and insulation to help maintain body temperature.
Types of Fats
There are three types of dietary fats: saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats.
- Saturated fats are found in animal products such as meat, butter, and cheese, as well as in coconut oil and palm oil.
- Unsaturated fats are found in plant-based foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds, and in oils such as olive oil and canola oil.
- Trans fats are found in many processed foods like baked goods, fried foods, and margarine.
Trans fat is the worst and should be avoided at all costs. It can increase cholesterol levels and cause cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and other chronic diseases.
Saturated fat falls somewhere in between. Consuming too much of it can cause cholesterol to build up in arteries and cause blockage. So be mindful and consume it in moderation.
Unsaturated fat is the healthiest option as it provides several benefits and should be added to our diets.
The Benefits of Healthy Fats
- One of the biggest benefits of incorporating healthy fats into our diets is that they can help improve heart health. Studies have shown that consuming unsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol levels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Incorporating healthy fats into your diet aids in weight management. Adding healthy fats to your diet can help you feel fuller for longer, and reduce the chances of overeating. Additionally, consuming healthy fats can lead to an increase in metabolic rate, resulting in a higher calorie-burning capacity.
- Another benefit of healthy fats is that they can help with brain function. 60% of the brain is made up of fat and half of it is composed of Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that consuming omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish like salmon and in flaxseeds and chia seeds, can help improve memory and overall cognitive function.
Incorporating Healthy Fats into Your Diet
It's easy to incorporate healthy fats into your diet. Start by swapping out unhealthy fats like ghee or hard/ stick margarine/butter (which contains saturated fat) with healthier options like olive oil, canola oil, and soft/ liquid margarine or butter. Incorporate more nuts and seeds into your meals and snacks, and try to eat fatty fish like salmon or tuna at least once a week. You can also add some healthy fats to your smoothies by blending in some nut butter or chia seeds.
Including healthy fats is essential to improve our overall health and well-being but it's also important to remember that fats are still high in calories and moderation is key. Be mindful and enjoy a more balanced and satisfying diet.
Reviewed by Certified Dietitian