As a generation, we have become more conscious of our dietary choices and are always on the lookout for healthy alternatives. A low-fat diet is one of the most sought after options when it comes to a healthy diet. However, this switch does not do much for our health as we tend to miss out on some very essential fats for our body. Research suggests that fat, just like protein and carbohydrates is a macronutrient that is crucial for the functioning of a healthy heart, brain, aids the absorption of certain vitamins and helps fuel the body with optimum energy. So, let’s ward off this perpetual conception of not including fat to a healthy diet plan, and learn more about which fats to opt for.
Relying on the latest food trends without an in-depth understanding of the benefits and eliminating fats completely may not be as healthy as it sounds. Let’s understand the role of good fats over bad fats in our body and indulge in a healthy diet.
Opting Good Fats over Bad Fats
Fats can be categorized as - Good and Bad. Bad fats comprise of artificial trans fats and commercial saturated fats which are accountable for piling up the serum cholesterol, proliferating fat deposits around the waistline and creating gazillions of health problems while Good fats do just the opposite. Mono-saturated fats, natural saturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats fall under the category of Good fats, and should ideally feature in our diets in one form or the other.
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as “good fats” because they are good for the heart, cholesterol level, and overall health. These fats can help to:
- Lower the occurrence of heart disease and stroke.
- Lower the LDL (Bad cholesterol) levels, while increasing HDL (good cholesterol).
- Maintains normal heart rhythms.
- Lower the level of triglycerides which are associated with heart disease and reduces inflammation.
- Maintains blood pressure.
- Prevent the hardening and narrowing of the arteries.
Few Examples of Good Fat – Olive oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil, Nuts (almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, walnut), Peanut butter, Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds, Flaxseed, Fatty fish, fish oil, Soybean, Soymilk, and Tofu.
Artificial Trans-fats or Bad Fats are considered to be most dangerous for health. It not only increases bad cholesterol but also lowers the level of good cholesterol. Intake of Artificial trans-fats can lead to inflammation, which results in to heart disease, stroke, and other chronic conditions. It also contributes to insulin resistance, which increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Any amount of artificial trans-fat is considered unhealthy, so one should aim to eliminate it from the diet completely.
Few Examples of Bad Fat - pastries, cookies, muffins, cakes, pizza, packaged snack foods (crackers, ready-to-eat popcorn, chips), Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken)
Healthier fats are an important part of the diet, but it’s still crucial to moderate the consumption because all fats are high in calories and uncontrolled intake of anything leads to bad health. Thus, it’s a good idea to incorporate foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in limitation.