Bad fats can destroy your diet and cause illnesses. However, good fats help protect your brain, heart and health. Thus, every fat is not harmful. For example, Omega-3, one of the healthy fats, is vitally important for both physical and emotional health. If you add good fats to your nutrition, your mental health and life quality will be affected positively, and you will keep fit. Which fats are healthy? Let's learn about fats before answering this question.
The most important issue is the type of fat that is consumed. Contrary to low-fat diets, new research shows that consumption of the right fats is beneficial for health. When food producers decrease fats in foods, they add refined grains or carbohydrates that are produced by other starches. Our bodies increase the level of blood sugar and insulin to digest these refined carbohydrates and starches quickly. This situation causes weight gain, diabetes, cholesterol and heart and liver diseases.
Focus on healthy fats, not low-fat diets
Instead of a low-fat diet, focus on eating good fats and avoiding bad fats. Fat is the most important part of a healthy diet. For good health, choose unsaturated fats and limit food containing high saturated fats and avoid bad trans fats.
Fats are separated into three groups
Fatty acids are either unsaturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. All fatty acids are chains of carbon atoms that have hydrogen atoms attached to carbon atoms. A saturated fatty acid has the most hydrogen atoms attached to every carbon atom. They are saturated with hydrogen atoms, and all carbons attach to each other with single bonds. Some fatty acids lack a couple of hydrogen atoms in the middle of the chain. These two carbon atoms create a space with double bonds rather than a single bond; thus, it is unsaturated.
Red meat, butter and cheese are rich in saturated fat
Foods contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Much of the fatty acids in foods of animal origin are saturated, while fatty acids in foods of plant origin and some sea foods are monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Even if unsaturated fats are not as harmful as trans fats, they should be consumed carefully. Over consuming these fats can create problems. Red meat, butter, cheese and ice cream are rich in saturated fats.
Saturated fats are necessary because they are the main components of brain cells. A study found that consuming saturated fats decreases the risk of dementia by 36 percent. Saturated fats are also beneficial for the liver and immune system.
Olive, sunflower and hazelnut oil prevents illnesses
Unsaturated fat comes from olives, hazelnuts, sunflowers and seeds. However, fish also have unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are generally just called fats. These fats mostly contain monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats as distinct from saturated fats. Foods such as coconut oil and palm oil, stay liquid at room temperature, but they are rich in saturated fats. Unsaturated fats decrease the risk of having illnesses. Nuts provide good fats. Foods rich in unsaturated and trans fats over produce cholesterol. Cholesterol is produced in the liver with saturated and trans fats. Unsaturated fats decrease the cholesterol level in blood. More importantly, these fats have a great role in decreasing the triglyceride level.
Trans fats are enemies of your health
Trans fats, known as bad fats, increase the risk of illness even if little is consumed. Foods that contain trans fats are processed with hydrogen. Trans fats occlude veins. Occluded heart veins cause heart diseases. According to research by the Harvard Public Health School, females who consume trans fats have a 50 percent higher risk of heart attack than others who consume less. Trans fats do not go bad for a long time at room temperature, which extends shelf life, but is bad for the body, especially veins. Trans fats increase LDL, known as bad cholesterol, decreasing HDL, which is the good cholesterol.
Beneficial fats for health
Olive oil: Research shows that olive oil is helpful for heart diseases, cancer and diabetes. An article in the journal Molecules reported that various components of olive oil protect your body at the cellular level, slowing down aging. Other research indicates sautéing vegetables in olive oil is more delicious and provides more antioxidants then boiled ones.
Fish: Fatty fishes, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardine and albacore, are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids – good fats that help keep your heart healthy and protect against Alzheimer's. The American Heart Association recommends eating two portions of fish per week.
Seeds: Pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds have good fats that decrease cholesterol. Generally, plant fats are oilier than those from animal products. However, vegetable oils are beneficial for heart health.
Egg: Eggs are cheap and perfect protein sources.
Flax seeds: Flax seeds, which are a part of a healthy diet, make skin look beautiful and help decrease inflammation in the body. Make a meal healthier by adding a teaspoon of flaxseed to your salad or grains.
Avocado: Monounsaturated fats in avocado increase brain function and healthy blood flow, which improves brain functional.
Bitter chocolate: Bitter chocolate, a healthy fat source, protects heart health. Researchers from Louisiana State University reported that acids in bitter chocolate protect beneficial bacteria in the intestines and produce anti-inflammatory components for heart health.
Soybeans: Soybeans are rich in proteins and essential fatty acids and contain fiber, vitamins and minerals.