Fat is an essential part of our diet and nutrition that we cannot live without. Our bodies require small amounts of 'good fat' to function and help prevent diseases. However, most of our present fancied modern diets contain a lot more fat than the body requires.
Too much fat to the body can cause serious health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels etc which leads to heart disease. Like proteins, fat is also essential to human life. Fat provides a cushion to help our vital organs as without fat our organs would be prone to damage. Fat actually acts as an insulator helping us to maintain the right body temperature.
Dietary fats make food tasty as they often improve the texture of food as well as flavour and aroma - they make food more appealing. Fat enables our body to process vitamins A, D, E and K, which are all fat-soluble and vital to good health. Although we need fat, remember that we require only small quantities of the right kind of fats to stay fit and healthy.
Types of Fat and know the right one to choose?
Firstly fats are nutrients that give your energy. Fats have 9 calories in 1 gram.
They help in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K. Fats are widely divided into two type:
1) Saturated 2) Unsaturated
1.) Saturated Fats: This is also known as solid fat. This fat is mainly found in foods such as fat on meat, chicken skin, full fat dairy products, butter etc. Poultry and fish have less saturated fat than red meat. Saturated fat is also found in tropical oils such as coconut oil, palm oil and cocoa butter. Saturated fat can raise your cholesterol.
List of foods having saturated fats:
Eating saturated fats is not a very good idea, but you can perhaps eat fewer foods that are high in saturated fat, or choose options lower in saturated fat or eat foods that are made with unsaturated fats instead of saturated. Nutritionists state that an average man should have no more than 30g saturated fat a day and an average woman should have no more than 20g saturated fat a day.
Trans Fat: This is a fat that has been changed by a process called hydrogenation. This process increases the shelf life of fat and makes the fat harder at room temperature. Harder fat makes crispier crackers and flakier pie crusts. Trans fat can raise your cholesterol hence eat as little trans fat as possible.
Trans fat foods include processed foods, cookies, snack/ junk foods such as chips and crackers, some margarine and salad dressings and foods made with shortening such as cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, breads etc and partially hydrogenated oils. Frozen dinners, fried foods including donuts, French fries, chicken nuggets are also a no as they have trans fat.
2.) Unsaturated Fat: This is the liquid form of fat at room temperature. It is mostly in oils from plants. Eating unsaturated fat is better than saturated fat as it helps in maintaining your cholesterol levels. Unsaturated fats is again divided into Monounsaturated fat and Polyunsaturated fat.
Monounsaturated Fats: This fat which is available in avocado, nuts and vegetable oils such as canola, olive and peanut oil help lower your LDL Cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and keeps HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels high thus lowering the risk of heart disease.
Polyunsaturated Fats: This type of fat is mainly available in vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, sesame, soybean, and corn oils. Polyunsaturated fat is also the main fat found in seafood. Eating polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat may lower LDL cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats are of two types, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods from plants like soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, and flaxseed. Oily fish is the best source of omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids may help protect against coronary heart disease. A healthy diet includes 8 ounces or more of these types of fish a week, averaging 250 mg a day of these omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found mostly in liquid vegetable oils like soybean oil, corn oil, and safflower oil. Omega-6 fatty acid aids in reducing the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies and high blood pressure. Total fat includes saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fat.
Why is Fat important to the body (functions)?
Fat is important to our bodies because:
Tips on cutting down on fat:
To cut down on fat, do follow some of these below listed tips:
Eating a healthy and balanced diet with the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates and fats is the most important factor towards our common mantra: Be Fit. Be Cool!
You could also follow this campaign to gain knowledge on some special features and advices from eminent doctors from AAPI (American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) and also get to know of healthy recipes and diets from popular Chefs that you and your family can relish and enjoy staying fit and strong.
To follow, do click on: https://www.facebook.com/AAPIChildhoodObesity
You could always reach me at my website for amazing and healthy Fat free recipes: www.vahrehvah.com
Enjoy healthy eating and Be Fit. Be Cool!