Fat! This word probably rings alarm bells in your mind. But wait, before you completely eliminate it from your diet, here is everything you need to know about fat and how you can stay healthy and fit even when consuming fat.
One of the three main macronutrients, fats (or lipids), is your body’s most concentrated energy source. Dietary fats are made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms and are divided into three subcategories:
Commonly termed as “bad” or “unhealthy” fats, saturated fats are primarily found in animal products like pork, butter, cheese, etc., and in processed foods like pizzas, ice creams, burgers, and cookies. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature. Consuming a diet high in saturated fats increases the LDL (bad) cholesterol in your body. it then increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. High saturated fat intake is also a major factor in weight gain.
Unsaturated fats or “good” and “healthy” fats are further broken down into monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are found in nuts like almonds and cashews, seeds such as sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin, and plant oils like olive oil, peanut oil, and avocado oil. These fats do not go rancid quickly and can withstand high cooking temperatures. Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats. These are found in plant oils like corn oil, and soybean oil and in walnuts, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds. Polyunsaturated fats are also found in certain types of fish. Your body does not produce this kind of fat so, it has to come from your diet! Unsaturated fats raise your HDL (good) cholesterol which is essential for various body functions.
Trans fat is often found in highly processed foods, fried foods, cakes and sweets, frozen meals, etc. A high intake of trans fat is linked to various health issues.
Related - The Truth About Carbohydrates
Why do you need fats in your diet?
Fats or fatty acids are the building blocks of all the cells in your body. They help to determine and strengthen the structural integrity of your cells.
- Your body also needs fat to keep your brain healthy and improve cognitive functions.
- Fats are a source of slow-burning and continuous energy to your body.
- It also aids the absorption of essential fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
- It helps reduce and manage inflammation in the body and also forms a protective lining for your internal organs.
Fat is an essential part of a nutritious diet, and you need to incorporate good fats to keep your heart, brain, and other organs healthy and functioning correctly.
Avoid foods with a high amount of saturated and trans fat and substitute them with foods that have healthier, unsaturated fats.