Fat is the most vilified nutrient in our diet. For years, you’ve been urged to eliminate it from your diet. But if switching to low-fat foods also didn’t make you healthier, it is probably because you cut back on healthy fats as well as the unhealthy ones. Confused? This ought to make it clear...
Why Do We Need Fat?
Not all fats are bad for our body. In fact, our body needs fat to produce energy. Fat helps the body absorb vitamins and minerals. They are needed to build the exterior of each cell and the sheaths surrounding each nerve. Fat is essential for blood clotting and muscle movement as well. Yet, some fats are better than others.
Why Some Fats Are Better Than Others?
All foods and oils contain a mixture of fatty acids but the predominant type of fat they contain determines whether they are good or bad. If the predominant type of fat in a food is trans fat or saturated fat, then it is bad for you, and if it is monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat that dominate the food, then it is considered healthy. Eating foods with trans and saturated fats increases the low-density lipoprotein in our body which increases the risks of cardiovascular diseases, while eating good fat keeps our heart healthy by maintaining the level of high-density lipoprotein in the body.
Here are seven good fat foods that we must include in our diet, as told by nutritionist Shikha A Sharma.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The discovery that monounsaturated fats could be healthy first came from the Seven Countries Study during the 1960s. The study discovered that mediterraneans enjoyed a low rate of heart diseases despite having a high fat diet. This is because their food was high in unsaturated fats. Olive oil, which is produced primarily in the region, is a rich source of unsaturated fats. It is loaded with powerful antioxidants and contains vitamin E and K.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is the richest source of unsaturated fats on the planet. It comprises 90 per cent unsaturated fats. Coconut oil aids in facilitating the metabolism of the body and is also associated with losing belly fat.
3. Chia Seeds
Contrary to popular belief, Chia seeds are an excellent source of fat. Most of the calories in Chia seeds comes from the Omega-3 fatty acids in them. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce the harmful LDL levels in our blood and keeping our heart healthy by maintaining the blood pressure.
Nuts are not only a good source of essential fatty acids but also loaded with vitamin E, magnesium and fibre. Almost all the calories in nuts come from its healthy fat content. They are known to keep obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes at bay.
5. Fatty Fish
Be it a trout, salmon, mackerel or sardine fatty fishes are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They also have a high protein content and are known to lower the risk of cardiovascular, depression, dementia and other common diseases. If you don’t eat fish then consuming fish oil supplement is equally healthy.
6. Whole Eggs
Even though eggs are high in cholesterol and fat, they are considered healthy because most of this cholesterol doesn’t affect the cholesterol in our blood. What’s left is a nutrient-dense food which is full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and protein. Most of their calories come from fats. They are also considered a weight-loss friendly food and an essential item on every breakfast table.
Avocados are different than most fruits as unlike most fruits which are rich in carbs, avocados contain a high fat content. Infact, by calorie count they are higher than most animal foods. Avocados, like olive oil, are rich in monounsaturated fats and their regular intake can obstruct rising LDL in the body.