When you hear “fat”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Weight gain, obesity, unhealthy, and or “sickening”? You may wonder “isn’t fat bad for my well-being”, but the truth is, fat is a type of nutrient just like carbohydrates, protein, and minerals, your body needs it. Research studies are changing the way we see fats; they are not devil we have made them out to be for generations. Polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats are considered the “good fats”. These fat comes from food and act as a major source of energy that the body needs.
Commonly, when planning to go on a diet or healthy “cleanse”, we are told to cut back on fat intake. We switch to low-fat foods and stick to proteins and vegetables. This shift does not necessarily make us healthier. In fact, chances are, you are cutting back on the good fat that your body needs as well as the harmful ones.
Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats. That means they’re required for normal bodily functions. Since the body is unable to independently produce these fats, we have to take them from food.
So what is the importance of the “good fat” for the body? Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat are needed to build cell membranes, support cell growth, lower cholesterol (LDL) levels in the blood, and helps the body properly absorb vitamins and minerals.
Take Avocado for example. Avocado is a fruit that is loaded with fats. In fact, more than 70% of Avocado is fat, the good fat. The main fat in Avocado Is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. Oleic acid has been shown to reduce inflammation; it has also been shown to have possible beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. Avocados are among the best sources of potassium in human diet, it even contains more potassium than bananas. Even though Avocados are high in fat and calories, one study showed that people who eat avocados tend to weigh less and have less belly fat than other who don’t.
Fatty fish is one of the few animals that most people agree is healthy. Fatty fish includes salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout. Guess what these fishes have in common, fat! These are food that are loaded with the “good-for-you” fats – omega-3 fatty acids and high quality of proteins and other important nutrients for the body. A good substitute for those who do not like fish would be fish oil supplements. Studies have shown that people who eat fish are at a lower risk of mental illnesses like dementia and depression. Other studies have also argued that eating fatty fish or its supplements will reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Other great source of good fats includes olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, and most nuts. Cheese is also considered an incredibly nutritious food. It contains Protein, Vitamin B12, and Calcium – nutrient important to build strong and healthy bones. Whole egg contains more than 70% of the recommended daily cholesterol intake at 210mg; 60% of the calories that come from whole eggs are from fat. Dark chocolate, chia seeds, coconuts, coconut oil, full-fat yogurts are considered nutritious and healthy.
So, next time you are going on a no-carb/low-carb diet, consider the good fats you would be missing out on and the health risks.