Fats are an important component of your diet. The body consumes it in several forms, like unsaturated fats, saturated fats and trans fat, and they all have different effects, good as well as bad. While unsaturated fat has a positive effect generally obtained through vegetarian diets, saturated and trans fat comes from meat and packaged foods. Unsaturated fats are very important for growth and overall development of the body and one should know how to determine it among other fat-providing food. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, unlike hard, waxy saturated fats. Fats are quite defamed because of their effect on body weight, and arterial problems which lead to heart strokes. Unsaturated fats are also divided into subtypes of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids — they modestly lower LDL levels in the body which is bad cholesterol and work on increasing HDL cholesterol. PUFA’s (polyunsaturated fatty acids) which is mainly omega-6 acids along with omega-3 is observed to reduce triglyceride levels in the body effectively.
Unsaturated Fat Foods-
Avocados are good fruits which have a rich amount of monounsaturated fats. It has a composition of 77% fat which is higher than that of fat animal proportions. They can generally be found in Central America and are an important source for various nutrients. They are among the rare fruits which are high on fat, but it doesn’t necessarily add to weight gain because it has mostly monounsaturated fatty acids which are good for the body. The main source is the oleic acid which is also found in olive oil. They have anti-inflammatory properties and can be useful to fix heart-related problems. Moreover, they can make you feel energetic for a longer period such that hunger pangs are avoided. Hence, it’s a broken myth that avocados can lead to weight gain. Rather, they are a very good option for weight loss diet plans. They are good for weight maintenance, reduction of extra appetite and increase burning of extra fat. They have a smooth flavour that can be added to several recipes and are alternative ingredients to some popular recipes. They can be eaten raw with sprinkled spices as breakfast and also be cooked or baked for some amazing delicacies as fulfilling meals. Thus, the best nutrients with the perfect taste can easily be a part of your daily diet.
Avarieties of nuts are available in the market. These are among the healthiest options for unsaturated fats and also the protein requirements of the body. Assortments of nuts are available in the market like almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts and Macadamia nuts. It’s better to choose for salted uncooked variations than those that are cooked in unhealthy trans fat oil. Cashews, pecans and pistachios are also tasty and popular options for good fat but should be consumed in limited amounts. Cashews are shown to increase antioxidant potential of the diet. They can increase blood lipid level and can reduce blood sugar. These nuts are widely used in desserts as well, increasing the otherwise unhealthy aspects of high sugar and high gluten meal. Brazil nuts are especially eaten for the high selenium content; they reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels in the body. They can be eaten anytime as easy readymade snacks and can be healthier alternatives to processed food snacks like potato chips and candy bars which are high on bad cholesterol. However, be careful of the amount of consumption. Nut allergic patients should strictly avoid them.
Olive trees are grown abundantly in Mediterranean nations and also some Asian countries with the temperate environment. Olives are available in several varieties in colours of black, yellow and green, and are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. They also contain other nutrients with properties that enhance skin and eye benefits. They have anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, which make them important foods to be included in your diet. They are usually processed after picking from trees to remove their intrinsic bitterness. It’s important that olives are processed carefully to keep their benefits intact. Olive oils are recommended over other vegetable oils for these extra benefits and good cholesterol. Olive oil is what makes a good “Mediterranean diet” retain its good reputation for health.
Among non-vegetarian foods, fishes are the lightest on your health providing some very important nutrients. Different fishes have different effects on health, and hence, one must be careful of what one chooses to buy. Different varieties of fatty fishes are available in the market, which is high on taste value along with good cholesterol. Fishes are usually consumed for PUFAs like omega-3 acids which are very beneficial for organ developments in the body especially good for the heart. Species like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and anchovy are among the popular healthy options. Healthier methods to cook fishes are to grill or poach them instead of frying which will add trans fat and calories to the diet. Sardines are among the fishes for omega-3 and are popularly available in tinned cans with salt. The salt content should be checked for regular consumption. Salmons are among the best oily fishes and are considered very popular for its delicious recipes.
Seeds are other easy readymade snacks just like nuts having similar benefits on the body. They are also great sources of proteins and fibre and also other vitamins important for normal functioning of the body. Sesame seeds are high on monounsaturated fats with many other nutrients also available in oil form. Pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds are abundant in polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fat seeds can be taken on the go by sprinkling some on your meal, salads and other light snacks. They can be baked as well as be eaten as dry fruits. One should, however, look out for extra salt content in some seeds and their packaging.
6. Vegetable oils–
Vegetable oils are extracted from seeds and fruits and should be carefully chosen such that they have more unsaturated than saturated fatty acids. They can be used as alternatives to butter and coconut oil which are heavier on calories. These oils are used for cooking and can also be applied as dressings to salads and dips to eat beside the meal. Canola, grapeseed, sunflower oils and sesame seed oils are important crushed seed oils for enriching PUFAs.
These have a satisfactory balance of unsaturated and saturated fats such that they are usually beneficial for the body. They are among the best sources of protein, and the yolk part contains an abundance of cholesterols, nutrients and vitamins. They are more fulfilling than other food products and have appetite-reducing properties. Hence, they can be considered as weight loss friendly foods than the otherwise. They are various healthy ways to consume eggs; it is ideal to consume in the boiled state since frying can add to the calories and trans fat content which is harmful to health.
8. Dark Chocolate–
Researches have shown that dark chocolate contains anti-oxidant flavonoids and nutrients which have good effects on the body. It also has a good content of monounsaturated fats. It has a good amount of good fat as well as calories but also has properties of several nutrients. Experiments and observations have established that dark chocolate works effectively against several heart diseases. The presence of cocoa is what gives it the nutrients. Milk chocolates are hence higher on fat and more harmful. However, processing adds several other calories to it such that it should be consumed only in limited amounts. Thus, sweet tooth babies should not be too excited as large quantities of any chocolate can anyways be harmful.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids–
PUFAs are good agents to reduce LDL cholesterol from the body and raising HDL cholesterol. Cholesterols are fat, waxy substances that can accumulate in the arteries, increasing risks of high arterial pressure and also heart strokes. The main difference between the two types of unsaturated fats is the number of double bonds between molecules. Monounsaturated fats have only one double bond between molecules while polyunsaturated fats have two or more double bonds in the structure. Nonetheless, both have similar properties and are equally important for the body. Polyunsaturated fats are the essential fats which cannot be self-generated in the body and thus has to be acquired through external means. It lowers triglyceride levels in the body and has the best effects on the heart and cardiac muscles. Marine foods are best providers of PUFAs. The main sources of monounsaturated fats are usually the seeds, nuts and their oils. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are the main PUFAs that helpful in increasing good cholesterol against bad ones. They have the properties to reduce the risk of diabetes, lower blood pressure and control blood sugar. The balance between the intakes of these fats should be maintained for best effects in the body.
The amount of fat intake should be limited to 25% to 30% including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. All fats contain nine calories per gram. Extra intake can lead to weight gain which can lead to several other diseases and problems which should be carefully avoided. The fat amount in daily foods should be checked before consumption so that they don’t unknowingly lead to any problems in future. Reading nutrition labels is a good habit to keep a tab on what calories you are taking with each serving of your food. The list of options provided can not only give you health benefits but also a slim and trim body figure if taken within limitations.