Despite its bad image, fat or oil made up of fatty acids has many important functions in our body. It stores and provides energy when food intake is limited, aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamin A, D, E and K).Fat is also a building block for hormones and cell membranes.
Fats also help the body use carbohydrates and proteins in a more efficient manner.
Healthy Fat Choices
All fats are not created equal. Unsaturated fat is considered 'healthy' fat and saturated fat is a 'bad' fat.
Monounsaturated fats & polyunsaturated fats – considered as good fat helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Good sources of these are fish, flax seeds, walnuts, eggs, olive & canola oil, sunflower, corn and soybean oil, nuts and avocados.
Saturated and Trans fat are considered 'bad' fats as they can increase bad or LDL cholesterol levels It is recommended to eat less saturated and trans fats. Saturated fat is mostly found in animal products and products with high amounts of dairy fat like butter, cheese and cream. While Trans-fat is found mostly in products containing hydrogenated vegetable oils.
How Much Fat Do you need
The amount of fat a person needs depends on age, sex, body size and composition, activity level, family history and health status. It is recommended to reduce the amount of saturated and Trans fats in your diet, and consume more unsaturated & omega 3 fat. The recommended dietary guideline by WHO/FAO suggests 15 to 30% of your total energy should come from fat. Though you need to include fat in your diet, but it's important to choose the right amount and the right kind of fat. If you're getting most of your fat from lean meats, fish, and heart-healthy oils, you've already made fat your friend!
Choose Your Fats Wisely
- Keep Trans-fat consumption as low as possible by limiting foods that contain them. Choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol for a healthy diet
- Cook and bake with vegetable oils instead of solid fats. Choose oils that are higher in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (e.g. canola oil and olive oil), and avoid oils that are higher in saturated fats (e.g. coconut, palm and palm kernel oils).
- Try baking, steaming, grilling or broiling instead of frying.
- Eat foods that contain healthier fats, such as nuts (e.g. walnuts and almonds), seeds (e.g. sunflower and pumpkin), olives etc.
- Get plenty of foods that are naturally low in fat, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Use the Nutrition Facts Label & nutrition information available in many fast food or chain restaurants as your tool for reducing trans-fat, saturated fats and cholesterol in your diet – which may help in keeping you healthy.
Stay happy, Stay healthy. Also make sure to keep a tab on your health with regular home health monitoring.