Fats are a much-maligned nutrient that thousands of people have tried to reduce or eliminate from their diets. However, a growing body of evidence is pointing towards fats playing an important role in our health. Here we make the case for fats, and identify which kinds of food contain healthy fats that we can incorporate into our meals for our wellbeing!
Dietary fats – Good or Bad?
Dietary fats are by nature organic molecules composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms, and they can be categorized as saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Each of these can affect our bodies in different ways.
Studies have come up with these general guidelines on the effects of fats on our health:
Fats that are derived from unprocessed food, such as fatty fish and avocado, are largely considered good for us. On the other hand, fat from processed food like biscuits and chips are usually detrimental to health, thus should be avoided where possible.
In this article, we focus on fats from healthy sources, and what benefits they carry.
Why we need fats
Despite the negative connotation often placed on fats, they are in fact crucial to our bodies, serving vital functions such as:
1) Promoting heart health;
2) Stimulating metabolism;
3) Maintaining a healthy brain;
4) Helping in hormones, cells and enzymes production;
5) Helping us stay satiated after meals so we don’t overeat.
Certain studies have also suggested that eating enough fats can even help prevent and treat depression.
Adding more good fats to your diet
Now that we have established how fats bring about many benefits for your body, let’s take a look at some of the most healthy sources of fat that you can easily include into your regular diet.
1) Whole eggs
Tasty and nutritious, eggs contain healthy fats that are mainly found in the yolk, so consume them whole to reap their full goodness.
2) Fatty fish
As opposed to red meat which is loaded with saturated fats, fatty or oily fish such as salmon and sardines provide omega-3 fatty acids that do a whole lot of good for your brain, lungs and heart.
3) Full-fat yogurt
Research has found that those who eat full-fat yogurt are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease of type 2 diabetes compared to those who consume low-fat yogurt. What’s more, they were even observed to experience less weight gain!
4) Dark chocolate
Good-quality dark chocolate with at least 70 per cent cacao content is found to be packed with antioxidants and nutrients, and also contains oleic acid, a good fat that is healthy for the heart. However, dark chocolate carries considerable amounts of sugar, so it should be eaten in moderation.
Avocados are known for their monounsaturated fat content and are considered a superfood popular for their many health benefits, including lowering cholestrol levels and controlling blood sugar.
6) Nuts and seeds
Besides being nutrient-rich, nuts and seeds also contain unsaturated fats that provide protection against heart disease.
7) Extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil contains high amounts of monounsaturated fats, making it one of the healthiest oils you can use for cooking.