Fat is an important nutrient in our diets that is essential to a healthy well being. Our body needs fats to perform important tasks such as brain functioning, heart beat, proper functioning of nervous system, digestion of fat soluble vitamins and acting as an insulator and cushion for body viscera. Also it is believed to balance the blood sugar levels.
Daily fat requirements of an adult are met if 20-35% of his calorie intake is from this nutritional group. It is essential to lead a well balanced and healthy life but as the excess of everything is bad so is the case with fat intake. Fat intake is generally associated with many heart diseases and diseases related to obesity which in fact should be attributed to wrong fat intake or excessive fat intake.
As a matter of fact not all fat types are bad and some of them are vital to a healthy well being. Experts divide fats in various groups like saturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, triglycerides, trans-fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6. In broader terms there are two main types of fats:
1. Healthy or Unsaturated Fats: Healthy fats are further divided into monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega 3 and omega 6 fats. These fats take their origin from plants and sea foods. Unsaturated fats are very good and essential to a well balanced diet that is vital to a healthy life style. Main sources of unsaturated fats are corn, soybean, safflower, sesame oil, canola oil, olive oil, nut oils, salmon fish, mackerel fish and herring fish. These are rich in HDL that is very good to our body and are found to reduce the level of cholesterol and LDL that are hazardous to our health.
2. Unhealthy or Saturated Fats: Unhealthy fats are saturated and trans-fats that are responsible for obesity and obesity related diseases along with many heart problems. One should not only limit their use but should in fact stop their intake completely. They are mostly derived from animals but can be made from plants oils by a process called hydrogenation that turns liquid or unsaturated fats into saturated and increases their shelf life but reducing the nutritional value to a great extent. Whole dairy products, cakes, biscuits, sausages and margarines are though tempting but can prove fatal to your health as they contain a huge amount of saturated or unhealthy fats in them.
It is not a wise decision at all to stop fat intake completely to control your weight or in taking a step towards a healthy lifestyle. The bottom line is to look what type of fats you are going to include in your diet. Taking healthy fats and in appropriate amounts is the key to a healthy body and mind.
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