Fats are healthy!
Isn’t this a contrasting statement to what we have heard since years that fats are unhealthy, fats lead to obesity and much more? And here I am saying that fats are healthy.
But let me redefine my statement to some fats are healthy instead of the generalized statement saying fats are unhealthy. Still, don’t agree with me?
Well, that’s good. Let me prove why fats are healthy with supporting reasons.
What are healthy fats?
Healthy fats are those fats which actually lowers cholesterol level, boosts up the immunity, help in weight control, promote weight loss, help to maintain blood sugar levels, promote satiety along with other benefits.
In general, unprocessed and natural foods contain fats that are healthy. It helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins- A, D, E and K, keeps your skin and hair cells healthy. These can suppress food in the later part of the day, which will aid in weight loss. A variety of healthy fats also boosts brain functioning.
Unhealthy fats do the opposite. They lead to weight gain, increase cholesterol, chances of other diseases and promote hunger. In general processed foods, chips, baked goods and all of those delicious looking junk foods contain unhealthy fats.
So it is a good idea to stay away from these and these are the number one reason why you are not losing weight.
Types of fats
Unsaturated fats come under the category of healthy fats. And you very well know the benefits of healthy fats. They keep the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels low Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. It is further divided into two types: Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Monosaturated fats are composed of a single carbon-carbon double bond. Pheww! Too much of chemistry. Full of healthy nutrients and being anti-inflammatory these are considered the healthiest of fats. Monounsaturated fats help in increasing the levels of “good” cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease. So you should include monounsaturated fat foods in your diet.
It is composed of two or more carbon-carbon double bonds. These are required by the body, hence considered essential fats. There are further classified into omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are not easily found in foodstuffs.
The unhealthy fats which should be avoided! These are actually liquid fats which have been made solid through a process called hydrogenation. These are partially hydrogenated oils.
It is solid at room temperature. It is dangerous for the cardiovascular system as it increases the LDL cholesterol levels while lowering the HDL cholesterol. Trans fat increases the risk of heart diseases, according to the American Heart Association. It is found in burgers, chips and most of the other junk and processed foods.
A single bonded fat which is solid at room temperature. It is commonly found in dairy products, animals and junk food such as chips, etc.
The study and researches conducted on saturated fats are very conflicting and complicated. Some are of the opinion that it is unhealthy for the heart while some suggest that it does not affect the body negatively or it is neutral.
The American Heart Association is still of the opinion that it raises the “bad” cholesterol levels and recommends consuming it in a limited amount, preferring unsaturated fats over it which are proven to be healthy.
Since there is no proper evidence, I will prefer sticking to the latter. I believe it is better to be safe than sorry. For me, It would be consumed in a limited amount from preferably healthy sources. Another reason to support this could be my personal observation. The junk foods such as chips, burgers, baked goods, fries, creamy toppings, etc contain a high amount of saturated fats in common. And these foods are definitely unhealthy.
Some of the foods listed below contain saturated fats, but these in a moderate amount and that too from healthy sources which won’t affect the positive benefits of the healthy fats contained in these sources. In fact, the Ketogenic diet for weight loss is totally based on eating healthy fats.
You must have understood by now that what you need to do. Increase the consumption of unsaturated fats! It was told that cutting even healthy fats would help us get the body that we want. And this was a big nutrition lie in history.
Unsaturated fats should be your major fat consumption. For this, you need to eat fatty foods that are healthy, high-fat foods that majorly contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. And this would be of great advantage when you trying to lose weight.
So let’s have a look at the various sources of healthy fats that promote weight loss and a healthy body.
1. Olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest of all oils. Among olive oil, it is the least or no processed so its the best. Other varieties of olive oil are healthy as well. Olive is the best cooking oil.
It is rich in monounsaturated fats. 1 Tbsp(14 gram) of olive oil contains 10-grams unsaturated fat and some amount of polyunsaturated and saturated fat. Apart from fats, it is loaded with vitamin E and K and powerful antioxidants.
But, it should be kept in mind that olive oil should be consumed in a limited amount as it is rich in calories;1 Tbsp contains 119 calories. 2-3 Tbsp a day is normal. You can consult your familiar nutritionist regarding this.
It lowers LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and is healthy for the heart. In short, it is beneficial for the cardiovascular system.
This oil increases satiety and is responsible for increasing the hormones in the body which break down fats. Regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil leads to an increased feeling of fullness. It suppresses hunger pangs. Overall, it is beneficial for weight loss.
This fruit is a mine of healthy fats. Yes, avocado is actually a fruit, in case you don’t know. Its green color and such taste do confuse people. Even I used to think that its a veggie, long time back!
Though it is different from other fruits in the sense that it is rich in fats and very low in carbs while other fruits are sources of carbs and hardly contain fats.
100 grams of avocado contains around 15 grams of fat of which majority is unsaturated fats i.e.the healthy ones. Saturated fat content is just 2.1 grams out of the 15 gram. It boasts a high amount of monounsaturated fats(10 g in 15 g total fat) and some amount of polyunsaturated fats(1.8 g in 15 g). It contains a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid which has various health benefits.
It is high in calories, 100 g contains around 160 g calories, so you should keep your overall calorie intake in mind and eat it accordingly.
Being a rich source of fiber, avocados promote satiety along with supplying nutrients to the body. Thus avocado promotes weight loss and lowers belly fat. Well, it is not the only fruit that helps in weight loss.
It lowers LDL cholesterol levels and raises HDL cholesterol, no doubt they are healthy fats.
These are a boon and a must for people who follow a keto diet which is a ‘low carb high fat’ diet.
The food containing most of the nutrients required by the body. But still, there are people who think twice before eating it. They fear the high fat and cholesterol in the yolk. But my friends, about 70% of that fat is unsaturated fat, most of it being monounsaturated fat.
New studies have shown that the cholesterol in yolk does not affect the cholesterol in the blood in a majority of the people. You should consult your doctor if you are a heart patient.
So why fear the food which is loaded with many nutrients in some quantity, be it small. Eggs are very beneficial for the cardiovascular system, apart from controlling high blood sugar levels. It reduces the risk of metabolic problems.
They are rich in protein, a nutrient required for weight loss. It activates the body to use up fat instead of storing it.
Breakfast is the perfect meal to include eggs because it keeps you full and your hunger pangs satisfied for longer along with supplying the nutrients required to activate the body early morning.
Nuts are the simplest and tiniest foods that you can munch on anytime and anywhere. Rich in nutrients, a small amount of it boosts up the body’s energy. These are incredibly healthy.
Nuts are a good source of proteins, healthy fats and fiber. It is very high in fats, but around 55% of the total fat content is monounsaturated fat. 27% is polyunsaturated fat and just 18% is saturated fat. The wonder is even such a high-fat content won’t make you fat.
In fact, people who eat nuts have a lower risk of obesity, heart and various other diseases. No need to mention, they are fat burners. If you are fearing diabetes, eats nuts. The chances of you actually getting diabetes will reduce by 50%.
These are high in calories, so you must consume them accordingly. Even a handful of these will make your stomach feel better. Actually, I can’t even eat more than that at a time.
Sometimes when I am bored, I feel hungry so a small portion of these fills me up along with passing time. A handful a day is enough to lower the bad cholesterol and improve the blood circulation, lining of the arteries.
Among nut, walnuts are one of the best sources of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Avoid packets of nut that are formed into candies, sugared or processed. Nuts in the natural form are the best. Hazelnuts, walnuts, almond, brazil nuts are some of them which you shouldn’t miss out.
5. Chia seeds
The name ‘Chia’ sounds a little childlike to me. I enjoy saying it. Should I call it sounding ‘cute’? I don’t know. Hahaha. These seeds with such an amusing name are very beneficial for you.
Chia seeds are rich in fiber and obviously in fat as well. Not just that, it is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, a heart-healthy unsaturated fat not easily found especially in plant-based foods.
Being rich in fibers and healthy fats, they are weight loss promoters and not just fatty foods.
Apart from fats, they are also packed with a good amount of proteins and minerals.
Sprinkle them in your smoothies and healthy desserts as toppings and get a little nutrition boost. You can even make a drink out of them(though that would be tasteless). Soak them overnight in water and drink it in the morning. This drink of chia seeds soaked in water cools down the body, so don’t miss out on them in hot summers!
Another healthy seeds, these are somewhat similar to chia seeds in nutritional benefits. Even flaxseeds are high in fats, but unlike chia seeds, these are high polyunsaturated fats.
A very rich source of omega 3 fatty acids which work on the body weight and even improves the cardiovascular system. These have antioxidant properties and contain a lot of soluble and insoluble fibers.
7. Full fat yogurt
Full fat yogurt is very healthy and nutritious like other high-fat dairy products. It is better than low-fat yogurt.
The probiotic bacteria contained in it affect your health in a positive way especially gut health.
It improves the digestion of the body and can even help fight heart diseases. These contain a high amount of saturated fats among fats, but it is very healthy.
Make sure to choose yogurt that is the least processed and does not contain added sugar. Flavored yogurts normally contain additives, so choose plain ones.
8. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is an all-rounder healthy oil which is used for cooking, applying on skin and hair as well. Coconut oil is extracted from coconut which means the coconut is very healthy.
Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fats. Ya, saturated fats! I know that earlier I had classified it as fat which should be consumed in a limited amount.
Unlike other foods, coconut and coconut oil consist mostly of medium-chain fatty acids that are metabolized differently and are considered healthy. That is why a large number of the population eating coconut and its oil is still healthy. It increases good cholesterol levels.
The saturated fats contained in it are known for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
The medium-chain fatty acids in it increase the fullness levels of the stomach, makes people eat fewer calories and even increases the calories burned in a day. These are especially helpful in losing belly fat.
Another advantage is coconut oil can be cooked at high temperatures, unlike olive oil.
In the paragraphs above, I told you about the nutritional benefits of olive oil. As olive oil is extracted from olives, there is no doubt that olives are any different.
Again, olives contain healthy fats. Most of the fat is monounsaturated fat ‘oleic acid’ which is good for your heart.
Hydroxytyrosol, a phytonutrient in it is linked with cancer prevention and bone loss reduction.
Olives are high in sodium, so their consumption should be in proportion. 7-10 small olives is an adequate amount.
10. Fatty fish
Salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring are some of the best healthy fat-rich fishes.
Full of Omega 3 fatty acid, they boost heart health, reduces depression and risk of various other common diseases.
And these are rich in DHA and EPA- types of omega 3s which are the most preferred. It feeds the brain and fights chronic diseases apart from suppressing inflammation. Rich in proteins too, they aid in weight management and bodybuilding.
Cheese has to be a great source of proteins, calcium, and vitamins as it is made from milk. A single thick slice of cheese contains the same amount of nutrients as in a glass of milk. And you very well know the nutritional richness of milk.
It reduces the risk of high LDL(bad) cholesterol.
Least processed cheese such as cottage, ricotta is the best. Parmesan cheese is a good source of probiotics, which controls weight.
Cheese is responsible for appetite control and satiation as it is rich in fatty acids.
These blue-green algae, a type of cyanobacteria is rich in omega 3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA. You very well know the benefits of omega 3s by now. These can’t stand belly fat. Pheww!
It contains protein as well, which you know is an important nutrient for weight loss.
Well, you might not be knowing it, but many people take it just for its weight loss benefits.
So don’t assume that fat is unhealthy. Whether it is healthy or unhealthy depends on what type of fat are you eating. Opt for good fats instead of cutting them down. And if you want to have healthy fats which are beneficial for the body, then the foods mentioned above are the best ones!
Which of the above high-fat foods are you planning to include in your diet?
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