How many of you would debate with me if I say FATS are good for your health? I think most of you would, right? I know for a fact that you will counter me on this and argue with me that fat is one of the major culprits behind heart attacks or high cholesterol levels and also that it has a very big contribution towards the distorted figure which now one is struggling with and trying to get back into shape.
Well, while I agree to an extent, I also disagree at the same time. I do not mean to confuse you. Let me simply explain this to you. All of us are familiar with the popular saying there are two sides to the same coin or the fact that there is good and bad in everything and every aspect. Same applies to fats as well. There are good fats and there are bad fats.
You must be actually wondering when I say there are Good Fats. But, the reality is yes there are good fats. Let us now try and understand what good fats are?
There are three types of fats
1. Unsaturated fats (Good fats)
2. Saturated fats (Bad fats)
3. Trans fats (Bad fats)
v Unsaturated fats/ good fats are divided into 2 types:
1. Polyunsaturated fats – Omega 3 and Omega 6
2. Monounsaturated fats
What makes them good?
- They help to build cell membranes, the exterior covering of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves.
- They’re vital to blood clotting, muscle contraction and relaxation, and inflammation.
- They reduce LDL (Bad cholesterol) more than they lower HDL (Good cholesterol), improving your cholesterol profile. Even better, they also lower triglycerides.
There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: Omega-3 and Omega-6
- Omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids
ü Prevent and even treat heart disease and stroke.
ü Prevent and treat autoimmune diseases such as lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Good sources: flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines
- Omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids.
ü Omega-6 fatty acids also lower the risk for heart disease.
Good sources: vegetable oils as safflower, soybean, sunflower, walnut, and corn oils.
These fats should be used as much as possible along with polyunsaturated fats to replace the bad saturated fats and Trans fats.
Good sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, sesame oil and most nuts.
What makes them bad?
- They increase the acetate fragments in the body which is turn leads to increase in the production of cholesterol.
- They tend to clump together and form deposits in the body along with protein and cholesterol, and get lodged in blood cells and organs leading to many health problems like obesity, heart diseases and cancers of breast and colon.
- They build up in the arteries causing narrowing of the arteries called as atherosclerosis which consequently can lead to major heart problems.
Sources of saturated fats: Cheese, butter, cream, red meat. Saturated fat is also in tropical oils, such as palm oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter.
Trans fats- worst fats
What makes them bad?
- Tran’s fat is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation, which makes the oil less likely to spoil but difficult to digest.
- Raises your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your “good” (HDL) cholesterol.