Contrary to the popular perception that you should totally avoid fatty foods to keep your body weight under check, you cannot be further away from the truth than this. The reality is that not all fats are bad for your health. There are some food sources of healthy fats or good fat sources that must be included into your daily diet because they are healthy fats that your body absolutely needs for some basic functions of your body and to control the onset of certain serious health concerns. On the other hand, there are unhealthy fats, which you have heard plenty about. These should be avoided as much as possible to prevent them from causing harm to your body.
The Channel 46 has collaborated with Dr Anjali Kumar, MBBS, MD & Former CEO at Just Diabetes, who explains the difference between healthy fats and unhealthy fats, and lists 10 healthy fats that you must include in your diet every day.
Difference Between Healthy Fats & Unhealthy Fats
Healthy fats, as the phrase indicates, are the type of fats that are essential for your body because they contribute to your health.
In sharp contrast, unhealthy fats or trans fats raise the levels of unhealthy, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and reduce the levels of healthy, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This increases the risk of serious health conditions of the heart. Hence, it is necessary to control the intake of unsaturated fat sources as much as possible, which are found in abundance in partially hydrogenated oils.
2 Types Of Good Fats
Healthy fats is classified into two categories as below:
1. Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats are known for helping the development and maintenance of your cells. They also play an active role in keeping LDL cholesterol levels under control, reducing the risk of stroke and other heart conditions. Foods like nuts, olive oil, and avocados are rich sources of monounsaturated fats or good fat sources.
2. Polyunsaturated Fats
Polyunsaturated fats can be further divided into omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are acids that human bodies cannot manufacture on their own but its importance is integral to several essential body functions. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and also control blood pressure. While fish, seeds, and nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, certain plant-based oils are enriched with omega-6 fatty acids.
10 Food Sources Of Healthy Fats That Should Be A Part Of Your Daily Diet
Here are 10 food items rich in fats, more specifically good fats, that should make way to your daily diet.
1. Fatty Fish
Oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, and herring are known for being richly packed with omega-3 fatty acids. They are foods high in healthy fat. Apart from helping you to pile up on healthy calories, they are also great for the health of your hair and skin. Do incorporate one or two servings of omega-3 rich fish varieties to maintain good health.
2. Olive Oil
The oil of olive is by far one of the best oils that you can use to cook your food in or drizzle it over your salads. The better the quality of your oil, the healthier will be the food that you cook in it. Place your bets on extra virgin olive oil for receiving maximum health benefits of a rich source of fat. A tablespoon of olive oil is all it takes to pack 15 grams of healthy fats in your body.
Read: 101 Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy Diet
You must have heard a zillion times since childhood that nuts like walnuts develop and improve your brain function. But the list of its benefits is not restricted to just that. These nuts are powered with the goodness of omega-3 fatty acids that are a pro at improving the functioning of your blood and also lowering your bad cholesterol levels. Have a handful of them every day in the raw form or add them to your cereals, meals, and desserts in the roasted form to make the most of the nourishment that these nuts offer.
4. Peanut Butter
It would be safe to say that the yummy peanut butter is everyone’s favourite. The good news is that, unlike most delectable foods that prove to be unhealthy for you, this one is an exception. It is enriched with the goodness of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Not just these, it also comprises fibre and protein as well. Spread it over bread or have a spoonful of it as it is, you should totally include peanut butter in your daily diet for some healthy fats.
Avocados are one of the food items rich in fats that offers just the right kind of calories to your body. So, you can definitely include one avocado a day in your daily diet, be it for your breakfast or meals or even as a snack. Guacamole being one of the most popular recipes with avocado, all you need to do is mash the avocado, spread it on your piece of bread, top it up with some cherry tomatoes which is optional, and then drizzle some olive oil on it. And, ta-da, you’ll be ready with some delicious yet healthy meal or snack within a few minutes. This fruit is not just good for your heart, but for your skin and eyesight as well.
6. Mixed Seeds
Mixed seeds like flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds are replete with proteins, antioxidants, and fibre, apart from omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporate a handful of these in your regular diet as a rich source of fat because they are not only not high in unhealthy calories but also provide your body with much-needed nutrition.
7. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate, yes you read that right! They are one of the healthiest fat rich foods with an abundance of good fats. Hence, they do not add to your body weight unnecessarily. But keep in mind that the emphasis is dark chocolate and not sugar-filled milk chocolate or white chocolate. Go for a dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa because these not just include good fats but antioxidants and other nutrients as well. Two to three pieces of dark chocolate is a must-have in your daily diet.
Unlike other high-fat dairy products that add to unhealthy calories, cheese is rich in protein, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and selenium, among several other nutrients. 28 grams of cheese comprises 6 grams of protein, which is as much as what a glass of milk includes. What’s more, it also does not increase the risk of heart conditions. So, say cheese, and include about 28 grams of this milk product in your everyday diet.
9. Whole Eggs
Whole eggs were once considered to be unhealthy owing to the yolk that was believed to be high in cholesterol and fat. However, new studies reveal a different story. These research show that the cholesterol in whole eggs does not usually affect the cholesterol in your blood negatively. Now considered to be weight loss-friendly food, whole eggs are rich in a host of vitamins and minerals. One of these is choline that is food for your brain and a nutrient that is not readily available in a variety of food sources.
10. Full-Fat Yoghurt
Yet another example of a milk product being essential as a fat source despite being full of fat, yoghurt is loaded with probiotics that improve digestive and heart health and is also great for keeping your body weight under control. You would rather opt for full fat milk and other milk products like yoghurt and eliminate the consumption of sugar in them to control the intake of unhealthy fats.
Now that you’ve understood why you should definitely include as food sources of dietary fat and leave out the unhealthy fats as much as possible, what are you waiting for? Include these fantastic healthy high-fat superfoods to help in the normal functioning of your body and keep some serious health conditions at bay.
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