Parathas without butter, oil-free sabzi and diet chips are the staple diet of almost all millennials today. There is a lot of talk about fats being the enemy of good health and weight loss. The low-fat trend has caught so much momentum that nobody has stopped to think why fats were considered to be important in the everyday diet if they cause so many problems. The first and foremost fact to understand and accept here is that all fats are not equal. There are unhealthy fats as well as healthy fat foods. Choosing the right kind of fat is the key to a healthy body.
Good Fats Vs Bad Fats
Fats are very important for the body to function. They are the primary sources of energy. Also, consumption of fats makes it possible for the body to absorb other nutrients. However, not all fats are good for the body. While good fats help in keeping the health parameters in check, bad fats cause a series of health problems like obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart diseases.
Monounsaturated Fats:Monounsaturated fats are the fats that are obtained from plants. These are beneficial for the body as they help in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL). Some commonly found sources of monounsaturated fats are nuts (almonds, cashew nuts, peanuts etc), avocados, sesame and oil.
Polyunsaturated Fats: Polyunsaturated fats are fats that are present in a liquid state at room temperature. These fats are also derived from natural sources, making them beneficial for health. These fats are found in two forms:
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: The Omega 3 fatty acids are found mainly in seafood. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardine and trout, along with the oil derived from them are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. These acids are also found in flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil and soybean oil.
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Omega 6 fatty acids can be found in plant oils like safflower oil and corn oil.
Trans fats: Possibly the worst kind of fat, trans fats are responsible for all the health problems of the modern world. These fats are created by using a process known as hydrogenation. This process is intended at increasing the shelf life of fats, causing them to become extra hard at room temperature. The main source of trans fats is partially hydrogenated oils (PHO). These oils are very commonly used in commercially produced foods like packaged snacks, fast food, fried food and commercial bakery products. Excessive usage of trans fats not only increases bad cholesterol but also decreases the levels of good cholesterol in the body.
Saturated Fats: Fats that remain in a solid state at room temperature are known as saturated fats. Dairy products and meat contain saturated fats. Even though there is saturated fat in seafood and poultry, red meat contains the maximum amount of saturated fat. Tropical oils such as palm and coconut oil also consist of saturated fats. These fat sources can lead to an increase in bad cholesterol. Although saturated fats are not as bad as trans fats, it is recommended to consume these fats in controlled qualities. Experts recommend that only 10% of your daily intake should consist of saturated fats.
Indian Food & Fat
The Indian staple diet of dal, rice, sabzi and roti is a great combination of all essential nutrients. All Indian households make use of ghee and vegetable oils for cooking their food. While the sources of fat in the Indian diet couldn’t be better, one must ensure that the usage of fat is judicious. Using too much ghee, oil and butter for food preparation can become a cause of concern.
In current times, the majority of the Indian population is dealing with obesity and lifestyle-related diseases. A lot of these problems have resulted from the uncontrolled consumption of trans fats. We are getting influenced by the west and indulging in fast foods in very large quantities. Our street foods are also fried in commercially mass-produced palm oil because it is cheap. Regular consumption of trans fats is the reason for the increasing number of heart diseases and diabetes in the country.
10 Ways To Include Healthy Fat Foods In Your Daily Diet
Using healthy fats in your daily diet is no rocket science. A small amount of these healthy fat foods not only increases the nutritional content of the food but also adds a ton of flavour and taste to the dish. A lot of these tips allow you to add your daily dose of fat to an already cooked dish, so you don’t have to worry about cooking a new dish altogether. Some easy ways to add healthy fats to your everyday meals are:
1. Add Healthy Fats To Tea Or Coffee
The bulletproof tea/coffee trend has become very popular ever since the keto diet became popular. Adding a teaspoon of ghee or butter to your everyday cup of tea or coffee is probably the easiest way to get that daily dose of good fat for your body.
2. Use Healthy Fats For Cooking
Cooking your everyday food in good fats is another great way to incorporate healthy fat foods into your daily diet. You can choose amongst a wide array of healthy oils like peanut oil, sesame oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil and canola oil. Small amounts of ghee or grass-fed butter are also good options for cooking with.
3. Add Healthy Fat Foods To Your Salads
Salads are a healthy alternative to a heavy meal. However, the problem with most salads is that one begins to feel hungry again soon after eating a salad. Adding healthy fat foods like nuts, seafood, avocado, cheese and olive oil to your salad is perfect because it turns a regular salad into a filling meal and helps in giving the body the required amount of good fats for the day.
4. Use Healthy Fats As Dressing
Using oils containing good fats as a base for salad dressings is an efficient and economic way to give your body the nutrition it needs. Instead of buying ready-made dressing from the store which might contain trans fats, you can make your simple but delicious dressing by mixing together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
5. Snack On Nuts
Finding healthy snacks when you feel peckish at tea time is a big challenge. Make nuts your go-to snacks as they contain healthy fats and can keep you full for longer. You can also get creative and mix your choice of nuts for a fulfilling evening snack.
6. Indulge In Organ Meats
Eating organ meats in small quantities can be a great way to get your regular dose of healthy fats. We have been conditioned to stay away from organ meats like the brain, heart, intestine and liver from chicken and mutton due to their high-fat content. As long as it is done occasionally, there is no harm in enjoying the yummy kaleji or gurda.
7. Enjoy A Liquid Breakfast
Smoothies are the perfect breakfast option for people who are pressed for time in the mornings. You can conveniently choose amongst healthy fat foods like avocados, nuts, milk, yogurt and nut butters to add to your smoothies. These fatty foods make the smoothie taste delicious and also help you in starting your day energetically.
8. Make Everything Delicious With Cheese
Who doesn’t love cheese? Cheese is amongst the healthy fat foods which can be used in multiple ways in your daily diet. You can add it to your sandwich, snack on a slice of cheese, turn it into a dip or garnish your food with it. Gouda and cheddar are amongst the healthiest varieties of cheese to use due to their low carbohydrate content.
9. Relish Your Fish
Regular consumption of fish that is high in Omega 3 fatty acids is a good way to include healthy fat foods in your diet. People who like seafood now have more reason to indulge in fish like salmon, trout, mackerel and sardine.
10. Use Healthy Fat Foods As Garnish
Using good fats like olives, cheese or avocados to garnish your food is like adding cherry to a cake. Even small quantities of these food items can add a lot of taste to the dish, while helping you to complete your macronutrient intake for the day.
Our ancestors believed that everyone should include ghee in their diet, even if they have to take loan to do so. This is how important fats are considered to be in Indian tradition. Ayurveda also recognizes the amazing benefits of ghee, which is now taking the western world by storm. Fats are amazing energy-giving macromolecules that do so much for our bodies. All you have to do is choose healthy fat foods over trans fats and you can enjoy delicious meals without having to worry about them causing any harm to your body.