What are the good fats you should be getting in your diet

Published:July 18th, 2012

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People are generally confused regarding the intake of fats. The myth about fat intake is that it will increase your total calorie count and eventually the weight. However this is not totally true. Weight gain is not solely due to the amount of your fat intake, but it occurs due to taking more calories than is consumed by the body.

In fact, fats are quite essential for the body and for the physiological functions to be carried out normally. They are the body’s secondary source of energy; first being carbohydrates. Moreover, hormonal metabolism, tissue repair, protection of vital organs of the body and preservation of body heat; is all dependent upon the body’s fat content.

But what are the good fats you should be getting in your diet? Or say, how must you keep a check on your fat intake? Well, these questions might be answered once you know that fats are classified into two types. These are the saturated fats and the unsaturated fats.

Saturated fats: These fats tend to remain solid at room temperatures. A category of saturated fats known as Trans fatty acids are considered to be the bad ones. They are known to raise the cholesterol levels which can lead to heart diseases and stroke. These are the fats which can increase the calorie content of your diet.

Trans fats are found in processed foods, and in some animal and dairy products such as the excess fat on meat, butter, cheese, eggs, full fat yoghurt, etc.

Unsaturated fats: These fats tend to remain liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fatty acids are the ones which you must take in your diet because they are really beneficial to your body and hence termed as “good fats” and as the body cannot synthesize them, you must have them in your diet. They are also termed as “essential fatty acids (EFAs)”.  The various essential fats include: Omega 3 fatty acids, Omega 6 fatty acids and Omega 9 fatty acids. These are the good fats your body must be getting through your diet.

The EFAs are beneficial to the body because of the following reasons:

  • Firstly, they tend to reduce the cholesterol levels and eventually will decrease the risk of developing a coronary heart disease.
  • They regulate blood pressure.
  • Improve energy and stamina.
  • Improve joint functions.
  • Help in functioning of brain and other organs.
  • In fact, every cell, tissue and organ function depends upon the presence of EFAs in the body.

Sources of EFA

So where do you find these EFAs? Well, they are mostly found in vegetable oils and in oily fish. Oily fishes are quite good sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Other good and delicious sources of these fats are avocados, papaya, pumpkin and sesame seeds; and unsalted nuts. Legumes, corn oil, nut oil, virgin olive oil and sunflower oil are also good sources of the essential fats. The nut and seed oil are good sources of omega 6 fatty acid.

Hence, a healthy diet must include all the necessary nutrients and when it comes to fats, your diet must contain most of the unsaturated ones. Cutting down on the fats completely so as to lose weight won’t give any benefit. Instead, try to replace the food products which contain Trans fats with the ones that contain good fats. Choose lean meat and poultry, use virgin olive oils, use liquid oils instead of the solid ones and have a good intake of fruits and vegetables.

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