Although fats are necessary nutrients for our body, not all provide benefits and, on the contrary, can affect our health negatively. Learn in this article the fats that represent benefits and those that do not.
To perform hormonal function, put memory to work, absorb certain nutrients, and even produce a feeling of fullness, the human body requires a certain amount of fat. However, not all types of fat are useful or suitable for performing such tasks.
This nutrient, which also adds flavor to meals, is presented in a healthy way through monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, among which are omega 3 and omega 6, long-chain fatty acids that contribute to the good development of the organism.
On the other hand, there are the so-called unhealthy fats, known as saturated and trans fats, which have a negative impact on cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease and strokes.
Saturated fats are found in: margarine and butter (table and kitchen), mayonnaise, meat products, poultry skin, fatty dairy, processed foods, fried foods, pizzas, fast foods, coconut oil, oil palm, and cocoa butter, among many other foods that, even if they produce fullness, are far from being a significant contribution of vitamins, minerals and nutrients for the body. Therefore, people should avoid eating these foods or, at least, reduce their intake.
Foods with healthy fats
Vegetables, seeds, nuts, and fish, among others, are added to the list of foods high in healthy fats. Get to know some of them here.
Avocado: In addition to being rich in fiber and protein, the avocado contains oleic acid in high proportions, a monounsaturated fatty acid that provides various health benefits, since it acts as an anti-inflammatory and is useful in preventing cancer. Similarly, the consumption of avocado oil prevents the appearance of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes, among other conditions. Avocado is a fruit of plant origin.
Eggs: They are not only a good source of protein, but also a food that provides monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (mostly Omega 3) that benefit the body in different ways. The yolk of an egg contains nutrients such as lutein and lecithin, a substance that helps prevent cardiovascular and nervous system problems. It also has vitamins that dissolve in water: A, D, E, and K.
Fish: Fatty fish contain unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as Omega 3, essential for cardiovascular and brain health. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people eat two servings of fish per week. Types of fish include fresh tuna, herring, salmon, sardine (not canned), and trout.
Nuts: Nuts are rich in healthy fats, proteins, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytosterols — a natural substance that blocks the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines — useful in preventing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Walnuts can be eaten as a snack, added to salads, or used in the preparation of your choice.
Olives: They are a basic element of the so-called Mediterranean diet and help prevent type 2 diabetes. Since olives can be high in sodium, it is recommended that a standard serving of olives does not exceed 5 large or 10 small olives. They can be eaten as a snack, in salads or in a wide variety of recipes.
Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil contains a large amount of monounsaturated fats, which provide multiple benefits to the heart. Its consumption is related to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. It also contains vitamin E, which plays an antioxidant role in the body.
American Heart Association (AHA) [Pdf]. How can I reduce high cholesterol? [published in 2012; accessed September 20, 2019]. Available at: http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@gsa/documents/downloadable/ucm_487867.pdf
Cochrane Library [website]. Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease [published June 10, 2015; accessed September 20, 2019]. Available at: https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD011737/full
American Heart Association (AHA) [Website]. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids [last revised March 23, 2017; accessed September 20, 2019]. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/fish-and-omega-3-fatty-acids