A Guide to Choosing Healthy Fats

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Fat and Cholesterol

We all know that fat is bad, but we’re not going to discuss about body fat as in overweight.

Fat in our body is important as the source of energy to protect organs, produce hormones, support cell growth and absorbing vitamins. It’s a combination of different kind of fatty acids.

There are fats produce by foods we eat which are also consider as “good” fat and “bad” fat which may affect the “good” HDL (High Density Lipoproteins) cholesterol and the “bad” LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) cholesterol levels.

The “good” unsaturated fat raises the “good” HDL cholesterol level and lowering the “bad” LDL cholesterol, therefore it’s also lowering the risk of health problems.

The “bad” fat is the saturated fat that can’t break down, get accumulated then stored in the body. Our body already contains saturated fats and actually doesn’t need more of it. Saturated fat is more harmful than cholesterol in foods, because it stimulates the liver to produce more cholesterol.

While unsaturated fat remains as liquid at room temperature, saturated fats become solid at room temperature and called as “solid” fats.

The good unsaturated fats come from fish,nuts, seeds and vegetables. Corn oil, olive oil, soybeans and sunflower oils are unsaturated which also provide vitamin E to our body.

The bad saturated fats come from:

1. Animal sourced foods, such as:
– Dairy products: butter, cheese, cream and milk and cheese.
– Red Meat: beef, lamb, mutton and pork.
– Processed meats: sausages, ham, bacon and salami.

2. Processed foods:
– Deep fried foods.
– Baked foods: biscuits, cakes, croissants,doughnuts, pastries and pies.

3. Plant sourced:
– Cooking oils: palm oil and coconut oil.

There’s another worst kind of fat, the trans fat, which produced when vegetable oils are hydrogenated. A chemical process to enhance the shelf life and taste.

To maintain a healthier lifestyle, choose the unsaturated fat foods instead of saturated and trans fat. Consume lean meats instead of the fatty ones. Drink skim fat free milk instead of full cream milk. Chose low fat plain yoghurt instead of cream, even sour cream is better to avoid. Use oil based dressings and spreads instead of butter, margarine, or cream cheese. Add low fat cheese for your pasta and pizza.

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