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Sunday, January 3, 2021

Importance of Healthy Fats in Our Daily Diet

Importance of Healthy Fats in Our Daily Diet

 


Overview

 

Do you know the importance of healthy fat which is present in our daily diet? Is it a friend or foe of us? What is the importance of dietary fat? What are good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL)?

Importance of Healthy Fat
Importance of Healthy Fat


Ok! Today discuss all of them and many more.

Fat is an important biomolecule for living organisms. It takes part in structural as well as functional mechanisms in the body.

Most of the part of our brain is also made up of this.

Scientifically, body fat means the adipose tissues present in our body with several biological functions.

This macronutrient is a significant source of energy. One gram of fat provides 9 kcal, which is higher than protein, and carbs.

The nutritive benefits of healthy fat are quite important.

It facilitates the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamin A, D, E, and K as well as carotenoids.

Although, fat is a potent source of essential fatty acids, which our body cannot make itself. So, it is an essential part of our daily diet.

When we talk about dietary fat, it means the fat content that we intake from several types of foods. It may be our friend or foe.

Depending on the amounts and the activity, fat can be healthy or harmful to us. Unhealthy fat can cause serious health issues.

Generally, healthy fat may be unsaturated and provides several heart-friendly benefits. It is known as good fat.

Whether saturated fat is healthy or not, it has many conflicts.

According to health experts, saturated fat is healthy in a certain amount but harmful due to excess consumption.

On the other hand, trans fat is always harmful. It increases heart diseases, obesity and other health issues and is known as bad fat.


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Fat Vs Cholesterol

 

Cholesterol is another form of lipid, waxy. Our body needs cholesterol to build cells, and produce hormones.

It is not inherently bad, but too much cholesterol in the body and dirt induces various health problems.

Dietary fat and cholesterol, are essential for our health, but maintaining a balance between them is too important.

Maintaining proper biological functions, blood cholesterol makes special transport substances known as a lipoprotein.

Lipoproteins are two types, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

The higher LDL levels in the blood lead to plaque deposition in the blood vessels and promote atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke etc.

This is why LDL is regarded as bad cholesterol.

On the other hand, HDL absorbs cholesterol from the blood and carries it back to the liver and then the liver flushes out from the body.

The higher levels of HDL reduce the chances of heart diseases. So, it is known as good cholesterol.

Fat is important to liberate energy, protect body organs, and produce important hormones (steroid hormones).

So, we need to consume more healthy fat in our daily diet instead of harmful fat.


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Importance Of Dietary Fat

 

Dietary fat has a significant role in heart health, vascular system, bodyweight management, etc.

It can be 3 main types, unsaturated, saturated, and trans fat.

The unsaturated fat is further divided into 2 subcategories, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and monounsaturated fatty acids.

Let’s discuss all of these. 

 

1. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs)

PUFAs are the most common and healthy fat with several health benefits.

Importance of Healthy Fat
PUFAs

The fat molecules have a double bond in their molecular structure is called unsaturated fat. If it has more than one double bond, it is called PUFA.

They are usually liquid at room temperature and regarded as “oils”.

Polyunsaturated fat can be found mostly in nuts, seeds, fatty fish, seed oils, and seafood.

The two major classes of polyunsaturated fats that provide massive health benefits are omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

These omega fats are considered essential fatty acids because our bodies cannot produce them. Therefore, we have to get them from our daily diet.

Further two types of omega 3 fats are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

DHA is found in fish such as wild salmon, mackerel, sardines and in certain algae. It is also found in smaller amounts in grass-fed beef and pasteurized eggs.

Other PUFA-rich foods are walnuts, sunflower seeds, canola oil, olive oil, chia seeds, soybeans, etc.

Another form of omega 3 fat found in plants is called α-linolenic acid (ALA). When ALA is converted to EPA and DHA, it is utilized by our cells.

The health benefits of polyunsaturated fats will surprise you.

Importance of Healthy Fat
Health Benefits of PUFAs


EPA acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, while DHA is the most important and abundant structural component of a healthy brain.

Omega 3s increase memory power as well as reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc. neurodegenerative diseases.

They also promote cardiac health by reducing triglyceride levels and arterial plaque formation.

Additionally, omega 6 fatty acids control blood sugar and reduce the risk of diabetes.

According to health experts, omega 3 and omega 6, are both fatty acids that control blood pressure and protect us from various acute and chronic heart diseases.



Note: Excess amount of healthy fats (PUFA) produces free radicals by the oxidation process in the presence of oxygen. Free radicals are too much harmful. It can cause cancer and other oxidative degradation.

On the other hand, excess storage of fats (even healthy fats) in the body can cause overweight problems.



2. Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs)

After PUFAs, monounsaturated fatty acids are vital for us.

They contain one double bond in their molecular structure, and like PUFAs, they are liquid at room temperature.

Importance of Healthy Fat
MUFAs


The most common MUFA is oleic acid, followed by palmitic acid, vaccenic acid, etc.

MUFAs produce the protecting coat of neurons called the myelin sheath, which boosts the speed of neurotransmission.

These fatty acids are more chemically stable than PUFAs and do not undergo oxidation.

Generally, MUFA-rich foods are extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and some nuts such as almonds, macadamia, cashew, etc.

Like PUFAs, monosaturated fats also provide several health benefits.

When we talk about healthy fat for weight loss, these unsaturated fatty acids exert massive results.

MUFAs in the diet at moderate to high amounts can reduce calorie intake and help to lose weight.

On the other hand, they can lower blood pressure as well as lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, and increase good cholesterol (HDL).

So, MUFA in the daily diet reduces the risk of various cardiac problems.

They play an important role in controlling blood sugar and reducing insulin resistance.

Additionally, anti-inflammatory MUFA in a significant amount in the daily diet can reduce breast and prostate cancer.

Importance of Healthy Fat
Health Benefits of MUFAs


3. Saturated Fat Is Healthy Or Not!

When we talk about saturated fat as a healthy option, then there are many conflicts present about it.

This fat is important for all living cells. The maximum part of the cell membrane is made of saturated fats. It provides structural support to the cell membranes.

Saturated fat is the precursor of steroidal hormones and hormone-like secretory substances.

It is the most abundant fat in human breast milk and is ideal for a neonate.

Unlike unsaturated fats, it is solid at room temperature.

The most common saturated fats present in the normal diet are stearic acid, lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, etc.

Saturated fat-rich foods are butter, cheese, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil, etc.

We already mentioned the significant roles of saturated fat in the living cells. But excess consumption can lead to various health issues.

A higher amount of saturated fat in the daily diet increases the bad cholesterol levels as well as the risk of cardiac diseases, such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, etc.

Additionally, saturated fat can promote body weight and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

 

4. Beware Of Trans Fat

Generally, trans fats are not considered healthy fats.

They are structurally unsaturated but sometimes act like saturated fat. This type of dietary fat may be natural or synthetic (or artificial).

Importance of Healthy Fat
Unhealthy Trans-fat


The common natural trans fat is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) present in dairy products (such as full-fat milk) and meat of grass-fed animals, such as mutton, beef, etc.

Natural trans fats may be healthy for our vascular system and reduce the risk of cancer under proper metabolism.

However, the artificial trans-fat present in fast foods, frozen processed foods, and margarine is notoriously unhealthy.

Packaged snacks, pizza, doughnuts, fried chicken, and baked goods are full of trans fat.  

According to research, this artificial unhealthy fat content lowers good cholesterol (HDL) and increases bad cholesterol (LDL) comparatively, which leads to cardiac issues.

It is highly inflammatory and triggers insulin resistance as well as promotes type 2 diabetes.

Too many trans-fats in your daily diet instead of healthy fat may reduce memory power significantly and increase the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

It is regarded as brain-damaging food, and harmful to us.

 

 

Now, The Conclusion


As we all know, fat is an important component of all living organisms. Without fat, the brain and other parts of the body cannot function properly.

So, the presence of healthy fat in the regular diet is too important to everyone.

But it must be the PUFAs and MUFAs, sometimes saturated fats may be present, but trans fats are strictly prohibited for a healthy diet.

For a healthy life and to prevent various fatal heart and other diseases, it is our responsibility to stick with those foods containing unsaturated fats.

 

Thank You.

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