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Sunday, January 3, 2021

Importance of Healthy Fats in Our Daily Diet

Importance of Healthy Fats in Our Daily Diet




Do you know the importance of healthy fats which present in our daily diet? Are they friend or foe of us? What are the health benefits of these dietary fats? What are good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL)?

Importance of Healthy Fats
Importance of Healthy Fats

Ok! Today discuss all of them and many more.

Fats are important biomolecules for living lives. They take part in structural and functional mechanisms in the body. Scientifically, body fat means the adipose tissues present in the body with several biological functions.

The nutritive benefits of good fats are quite important. They promote facilitate absorption of fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamin-A, D, E, K as well as carotenoids. The maximum part of our brain also made of fats.

When we talking about dietary fats, it means the fat content that we intake from several types of foods. These micronutrients provide energy to the body. On the other hand, excess calories in the body convert to fat.

These fats may be our friends or foes. Depending on the amounts and their activity, they may be healthy or unhealthy. Unhealthy fats can cause significant health issues. 

The healthy fats may be unsaturated (contains double bond in the molecular structure), generally, they are heart and health healthy and known as good fats.

However, saturated (no double bond is present) are healthy or not, it has many conflicts. The saturated fats are healthy in a certain amount, but harmful due to excess consumption.

Although, trans-fats are always unhealthy. They increase heart diseases, obesity and other health issues and known as bad fats.


Fat vs. Cholesterol


Cholesterol is another form of lipid, same as fats. Dietary fats, as well as cholesterol, are essential for our health, but maintain a balance between them is too important.

Any imbalance between fat content and cholesterol can lead to several diseases.

Maintaining proper biological functions, blood cholesterol makes special transport substances known as lipoprotein. Lipoproteins are two types, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

The higher LDL levels with lower HDL levels in the blood lead to plaque deposition in the blood vessels (arteries) and promotes atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke etc. This is why LDL called bad cholesterol.

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 called good cholesterol.

On the other hand, fats are important to liberate energy, protecting body organs and producing important hormones (steroid hormones). In this case, healthy fats should be taken instead of bad fats.



Healthy Fats in the Regular Diet


Dietary fats have a significant role in heart health, vascular system, bodyweight management etc. So, it is important to consume healthy fats through a regular diet.

However, unhealthy trans-fats and the excess amount of saturated fats consumption can be dangerous. They lead to cardiac problems, obesity, inflammation and type-II diabetes.

So, we are mentioning the friendly effects of unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA and MUFA) and the harmful effects of saturated as well as trans-fat.


1. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs)

PUFAs are the most common and healthy fats with various health benefits.

Importance of Healthy Fats

As we know, the fat molecules have a double bond in their molecular structure is called unsaturated fat, if it has more than one double bond, it’s called Polyunsaturated fat. They are usually liquid at room temperature and regarded as “oils”.

Polyunsaturated fat can be found mostly in nuts, seeds, fatty fishes, 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 body cannot produce them.

Therefore, we have to get them from the daily diet. The omega-3 fats are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are the healthy fats found in fishes such as wild salmon, mackerel, and sardines and in certain algae.

They are also found in smaller amounts in grass-fed beef and pasture-raised eggs.

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

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

The health benefits of these healthy fats will surprise you. EPA acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, while DHA is the most important and abundant structural component of a healthy brain.

On the other hand, omega-3 fats increase memory power as well as reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia etc neurodegenerative diseases. They promote cardiac health by reducing triglyceride and arterial plaque formation.

Additionally, omega-6 fatty acids control blood sugar and reduce the risk of diabetes. According to the health experts, omega-3 and omega-6 both fatty acids control blood pressure, protect us from various acute and chronic heart diseases.

Importance of Healthy Fats
Health Benefits of PUFAs

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)

Other important dietary fats are monounsaturated fatty acids. They contain one double bond in their molecular structure. Like polyunsaturated fats, they are liquid at room temperature.

Importance of Healthy Fats

There are many types of MUFAs are present, oleic acid most common of them. Others are palmitic acid, vaccenic acid, etc.

MUFAs forms the protecting coat of neurons called the myelin sheath. Myelin sheath also boosts the speed of neurotransmission. This fatty acid is chemically stable than PUFA, does not undergoes oxidation.

MUFAs found in extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, and some nuts (such as almond, macadamia, cashew, etc.), canola oil etc.

Like PUFAs, there are various health benefits that are present in MUFAs. When we discussed healthy fats 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, increase good cholesterol (HDL). So, MUFA in the daily diet reduces the risk of cardiac problems.

They play an important role in controlling blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance. Additionally, anti-inflammatory MUFA in a significant amount in the diet can reduce breast and prostate cancer.

Importance of Healthy Fats
Health Benefits of MUFAs


3. Saturated Fats are Healthy or Not!

When we talking about saturated fats as healthy fats, then there are many conflicts present about it.

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

They are the precursors of steroidal hormones and hormone-like secretory substances. They are the most abundant fats in human breast milk and the ideal food 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 fats-rich foods are butter, cheese, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil etc.

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

An excess amount of saturated fats in the daily diet increase the bad cholesterol levels as well as the risk of cardiac diseases (such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, etc.)

Additionally, a higher amount of these fats promotes body weight. On the other hand, studies show that saturated fats increase the risk of type-II 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 fats may be natural and synthetic (or artificial).

Importance of Healthy Fats
Unhealthy Trans-fat

The common natural trans-fat is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) presents in dairy products (such as full-fat milk) and meat grass-fed animals (such as goat, sheep and cattle).

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

However, the artificial trans-fat present in fast food, frozen processed foods, margarine is notoriously unhealthy. Other trans-fat-containing foods are packaged snacks, pizza, doughnuts, fried chicken, baked goods etc.  

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

On the other hand, they are highly inflammatory and triggers insulin resistance as well as type-II diabetes.

Consuming too many trans-fat rich foods instead of healthy fats containing food may reduce memory power significantly and increase the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. It is regarded as brain-damaging food.

So, trans-fats are those dietary fats that act harmfully.



Now, The Conclusion

As we all know, fats are important components for all living animals. Without fats, the brain and other parts of the body cannot function properly.

So, the presence of dietary fats 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.

It is proved that healthy fats are friends but artificial trans-fats are always our foes.

For a healthy life and preventing various fatal heart and other diseases, it is our responsibility to stick with those foods containing unsaturated fats as well as avoiding unhealthy, harmful fatty foods.


Thank You.

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