What fats should you include in your diet?
What we commonly hear is that fat is bad for our health, but the truth is that only certain types of fat are harmful to our body. Fat is a component that the body needs, since lipids and fatty acids are necessary for proper cell function.
Healthy fats that are unsaturated are very important for our body because they even help us prevent cardiovascular diseases, carry out processes such as the menstrual cycle and produce certain essential hormones for the functioning of our body. In addition, we all need some fat to absorb certain vitamins and maintain a healthy immune system.
How to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy fats?
The saturated fat It is a type of lipid already processed that the body does not have the ability to transform, but tends to accumulate. In excessive amounts, saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels, clogs and hardens arteries, causing serious heart problems (atherosclerosis).
It is found mostly in animal products, such as meat, pork, chicken, milk, ice cream, and cheese. However, the amount of fat in these foods varies greatly. For example, 100 grams of roast pork tenderloin contains only about 2 grams of saturated fat, compared to 12 grams in 100 grams of beef short rib.
The foods mentioned above have great benefits for your body, due to their amount of protein and amino acids, whether it is harmful or not depends more on the choices you make. Try to include in your diet lean cuts of beef such as round fillet, white meats such as chicken breast and especially fish that will be your ally (mainly: salmon, tuna and sardines ..).
Remember that food preparation is key, so avoid frying food at all costs. Later I will explain with what you can substitute it in this case.
Trans or hydrogenated fats
Son unsaturated fatty oils, mainly of vegetable origin created by hydrogenation, a physical-chemical process that converts liquid oils to a semi-solid state, thanks to this procedure it is used in the food industry with the aim of conferring greater stability and durability to foods of great consumption.
This is the case of some margarines, cookies and bakery products, microwave popcorn, industrial pastries, candies, salty and sweet snacks, ice cream, pre-cooked meals, sauces and a good part of fast-food products.
Its effects are worse than those derived from saturated fat or cholesterol in the diet. Excess trans fat favors atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) that makes it difficult for blood to pass. To avoid consuming it, limit the amount of fried and processed foods you eat such as those mentioned above, foods that contain hydrogenated vegetable oil, and use healthier options like organic olive oil or coconut oil.
They are mostly oils, since at room temperature they are in a liquid state. They are beneficial fats for health because they regulate the level of cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Unsaturated fats fall into two categories:
present in olive oil, canola oil, peanut butter, avocado and nuts (pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts or cashews), peanuts, avocados and their oils.
They are found in sunflower oil, safflower, fish oil, soybean oil, corn, saffron, and also in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines …
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In turn, polyunsaturated fats are subdivided into different types, with two classes standing out for their properties:
Omega 3 fats:
It’s a type of essential fat and is present in a multitude of fish such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, trout or anchovies; and also in different nuts and oils such as walnuts, rapeseed, soybeans and their oils.
The best known omega 3 is linoleic acid.
Omega 6 fats:
We can find them in sunflower seeds, wheat germ, sesame, walnuts, soybeans, corn and their oils. The best known is linolenic acid.
Linoleic acid and linolenic acid cannot be synthesized in the body and, therefore, must be obtained through the diet (essential fatty acids).
There is plenty of evidence that monounsaturated fats can protect against disease by lowering levels of LDL cholesterol (the one that clogs the arteries) without affecting HDL cholesterol (the one that acts like a vacuum into the bloodstream). There is less consensus around poly fats as they may reduce the amount of good HDL, while others seem to indicate that they are harmless.