Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Know Your Fats - A Healthy Heart - Part 1

Why do we need fats
Eating the right amount of 'good' fats are healthy and has valuable functions in the body.

1. They are an important source of energy
2. They protect our vital organs.
3. Provide essential fatty acids not provided by the
4. Help you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Fats have different effects on blood cholesterol. Fats that increase cholesterol levels, and therefore considered as 'bad' fats, are your saturated- and trans fats. In contrast - unsaturated fats or oils are considered 'good' fats; since they lower cholesterol levels.
Replacing 'bad' fats with 'good' fats can lower your cholesterol level and is good for your heart.

Loosing weight is a good step towards a healthier heart. ALL fats are high in calories. So when you try to loose weight, be very particular with your overall fat intake. However; it is the quality of fat intake that is most important.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 polyunsaturated fats, or 'good' oils, are particularly good for your heart health.

Your body can not make essential fats, so you must get them from the Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils in your food. They are necessary for normal growth and development, the formation of hormones and for general health and well-being.

Only a third of your daily calories should come from fat. So to get a healthy balance of fats, most people need to take more 'good' fats and reduce their intake of 'bad' fats.

The three good fats: Omega 3, Omega 6 and monounsaturated fats. They are found mainly in plant foods and fish.

Omega 3
The plant form of Omega 3 is found in walnuts, flax-seed(linseed), soya beans, rapeseed(canola) and the vegetable oils, margarine and spreads made from them. A more complex form of Omega 3is found in oily fish like kippers, mackerel, herring and salmon.

Omega 6
These oils reduce cholesterol levels and mainly found in plant foods like sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, corn and the vegetable oils, margerine and spreads made from them.

Mono-saturated fats
Olives, olive oil, avocado pears and nuts like almonds, pistachios and peanuts are all rich in 'good' oils. They help control cholesterol levels simply by taking the place of some 'bad fat in the diet.

'Bad' fats are mainly found in animal products, processed foods and bakery goods.

Saturated fats
Butter, lard, fatty meats, meat products like sausages and burgers, full-fat milk, cheese and dairy products, as well as pies and pastries are the main sources of saturated fat. It is not essential to cut these foods out completely, but it is a good idea to choose lower fat options when possible - Cut down your portion sizes or eat them less often.

Trans fats
Trans fats are formed during the partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fats to make them more solid. They are often used in commercially produced cakes, pastries and biscuits. It is also found in butter, whole milk, beef and mutton.

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