Are there Healthy Fats?

Are there healthy fats?

Is this your standard reaction? Or are you familiar with friends and family who are afraid to even have a small amount of fat in their diet? Well here is the good news! Your body needs healthy fats to function correctly. As it is used as an energy source, but it is also essential for the production of white and red blood cells, the production of certain hormones, the transportation of fat-soluble vitamins and for insulation.

We already hear you think… YES and run towards the first fast-food chain around the corner. But there is some bad news as well. Not all fats are created equally, which means that only certain fats are healthy and required by your body.  So, bear with us and check out this blog to understand which fats your body will thank you for.

Off course there is a chemical explanation and description of what makes up a fat, but we will keep it simple! In the basis, there are 4 important groups of fats identified. These are polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, saturated fatty acids, and trans-fat. Let’s have a closer look at those.

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1. Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and quite resistant to heat. While these fats have always been marked as bad and causing cardiovascular disease (or simply put heart disease, heart attack, stroke). Currently, the jury is still undecided as it seems that some variations of saturated fats, depending on their carbon chain length, might actually be good for you.

2. Monounsaturated Fat

Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and relatively stable when heated. These fatty acids are thought to be beneficial for the health of your arteries and skin, while they also protect your cells from oxidative damage. What does that mean you wonder? Well, oxidative damage means damage to your cells and DNA, which increases your risk of developing all nasty diseases such as cancers and chronic inflammation.

Avocado contains healthy fats

3. Polyunsaturated Fat

Polyunsaturated fatty acids are also liquid at room temperature but are unstable when exposed to heat. Being unstable means that they become acid, or simply said very bad for your health, when they are heated and used for cooking or baking. These fatty acids are best to be enjoyed in salads for example. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are celebrated for containing 2 essential fatty acids, which means that your body can not produce these themselves and rely on the foods that you eat. These essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty. 

Omega-6 fatty acids are supporting the lowering of blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Although these fatty acids are essential for your body, if eaten in excess and not properly balanced with omega-3 fatty acids, they can also create some health issues, such as inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain development and functioning, as they make up a large part of the communication membranes in the brain. Omega-3 further support the health of the retina in your eye and play an essential role in reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, arthritis, hypertension and certain types of cancer, while also being necessary for optimal growth and development.

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4. Trans-fat

Trans-fats, everybody agrees regarding these fatty acids; they are not healthy or beneficial for your body. This type of fat is solid at room temperature and are derived through a chemical process in which vegetable oils are hydrogenated to make them solid and more stable. These fatty acids seem to increase the LDL (also called ‘bad’) cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, while they can also interfere with your hormones.

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Time to eat more healthy fats

We hope that this short overview of the different fats will help you distinguish between healthy fats and the not so healthy ones. Remember to check the labels of the products to see what types of fatty acids are included in the product of your choice! And as always, balance is key 😊

At The Pantry Doctor, our goal is to help people become their healthiest self. If you want to learn more about the healthiness of foods you eat, please have a look at our homepage to see how we might help you further.

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