Healthy Fats – When Fat is Good for Health

For the past several decades, dietary fats were thought to be responsible for most of our illnesses. Health experts and dietitians frequently advised us to avoid fats to prevent heart diseases, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

However, studies conducted in the past couple of years showed that a low fat diet is not always a key to good health. Researchers have found that not all fats are bad for health. In fact excess consumption of certain fats could prevent diseases that were earlier associated with dietary fat intake.

Dietary fats are divided into two categories – healthy fats and unhealthy fats. For a healthy heart and healthy brain and for preserving normal body weight, you should include adequate amounts of healthy fats in your diet.

Healthy fats

Health experts suggest that for healthy living, one should consume at least one tablespoon of healthy fat for every 45 pounds of body weight per day. You can use healthy fats for cooking or consume fat supplements.

Polyunsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated fats remain liquid at all temperatures. Sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil and flaxseed oil are popular sources of this healthy fat. Omega-3 fats found in fish and fish oil, walnut, almonds and flaxseeds belong to this category.

Monounsaturated fats

If your cooking oil contains monounsaturated fats it will remain liquid at all temperature conditions, but will become cloudy when refrigerated or in the winter. Monounsaturated fats are good for your health. This healthy fat could be found in olive oil, peanut oil and canola oil. Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts are rich sources of these unsaturated fats. You can even find monounsaturated fats in avocados, pumpkin seeds and sesame.

Amount of healthy fats in oil

Cooking oils, that are usually the main source of fats in our diets, contain different types of fats in different ratios. Healthy cooking oils contain adequate amounts of unsaturated or healthy fats and insignificant amount of saturated or unhealthy fat. For instance 72 percent of fat in olive oil is monounsaturated, whereas only 13 percent of the fat is saturated. On the other hand, butter contains 26 percent of monounsaturated fats and 65 percent of unhealthy saturated and trans saturated fats.