For many people the word ‘fat’ is a 3 letter nightmare. It is the reason they have to diet and why they can’t fit into last years’ jeans. The real truth is that fat is a good thing when consumed properly. The body, especially the brain, needs certain types of fat to function efficiently. There are different kinds of fats and oils that can be included in the diet that actually offer an abundance of health benefits.
Good Fats: How Much You Need
Types of Fat
There are several different types of fats that are found in our diet. The unhealthy fats include include:
- Saturated fats – Animal fats (common sources of cholesterol)
- Trans fats – Most trans fats are produced from processing method known as partial hydrogenation
Fats that are beneficial and can produce positive health changes include:
- Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, flax seed and olive oil offer cardiovascular benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Monounsaturated fats are beneficial when it comes to lowering the level of bad cholesterol found in the blood stream
- Polyunsaturated fats are plant based and are also beneficial in helping lower cholesterol levels in the blood
Including good fats in the diet is not difficult if you know where to find them and how to utilize them when you are cooking. Most people come across bad fats when they eat at fast food restaurants or buy commercially prepared foods for the microwave. Cooking from scratch allows you to use the good fats and eliminate the risk of consuming excessive amounts of the bad types of fat.
How Much Fat Is Necessary
Depending on your level of activity and overall health, the amount of fat that is recommended each day by health care professionals is 20 to 35 percent or less. Individuals who are dieting may follow a ratio of 60/30/10 (60 percent protein, 30 percent carbohydrates and 10 percent fats). This particular ratio is beneficial because when healthy fats are used, the body is able to utilize them more efficiently and allow the body to re-establish a healthier pattern of functionality.
Having at least 10 percent of your daily caloric intake come from beneficial, healthy fats, you improve brain function, lower your risk of heart disease and increase your energy levels. Individuals who exercise often may want to increase their fat intake for the simple reason that, when broken down in the digestive tract, is able to provide the body with beneficial oils that work within the joints and connective tissue and aid in the healing process.
How the Body Uses Fat
Healthy fats, like Omega 3′s and monounsaturated fats clear the blood stream of bad cholesterol and help to improve circulation. Healthy fats travel through the bloodstream binding with unhealthy fats and work to carry them out of the body. As more of the unhealthy fats are removed, much needed nutrients can then be transported in their place to wherever they are needed within the body.