Although many people avoid eating fats of any kind, the body does need enough good fats in moderate amounts to maximize overall health and fitness.
The U.S. population is getting fatter and obesity is rampant even among young children today, both factors that have led to the idea that eating fats of any kind are bad for your health. However, our bodies do need enough good fats to be healthy. Avoiding all fats can cause a weak immune system and vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well. The correct approach is eating enough good fats in moderate amounts in order to maximize your overall health and fitness.
Every person needs a certain percentage of fat, but the types of fats you consume are the most important factor. All fats are members of the chemical group called lipids, and they are what makes you feel full after eating a meal. Fats also supply the body with the important soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. But overall, it is the monounsaturated fats that are the best and healthiest fats. Unsaturated fats will reduce the cholesterol in the bloodstream and help maintain the levels of good cholesterol known as HDL. Unsaturated fats actually work with your body to help lower the risk of heart diseases. Good examples of monounsaturated fat foods are found in olive oil with 75% of monounsaturated fat, macadamia nuts with 80% of monounsaturated fat, avocados at 71%, almonds with 70%, canola oil at 59%, and peanut oil with 46%.
The cholesterol in fats are also an important health issue, as the good cholesterol or HDL can actually help the body shed the “bad” cholesterol known as LDL, which is the unhealthy type that builds up in the blood. The trick is to consume more of the unsaturated fats found in nuts and foods like fish. Common fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, and tuna are also carriers of omega-3 fatty acids which are also essential for proper health. . Omega-3 fatty acids also help lower LDL cholesterol levels, reduce high blood pressure and lower the levels of triglyceride fats in the blood. In contrast, foods like whole milk dairy products and fatty meats contain high levels of bad saturated fats. If you need to cook with oil, use olive oil as it contains mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which can help lower the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood without lowering your good cholesterol levels.
There is also room in your diet for a small amount of polyunsaturated fats that contain good cholesterol that will also reduce the overall cholesterol in your blood. However, polyunsaturated fats should be eaten in moderation because they reduce the levels of both LDL cholesterol and the HDL cholesterol. This means that fats should not be totally avoided in your diet, but you do need to pay attention to the types of fat that you eat.