Fats are one of the 5 most important daily of nutritious foods, along with protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Even thought, the body itself can make most of the fats from the other nutrients, fats must be included in the diet so the body can function properly.
Fats have many functions, such as: they form the structure of the cell membranes; are involved in transport, breakdown and excretion of cholesterol; are building blocks for many hormones and blood-clothing agents,
and compounds involved in immune and inflammatory responses; provide the body with insulation and form protective layer over the internal organs;
they help with the transport and storage of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K); are structural component of the brain and the nervous system and provide a reserve supply of energy in the form of body fat.
Fats are the main energy source for the body, containing 9 calories per gram of fat.
Fats are divided into 2 major groups: saturated and unsaturated fats. Furthermore, unsaturated fats are divided into monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats.
The difference between saturated and unsaturated fats is that saturated fats are solid at room temperature, while unsaturated are liquid.
According to the latest research, the only type of fats that are causing health problems, like heart attack, stroke, and high cholesterol levels, are the trans fats.
A couple years ago, the saturated fats were included in this group as well, but a lot of studies have shown that they are not as bad as thought before.
Eating them in moderation is considered to be healthy.
About 20 years ago, based on the consideration that the fats as a “bad” food choice, a lot of low-fat and fat-free diets and food products came out on the market.
Trying to make these products appealing and tasty for the costumers, the companies started using salt, sugar, refined carbs, and other additives, which caused raising of the levels of obesity and even more health problems.
However, now, due to researches which are studding the relationship between the food and health in more depth, a lot of things have changed.
These studies now show that consuming fats, including saturated, can be of great benefit for our health.
9 foods, fat-rich and nutritious, that are very healthy.
Fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, herring, trout and mackerel, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are of great importance for proper brain functioning.
They are also rich in high quality proteins, which makes them excellent choice for those who are exercising.
When it comes to their health benefits, studies show that they are lowering the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia and other common diseases.
Unlike other fruits, which are rich in carbohydrates, avocado is fat-rich fruit, about 77% fat by calories.
Besides the fat, the avocado is also rich in fiber and potassium, containing 40% more potassium then bananas.
A lot of studies have shown that avocados have multiple health benefits, among which are lowering of the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while rising the HDL cholesterol, and they have impact on weight loss as well.
Many people avoid consuming whole eggs and use only the egg whites, because it is known that the yolk rises the blood cholesterol, but latest studies point that the cholesterol in eggs has little to do with rising the cholesterol in blood.
Furthermore, eggs are one of the most nutritious foods providing 18 vitamins and minerals, unsaturated fats and protein, and also there are some on the market that are omega-3 enriched.
All of these egg compounds contribute to the antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-cancer and many more benefits of the eggs.
Nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, cashews, macadamia nuts) are one of the fat-rich foods that are also high in fiber and proteins.
They are also good source of vitamin E and magnesium. Health benefits of nuts are including lowering the risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Seeds (chia, flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame) are containing polyunsaturated fats, and they are also rich in protein and fiber. Research shows that they are helpful in lowering the LDL cholesterol.
nutritious foods:Milk and dairy products
Milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are very nutritious. Not only they are rich in healthy fats, but they are also a great source of protein, calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium.
Milk and dairy products are linked to a lot of health benefits, including increasing the level of HDL cholesterol and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Dark chocolate (70% of cocoa and more) is another healthy food that is high in fats, fiber, antioxidants, and it also rich in other important nutrients, like iron, magnesium, copper and manganese.
Some studies show that dark chocolate helps in lowering the blood pressure, increases brain functioning and can help in the skin protection when exposed to the sun.
Olive oil is another healthy food that is high in fats. It is also rich in vitamins E and K, and antioxidants.
Among the health benefits of olive oil are reducing the risk of developing heart diseases, lowering the blood pressure and improvement of cholesterol markers.
Coconut and coconut oil are among the richest foods in saturated fats (about 90% of their total fats).
Fats that are found in coconut oil are much different than other fats and they are also metabolized differently (they go straight to the liver where they can be turned into ketone bodies).
Many studies have shown that coconut oil has health benefits for people with Alzheimer’s, helps reducing the belly fat etc.
Eating foods that are rich in fat is undeniably part of a healthy diet. The healthy fats should definitely be included in the diet.
However, the amount of fat intake should be limited, especially if you are on fat loss program.
As I said before, fats are high in calories, and eating too much of them can cause daily calorie excess, which promotes fat storage instead of fat burning.
Nevertheless, moderate consumption of healthy fats can have great positive impact on your health in general.