When it comes to nutrition and health, certain foods are considered healthy and certain foods are considered unhealthy. Until recently, all fats were considered to be unhealthy.
We now know that certain fats like omega 3, omega 6 and monounsaturated fats are considered better fats because they promote heart health or do not contribute to heart disease. We must remember thought that even these “good fats” have calories (9Kcal per gram). So, even these, need to be eaten in moderation.
Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) and is found in fatty fish, shellfish, flaxseed, walnuts and canola. Omega 6 is also a polyunsaturated fatty acid and is contained in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. These are also known as “essential fatty acids”. EFA’s are not manufactured by the body and are needed to be consumed from an external source.
Monounsaturated fats (Mufas) are found in Canola and olive oils
Try to ensure that MOST of your fat intake comes from PUFA’s. The total calories, of ALL the fat you consume per day, should not exceed 30% of your daily caloric intake.
A heart healthy diet encourages low fat or fat free dairy, fruit and vegetables, high fibre whole-grains, lean meat, poultry and fish.
The so called “bad” fats are saturated fats and transfats. Saturated fats are found in animal based products and are usually solid at room temperature. Found in full fat dairy products – butter, cream, cheese and meat. Saturated fats are also present in tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil.
Trans-fats are found in commercially prepared food like margarine and store bought baked and fried foods.
Diets high in Transfats and saturated fats are associated with heart disease and strokes.
Aim to have NO MORE than 5tsp of fat servings per day.
1tsp of butter, oil or margarine is equal to 1tsp of fat serving
1tsp of mayonnaise counts as 1tsp of fat serving.
10g of nuts or seeds is regarded as 1tsp of fat serving. Half a medium avocado is counted as 3tsp of fat serving. 2Tblsp of peanut butter is regarded as 4tsp of fat serving. 1Tblsp of salad dressing is equivalent to 1tsp of fat serving.
Fat is a concentrated energy source and it’s vital to one’s health. It helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E and K), maintain healthy skin synthesize hormones. It also cushions body organs from injury and provides energy stores.
So fats serve an essential purpose in the diet and are beneficial to one’s health–as long as you don’t get too much in your diet (not more than 30% of total calories). A diet too high in fat is associated with increased blood cholesterol levels, and high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. A high fat diet may also increase chances for developing some types of cancer and obesity.
Now that we all have a better basic knowledge of nutrition, we can make better, wiser, healthier choices. There are NO forbidden foods – But one thing is clear – Too much ofanything is NOT good for you.
Remember, if you want all the right curves in all the right places – make the right choice – because, those who indulge, bulge!