Demystifying fats

We’ve grown up with the myth that all fats are bad for our health, listening to statements like “fats increase cholesterol and cause heart disease”, “to lose weight you have to eliminate all fats”, “fats cause weight gain and obesity”. The reality is that recently it has been discovered that not only are there good fats but they are also essential for maintaining optimal health and weight. In other words, we need our fat!

What are the types of fats and where are they found?

Basically, there are two types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated and trans (bad) fats increase LDL cholesterol and thereby increase the risk of suffering heart attack, atherosclerosis and stroke. They are solid. They are found in milk and milk derivatives, in lard, margarine and some animal proteins like beef and egg yolks. They are also found in many processed food products. This doesn’t mean that we should stop eating these products completely but we should reduce our consumption of these fats, opting for a larger quantity of good fats (an ideal ratio would be 30% saturated fats and 70% unsaturated fats).

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good fats; they are found in a liquid state and are unprocessed. They help to reduce blood cholesterol. They are found in some vegetable oils like olive oil, sesame oil and sunflower oil. They are also found in large quantities in some fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, etc. Avocado, nuts and dried fruit are other examples of products that are rich in healthy fats.

Why should we consume good fats?

• Fats make the body correctly process and absorb vitamins, especially vitamins A, D, E and K. This helps the various body systems to work better, including the immune system, skin and brain.

• They provide fatty acids which are essential for growth, especially in children.

• They help with the formation of membranes and nerve tissue. Together with exercise, they help to develop more muscle.

• They are the basic energy source for our body.

• They help to stabilize mood, fighting depression and other emotional disorders.

Now that you know all of this, I invite you to consume and feed your family with healthy fats so that everyone can enjoy all of their health benefits.

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