Ooh fats! I dont think there is any other nutrient which is as discussed as fats. Yummy, nurturing and healthy fats. There is so much joy about them and the richness they add to your meal, so in my eyes there is no need to discuss about how healthy they are. If you choose wisely! And if you choose the right fats they should account for 20 to 30 percent of your total energy intake per day. Of course, I am talking about essential fatty acids. The ones that keep your skin and hair glowing and support the function of our organs. They also provide a gentle escort to the vitamins and minerals we ingest from fruits and plants, some of which aren’t of any use to our body unless they are combined with healthy essential fats. And these fats I am talking about are just that – essential to our body.
Sure, here are quite a few fats that are not so good for us, such as trans fats which are chemically engineered fats. These were created by the food industry the extend the life of snack foods, but I will talk about that later 🙂 Lets focus on the good ones first. The ones you should not eliminate from your diet. Remember, the right fats are a necessary component of our diet to get in energy and essential nutrients.
5 FACTS ABOUT FATS
- …it provides you with energy throughout the day.
- …it enhances flavour and texture of your food and gives all those herbs and spices that extra pinch of taste.
- … it keeps your skin from being rough.
- …it helps your body absorbing vitamins (like vitamins A, D, E and K).
- … it boosts your brain power.
THE FATS YOU LOVE
The two key things to remember about fats are that you must select teh right kinds of fat, and that you must be aware of the amount you’re eating. When it comes to the amount, moderatin is key. Just like everything else, too much of a good thing can till be …too much. And this too much can higher the risk of heart diseases and obesity.
So when it comes to choosing you fats you should aim for the unsaturated ones. Your body needs these, cause it can’t make them itself – they are essential to get them from the stuff you eat. You can differ these into polyunsaturated and monosaturated and omega-3 fatty acids.
They are primarily found in vegetable oil such as safflower, sesame, sunflower as well as nuts and seeds. They have a variety of benefits, from helping to protect your muscles to helping you blood clot.
These can be found in foods like olive oil, canola oil, avocados and nuts. They are beneficial for healthy blood cholesterol levels, blood-sugar and insulin regulation.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3s can help protecting you from heart disease or boost your brain power (just to name a few benefits, these fats are superstars!). You can find them especially in fatty fisch like salmon or tuna as well as in some plantbased sources as flaxseeds, soybeans or walnuts.
THE FATS YOU SHOULD NOT LOVE
When choosing your fats you should limit the intake of trans fats and saturated fats. These are the ones that may harm the health of your arteries and are usually found in convenience food (fast-foods, processed food, sweets) as well as dairy products (such as butter, cheese, meat, palm oil).
Dont get me wrong. I wont tell you to not eat this and that! There is nothing wrong with having some fast food burgers and fries every now and then. These kinds of foods are tasty and fun, but keep it special! Not only because you’ll feel bloated and tired afterwards, but because of your longterm health.
Lets talk about trans fats. There is nothing natural about these guys. They are literally man-made to keep food “fresh” for months. Maybe you know the picture of a two-weeks old McDonalds burger in contrast to real, fresh food. The burger just looks the same as at day uno whereas the real food began to mold, which is natural and just the way it should be. The reason of this long-lasting burger are trans fats, and these are NOT NATURAL. I hope I dont need to go back to the basics and tell you that you should aim for real, whole and natural foods. Other sources of trans fats are chips, cookies, crackers… and the list goes on.
COOKING WITH FAT
Well, thats a thing a had to re-read myself over and over again and used to always go for butter until I educated myself about what to use when, cause there are quite a few differences between the oils you can use for cooking. Oils can have low, medium or high smoke points. This describes at which temperatur the oil starts to smoke, thus how it can handle the heat.
LOW SMOKE POINT OILS
These are the ones which are best used for salad dressings, marinades and dips.
- walnut oil
- flaxseed oil
- extra virgin olive oil
- hemp oil
MEDIUM SMOKE POINT OILS
Go for these if you want to sautee, make sauces, oven bake or stir-fry.
- olive oil
- canola oil
- coconut oil
- sesame oil
HIGH SMOKE POINT OILS
These can be used for panfrying, browning or searing.
- sunflower oil
- safflower oil
- peanut oil