Friday, January 15, 2021

Fats are important in our diets but…

We, unfortunately, have been brainwashed into thinking that all fats are bad, but this is not so.
In fact, the absence of the healthy fats is detrimental to our health; therefore, it is very important that we eat the fats. Yet, just like water or candy, too much of something is very bad; so too much fats are toxic.

But what exactly is it that fats do in our bodies, and how much of them do we need?

Well, fats are needed for forming hormones, for insulating the body against extreme body temperatures, for supplying fatty acids, promoting a feeling of satiety so that one does not eat so often during the day and they are the most concentrated source of energy.

There are so many different sources of fat with different effects in the body. The healthiest and wisest choice are those which occur naturally in plants and whole foods, know as mono unsaturated fats. These are found in avocados, nuts, beans and olives. Seeds, such as sesame, and nuts, such as pecans, almonds and cashews, are some of the sources of good fat. They lower blood cholesterol, an important constituent of body cells and tissues, including the brain, nerves, bile and kidney, which is produced within the body and outside the body through diets rich in bad fats.

Foods rich in cholesterol are egg yolks, butterfat, shellfish, milk fat and animal products while plant foods, such as veggies and fruits have no cholesterol in them. If one consumes too much cholesterol, they raise the already existing amount created endogenously by the body thus causing a rise in blood pressure, heart attacks, heart diseases, poor blood circulation within the veins and cancer.

Saturated fats, which are usually solid at room temperature and are less likely to turn rancid, are the bad fats whose consumption we need to decrease; although unhealthy, they serve as a reserve energy source which is deposited within the body tissues particularly beneath the skin and on artery walls.

Animal fat, butter and all animal products have saturated fats. When we eat so much of these, we do not only raise cholesterol but we also increase the risk of colon cancer, uterine, ovarian, prostate and breast cancer.

Eating fat that is healthy and in moderate terms is not a bad thing. The problem is when one eats too much of fat, especially the saturated fat which easily turns into obesity. Too much of calories that the body probably does not need makes one overweight, and fat containing the highest calories become the major reason for overweight bodies.

With the current lifestyles we have, which are sedentary, with no exercise, the saturated fat stores itself in the body and, if not sweated out, grows and turns into layers of adipose tissue.
This is because we take too much unhealthy and unnecessary foods into our bodies either through snacking on high fatty foods or too much of animal products and less of plants.

When one eats more than 3 meals a day, with 3 heavy snacks dipped and fried in fats, and sugar filled sodas with no water, goes to the office, spends the whole day behind a desk, takes the elevator downstairs, gets into the car or taxi, goes home to eat more and sleep, which is actually how many of us live, there is a pretty good chance of storing more and more of the adipose fat which grows into obesity, and if ignored will cause diabetes and high blood pressure and eventually death.

The other reason for obesity is the way in which these fat filled foods are prepared and that is through frying the food which all but the changes good oil into bad oil. Unsaturated fatty acids are converted to saturated fats thus losing their beneficial properties such as lowering blood cholesterol.

The foods water content evaporates and is replaced with oil and a crust is formed around the food which provides a good flavor and texture but has no nutritive value.

Frying is never ideal for health since toxic byproducts are produced. Carcinogens, (cancer causing substances) are produced during frying. Certain fried foods such as meats contain mutagens that promote the development of malignant tumors. Eating too much fried foods increase the risk of suffering from tumors of the breast and ovaries.
If you must fry, there are better and healthier ways of preparing foods with good flavor and at the same time maintain the integrity of the food.

Avoid overheating when frying, that is when the food fried such as fried chips turn brown or start smoking. Filter the food when done frying, removing the excess oil. As much as it might be a way to save up on buying oil, do not ever store oil and use it again at a different time for frying especially if it was heated to the smoking point.

As much as fats are essential for our growth, it is quite important that we make choices that will guarantee a better and healthier life.

So next time you go shopping, why not try replace sausages, vianas, chesses with carrots, apples and watermelons. Eat more of a plant based diet and read food labels which will help you compare the amount of fats in food and by the end of the year, all the fat might have evaporated…..

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