Eye Opening Importance of Oils and Fats
"Have you gained weight and want to stop eating oils and fats?" "Are you suffering from hypertension and want to go off oils completely?" Or "Do you suffer from heart disease and want to avoid fats and oils altogether?"
Are you in a dilemma, what to do and what not to do? You get lot many different advices from many sources!!
Listen to the Experts and DO NOT STOP EATING OILS AND FATS TOTALLY!!
DO NOT GO OFF OILS!!
Yes, you heard right, but then the questions that arise are:
Which is the best oil for heart? which oil is best to improve immunity? Which oil is best for vitality? Which oil will help me maintain weight and blood pressure?
The answers you are seeking lie in this writeup, read on to know the answers to your queries and much more.
In spite of the controversies that surround fat consumption, it is important to understand that these are one of the three essential nutrients. Fats and oils or Lipids as they are collectively called are important for various essential body functions. If the right types of oils are consumed in the recommended quantities these promote vitality, boost immunity, support heart health, keep the skin soft and supple and bones strong.
The important functions that fats and oils perform in the human body are:
Improved Mental and Physical Health: Fats and oils provide essential fatty acids, such as linoleic(omega-6) and alpha linolenic acids (omega-3), which the body cannot synthesize and which are important to improve health, help to treat certain diseases, are essential for proper mental and physical performance and even improve body composition.
Enhanced Absorption of Vitamins: These are required for the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, D, E and K. In the absence of fats in the diet these will not be absorbed leading to the deficiency of these vitamins and related deficiency diseases.
Promotes Skin Health: These vitamins along with omega-3 fatty acids (fatty acids are the building blocks of fats) act as anti-aging agents which promote skin health and beauty.
Healthy Reproductive System: Fats and oils are essential for the synthesis of many hormones, especially steroid hormones, such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These hormones are responsible for a healthy reproductive system. So, fats and oils are important for a healthy reproductive system and to maintain vitality.
Regulates Appetite: Fats are also required for the production of an important hormone leptin which regulates hunger and appetite. This helps to keep the weight under control by avoiding over-eating.
Responsible for Digestive Enzymes: Fats and oils are required for the formation of bile which is a digestive enzyme and an essential fat - cholesterol. If the diet is deficient in fats, bile acids and cholesterol will not be synthesized leading to many health issues.
Gifts Protective Layer to Organs: Fats form a protective layer around the vital organs of the body, such as the brain, heart, liver, lungs, even the eyes, etc. This layer protects these organs from any mechanical injury.
Keeps you Cool: The fat layer under the skin help to insulate the body, which means it keeps the internal body temperature under control despite changes in the environmental temperature.
Contributes to 60% of Brain: The human brain is 60% fat, the nervous tissue, the retina of the eyes, skin and the reproductive organs all have significant amount of fat.
Simply Palatable: Fats are important concentrated source of energy and are stored in adipose tissue. The presence of fats in foods make them calorie dense, add texture and flavour to the food. Their presence improves the palatability and satiety value of food.
Fats are essential for all the chemical reactions in the body, which govern, reproduction, growth, development, immunity, brain function, hormonal balance and much more. An imbalance of fats at any stage affects the health and can lead to disease.
Some oils are heart healthy oils such as those rich in poly- and mono-unsaturated oils. These heart healthy oils are found in whole foods such as nuts, seeds, herbs, vegetables and fatty fish. For example, coconut oil, mustard oil, groundnut oil, olive oil, almond oil, flaxseed oil, etc.
There is and has always been a considerable debate regarding the type and amount of fats and oils to be used in diet and their role in development, prevention and cure of chronic diseases and weight management. The latest dietary guidelines, however, recommend limiting saturated and trans fats but not so much of total fats. Saturated fats are mostly found in non-vegetarian foods (except sea food) such as red meats, dairy and poultry. Vegetable oils are rich in mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for health and vitality.
Hence, while cooking it becomes essential to choose oils and fats best suited for health. To maintain good health, it is recommended to:
- Limit animal-based saturated fats such as butter, cream, full fat dairy products, etc.
- Limit trans fats such as man-made hydrogenated oils, margarine, etc.
- Use of plant-based Mono-unsaturated oils such as virgin coconut oil, mustard oil, groundnut oil, rice bran oil, extra-virgin olive oil, etc. and
- Increased use of plant-based poly-unsaturated oils such as safflower oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil, etc.
- It is good to use cold pressed oils as this method of extraction helps to retain the nutrients intact, does not affect the flavour and gives a neutral taste to the oil.
The best heart-healthy cooking oils are those rich in poly and mono-unsaturated oils. These heart-healthy oils are found in whole foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fatty fish. The heart-healthy oils help to reduce the harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol or harmful cholesterol) in the blood, boost brain function, and support satiety.
It is recommended that about 15-30% of the total calories should come from fats out of which 8-10% should be from saturated fats and the rest from mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.
Most researches have proved that consumption of increased amounts of saturated fats along with a diet high in refined carbohydrates is more harmful for heart health compared to consumption of correct types and amounts of oils.
Take Home Message:
Do not eliminate fats and oils completely from diet as they are important for essential body functions.
It is however important to include them judiciously in your diet. Make required changes in your diet, as per your physiological condition under the guidance of an expert.
To know more and to get expert advice on the type and quantity of oils to be included in your diet, drop a comment. Read! Share! Stay Aware!
Ms Sunita Roy Chowdhury, Senior Nutritionist, Dietician and Nutrition Educator
Healthynudgez and Guiding Stars Open Learning Academy,
Under the banner of SS Guiding Stars Pvt. Ltd.
At multano we are passionate about helping people make their lives healthier and happier. All information provided in this article is researched and authenticated by qualified experts. We are dedicated to providing reliable and accurate information to our readers. However, please use the information provided here with discretion. Any changes in medication/diet must be done with the approval of your treating medical practitioner/Dietician only.