What are healthy fats, Cholesterol and unhealthy fats ? Is there a connection ?

what are healthy fats

Many people dread cholesterol and fats from their diets. Food such as butter, nuts, egg yolks, and full-fat dairy are among the popular foods many people avoid for fear of fats and cholesterol. The reason for the fear of cholesterol and fats is that both are linked to the increased risk of various diseases such as heart disease. 

Should you really cut out fats from your diet? Let’s break it down and see whether you should avoid, eat them in moderation or enjoy them freely. 

To begin with ; 

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. The body needs cholesterol to build cells, make vitamins, and other hormones. However, high cholesterol can lead to health risks such as the development of fatty deposits in blood vessels making it difficult to get enough blood through the arteries sparking off many health conditions such as heart disease. 

According to the Mayo clinicOpens in a new tab., ”High cholesterol can be inherited, but it’s often a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and sometimes medication can help reduce high cholesterol.” 

What are fats?

Fats are a mixture of compounds that are formed from fatty acids our bodies get from food. Fats are used by our bodies and they are associated with many health benefits. 

Contrary to the common belief that fats should be avoided, not all fats are unhealthy. There are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. It is therefore the bad fats (unhealthy) fats that should be avoided. MonosaturatedOpens in a new tab. and PolyunsaturatedOpens in a new tab. fats are healthy while trans fats and saturated fats should be eaten in moderation as they are problematic to our health. 

Is there a connection between cholesterol and fat? 

Yes, the amount and type of fats consumed can affect blood cholesterol levels. Consuming saturated and trans fats in huge amounts can lead to a rise in bad blood cholesterol.  

LDL which stands for low-density lipoproteinOpens in a new tab. which is sometimes known as bad cholesterol makes up most of the body’s cholesterol levels. High amounts of LDL in the body increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Therefore, eating unhealthy fats can raise LDL cholesterol sparking off many related diseases while healthy fat food sources can keep these levels at bay and benefit the body instead. 

What are the healthy fats? 

Healthy fats are dietary fats that pose fewer health risks and have a lot of health benefits. These are monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. 

Eating more of these types of fats will benefit the body leading to healthier living. 

High-fat foods that are healthy; healthy fats  

Unhealthy fats increase risks for diseases such as heart disease, and stroke. Since our bodies can’t function properly without dietary fats, cutting them out of the diet isn’t a wise decision. The best option is choosing healthy fat foods over unhealthy fat food sources. Below are healthy fats food sources; 

  • Extra virgin olive oil. 
  • Avocados. 
  • Olives. 
  • Coconuts and coconut oil. 
  • Cheese. 
  • Whole eggs. 
  • Full fat yogurt. 
  • Fatty fishOpens in a new tab. such as herring, tuna, mackerel, trout, and anchovies. 
  • Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and peanuts. 
  • Seeds such as chiaOpens in a new tab. seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds.  

Is milk a healthy fat? What is the best milk to drink?

Milk is highly nutritious it is packed with proteins, carbs, calcium. vitamin D, omega-3s, and fat. 

However, many people are skeptical when it comes to the type of milk and milk products they should consume. For example, full-fat milk doesn’t make it to the table of many people, in fear of the high-fat content in it. 

The question to ask ourselves here is “Should we avoid milk due to the fats in it?” Let’s break it down. 

Milk has got omega-3 fatty acidsOpens in a new tab. which are linked to many health benefits such as improved heart health, lowering the risk of certain cancers, and more. 

The fatter the milk, the more omega-3 content it contains. Therefore, if you don’t want to miss the health benefits of omega-3s then full-fat milk is the best option for you. 

It is also important to note that fat has more calories than other nutrients. This means that high-fat milk definitely has more calories. This is one of the reasons why weight loss diets recommended low-fat milk. 

Why is milk sometimes considered unhealthy? 

Milk has got saturated fat which is considered unhealthy. There are a lot of health risks associated with saturated fats such as heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. A study by Science DirectOpens in a new tab. made an assumption that consumption of saturated fats increased the risk of heart disease. 

Health experts recommend consuming foods with saturated fats in moderation. 

However, though milk has saturated fats, its content is not alarming. From a cup (237ml) of whole milk, you will get 4.6 grams of saturated fat which is only about 20% of the average daily amount recommended by Dietary Guidelines for AmericansOpens in a new tab.. It is for this reason that health experts recommend the consumption of low-fat or skim milk. 

However, the assumptions are from the past and are backed with little or no evidence. In recent years, a lot of experimental data has been put up to indicate that saturated fat does not cause heart disease. 

With these new findings, there is now less scientific evidence that suggests you avoid saturated fat in your diet. This leaves contradicting evidence about whether whole fat milk is good for you or you should choose low-fat milk. 

For weight loss, low-fat milk is recommended since it has fewer calories than full-fat milk. Therefore, in terms of calorie counting, low-fat milk is the best option. 

What are the advantages of fat in our bodies?

Eating healthy or good fats has a lot of health benefits attached to it. Here are the health benefits; 

  • Healthy fats can lower the risk of heart disease as well as stroke. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats which are also known as good fats are good for the heart, cholesterol, and overall health. Getting enough of these fats can help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. 
  • They help with better absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K. Having healthy fats in your meal will have nutrients in the food successfully absorbed into the body. 
  • Healthy fats can boost immunity. By increasing good cholesterol levels, better absorption of vitamins, and improving general health, fats will make the body stronger against many diseases. 
  • A lot of weight loss potential lies in the consumption of healthy fats. They help to create a feeling of satiety for longer. This will help avoid cravings and eating less food on your next meal. 
  • Healthy fats consumption can help lower triglycerides associated with heart disease and fight inflammation with its related chronic diseases and cancer. 
  • Choosing healthy fats can help prevent plaque buildup and narrowing of the arteries. This helps ensure a steady blood flow and reduces the risk of high blood pressure. 

I have eaten bad fat; how do I get rid of it?

Consuming bad or unhealthy fats will create a series of health risks such as obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, certain cancers, and others. If you are experiencing any of those diseases, consumption of unhealthy fats may be the cause. 

It is high time you stop eating foods that have high amounts of those unhealthy fats. Here are the examples of foods you should eat in moderation or stop eating if possible. 

If you have been eating unhealthy fats lately, a quick solution is to stop and switch to eating healthy fats. 

To get rid of the unhealthy fat build up in the body, this is where workouts come in. You should start working out in order to stay healthy and flush out the unhealthy fats from the body. 

The bottom line.

Since the so-called unhealthy fats are around us and in our day to day it may be hard to cut them out of our diets.  It is better to consume foods with unhealthy fats in moderation. Aim at eating foods that have healthy fats in order to stay healthy and never miss the healthy benefits these fats offer. 

Before you sign out, the related articles below may be important to you.

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Health benefits of fish oilOpens in a new tab.

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