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Oils and Fats: How Food Affects Health

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Fat isn’t a four-letter word! Choose the right fats to add flavor and improve your overall health.

Alongside carbs, proteins, and fats, they are a vital element of a healthy nutrition program. They provide more than twice the amount of calories in a gram than proteins and carbohydrates, which means that only a tiny amount of fat can provide a significant number of calories. But they do enhance the taste of food, and you should include healthy fats to ensure good health and weight and to maintain the normal functioning of your body.

Certain oils that are healthy, like canola and olive oils, are excellent sources of monounsaturated fats which have been found to reduce the levels of cholesterol as well as lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. They also are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that can help to keep the appearance of your skin healthy and can aid in protecting your eyesight.

Canola oil, along with flaxseed and walnut oils, offers omega-3 fatty acids, which is a kind of fat known to alleviate arthritis pain as well as reduce triglycerides and increase cholesterol levels. Omega-3s also aid in reducing the severity and frequency of migraine headaches. They also help to protect our skin from sun-induced damage and slow memory decline.

Saturated fats can be found in a few vegetable oils (palm oil and palm kernel oil are the only two oils you’ll find in packaged food products); however, they are included in a wide range of condiments and spreads, such as butter, cream cheese, lard shortening, as well as cream- and cheese-based dressings for salads as well as in the skin of poultry, as well as specific cuts of beef. Although saturated fats were considered to cause heart disease and inflammation, which could worsen other ailments, Recent research has rendered this concern less definite. Therefore, even though the jury isn’t entirely out whether saturated fats are as harmful as they’ve been believed to be, it’s vital to stay away from going “butter crazy” and still eat in moderation until more studies are conducted.

Trans fats are by far the most dangerous kind of fat. While dairy and meat products contain small amounts of naturally occurring trans fat, the vast majority of trans fats in the US are made by humans. These trans fats made by man are made by adding hydrogen into vegetable oils. They are utilized in baked products and deep-frying oils to prolong shelf-life. Trans fats can raise cholesterol levels, particularly your bad (LDL) cholesterol, and reduce the healthy (HDL) cholesterol level, increasing the chance of developing coronary heart diseases in a way that is higher than saturated fats. They also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cause inflammation, which may cause more pain in arthritis. Stick margarine usually contains trans fats and, therefore, should be avoided. However, many varieties of soft tub margarine have been made trans-fat-free. To find healthy spreads, ensure that the label states 0 grams of trans fat and that the ingredients panel doesn’t list the hydrogenated oil in any way.

Other spreads include spreads of stanol and sterol. Sterols and Stanols are two natural substances that can be found in small quantities within the cells of certain plants. Sterols and stanols share an identical structure to cholesterol. They compete with cholesterol to gain access to receptors within digestion, thereby hindering the absorption of diet cholesterol, resulting in reduced blood cholesterol levels. Since it is difficult to obtain therapeutic doses from foods alone, producers have added concentrated quantities of stanols and steroids to heart-healthy spreads similar to margarine’s taste and cooking. These spreads should only be used by those with high cholesterol levels, and are advised to limit consumption to 2 to 3 tablespoons a day. Try the lighter varieties of the spreads to cut down on calories.

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