More often than not, we avoid fats in our diet as they are believed to be unhealthy. But did you know that not all fats are unhealthy. In fact, some of them are actually believed to be healthy and should be consumed as they provide protection against certain health problems.
Fats are useful for promoting overall health as they provide the body with energy. They also help keep the skin and hair healthy and insulate the body and help keep it warm.
There are different types of fats. The essential fats obtained from food provide the body with necessary fatty acids - linoleic and linolenic acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and help prevent blood clotting. They also help in proper brain functioning.
All fats contain two types of fatty acids: saturated and unsaturated. Foods with high levels of saturated fats such as whole milk, cheese, butter etc. can lead to high levels of cholesterol which in turn can cause cardiovascular diseases. Unsaturated fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats on the other hand are good for health.
Some of the healthy food sources of unsaturated fat are - olives, peanut butter, nuts and seeds, tofu, soy milk, flax seeds, soybean, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout, etc.
Let us now look at some of the reasons why you should include good healthy fats in your diet:
1) Provides Energy
Proteins and carbohydrates cannot provide enough energy to the body. Here's when fat is needed as an energy source. Studies suggest that 1 gram of fat can provide 9 calories of energy for your body. Without fat body starts breaking down muscle tissues and thus, it becomes extremely important to include fats in your diet so as to provide us with the required amount of energy.
2) Maintains Body Temperature
Fat provides the body with its own personal insulation system which in turn helps us remain warm. Thus, fat provides a layer of protection from extreme cold and prevents us from freezing.
3) Helps Absorb Nutrients
Fats help your body absorb certain important nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K. Vitamin A protects the body against infection, vitamin D helps regulate the immune system, vitamin E serves as an antioxidant and vitamin K provides protection against blood clotting.
4) Helps Heal Wounds
During the wound healing process, the body requires extra amount of cell membranes and these are provided by fatty acids. Thus, fats help in the healing process by creating new tissues and help us stay fit and active.
5) Helps Prevent Dry Skin
Unsaturated fats help prevent dry skin by holding moisture and plumping it up. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, avocado, walnuts, etc. reduce symptoms of dry skin and may even provide protection against skin diseases like eczema.
6) Helps Prevent Joint Problems
Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids have certain anti-inflammatory properties which in turn may reduce symptoms associated with arthritis. Therefore, you should start consuming foods with healthy omega-3 fatty acids such as sardines, mackerels, salmon, flaxseeds and walnuts.
7) Helps Prevent Mouth Sores
Fat is also believed to prevent oral problems like mouth sores. Fish like salmon contain vitamin B12 which is considered useful in promoting oral health and also preventing mouth sores.