In nutrition, biology, or chemistry, fat usually means any ester or fatty acid, or a mixture of such compounds. Fats are essential constituents of our daily diets, they help you absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K which are fat-soluble. Fats also fills your fat cell and insulates your body to help keep you warm.
Fat is a source of essential fatty acid which the body cannot produce by itself. Some general importance of fat in the body includes:
- Provision of energy for the body, along with carbohydrate and protein
- They lower triacylglycerol and help to fight inflammation
- They insulate us and protect our vital organs
- They act as messengers and transporters of fat-soluble vitamins in the body
- They aid in the production of hormones in the body
- They are important for brain health and development
Our body needs fat for energy, transport, and other functions, but too much fat in the body can cause cholesterol to build up in the blood vessels and increases the risk of high blood pressure, cancer, stroke, obesity, and heart diseases
There are four major dietary fats in the food we find in our meals:
Saturated fats; which are solid at room temperatures such as milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, chicken skin, and meat. The average daily intake of saturated fats for adults 19-64 years is 12 percent of our meals.
Unsaturated fat which is liquid at room temperatures such as peanut butter, olive oil, avocado and avocado oil, fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel.
Polyunsaturated fat; from a chemical standpoint, polyunsaturated fat has more than one double bond in its molecule. they are also considered healthy and helps to reduce the risk of heart diseases. Examples are sunflower seed, flaxseed, flax oil, walnuts, corn oil, soybeans oil, and safflower oil. They reduce the risk of heart disease by 19 percent.
Monosaturated fats are healthy fats most commonly found in nuts, olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil, seeds, olive oil, and some animal-based food. Some general Features of monosaturated fats includes:
- Monosaturated fats like all fats contain nine calories per gram.
- They are liquid at room temperature but becomes hard when chilled
- They do not add extra calorie to our diet
- They have only one double bond in their chemical structure
Benefits of monosaturated fat
Monosaturated remains the healthiest type of fat and should be added to our diet
- They can help to lower your cholesterol level and free clogged arteries thereby reducing the risk of high blood pressure, heart diseases, and stroke
- Taking monosaturated fat in your diet reduces the amount of fat content you consume thereby helping you to lose weight
- Consumption of monosaturated fat helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer
- Monosaturated fat in our diet helps to control blood sugar level and improve insulin sensitivity in the body
- Consumption of monosaturated fats helps to boost the immune system and prevent inflammation thereby protecting the body from risks of chronic diseases
- Monosaturated fat helps to improve the testosterone level in the body
- They contribute vitamin E to our diet which provides support for the immune system.
Omega fatty acid: also known as omega-3 fatty acid is characterized by the presence of double bond three atoms way from the terminal methyl group in their chemical structure. Foods that provide omega-3 fatty acids are seafood like salmon, herrings, sardines, mackerel and tuna, nuts and seeds such as chia seed, walnut, and flaxseed, and plant oil such as soybean oil and canola oil. some general health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid include:
- It helps to lower blood pressure
- It reduces the likelihood of stroke and heart disease
- It helps to reduce the possibility of heart attack and prevents high blood pressure
- It helps to raise the dopamine level in the brain that triggers sexual arousal
- Reduces the development of clogging in the arteries
- It promotes a healthier brain and prevents deterioration of the brain
- It improves dry eyes and reduces the need for artificial tears
Tips to replace unhealthy fats with healthy foods
- Replace red meat with beans, nuts, and poultry fish
- Add avocado to salad and sandwiches
- Reduce intake of cheese and butter and take more nuts and olive oil
- Don’t replace saturated fat with refined carbohydrate and sugary foods
- Trim as much visible fat from chicken and red meat as before cooking
- Bake, broil, and grill met, avoid frying
- Reduce intake of processed meat and sausages and replace them with lean meats
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Eat more fish and chicken instead of red meat