We can hardly keep our hands off those scrumptious fries, kebabs, nuggets, and pakoras, wadas, chips, samosas because they are absolutely irresistible! But these deep-fried delicacies are loaded with too much oil. The result – we end up consuming more fat than required and become prone to obesity. The reason – fats are not assimilated in the body at the rate of other micronutrients like carbohydrates and are not excreted when ingested in excess. They rather get accumulated in the body and add to bad body fat and weight instead of muscle weight. Fats are calorie dense as compared to carbohydrates and proteins, contributing a whopping 9Kcal per gram of fat.
The human blood carries two types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. Out of these, HDL is the good cholesterol while excessive LDL is bad for our health. LDL deposits in the blood vessels and important organs like heart and eventually blocks arteries, leading to atherosclerosis. Too much consumption of unhealthy fats like saturated and trans fats can raise the bad cholesterol of our body, exposing the risk to heart diseases and stroke.
Saturated fats are obtained from animal sources such as meat and dairy products and plant sources like coconut and palm oil. Artificial trans fats are formed due to partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fats. These are hydrogenated for easy storage, longer shelf life and to prevent rancidity. Trans fats formed naturally by animals and other sources aren’t considered quite harmful, but artificially made ones have serious health consequences. Saturated fats are found in high amount in products like cakes, biscuits and cookies, toffees, fatty meat and animal derives fats. Trans fats are high in products like frozen pizza, shortenings, bakery products like pies and cakes, fried foods like fries and doughnuts. These food items are quite a delicacy, but they are loaded with unhealthy fats which can be detrimental to our health.
Firstly, we can moderate the consumption of this calorie dense macronutrient and secondly, we can choose to eat healthy fats instead. One such fat, ghee is considered as a sattvic food and is recommended by health experts albeit its saturated fat content. Ghee helps in enhancing the good cholesterol content of the body. Ghee made from the milk of grass-fed cows is naturally rich in vitamin A, E and K. Research shows that ghee is beneficial to reduce chances of ulcers and cancers of the gut. Ghee is rich in butyric acid which is involved in the production of T-cells which help with body immunity. Butyric acid is an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer constituent too. Ghee is essential for balancing hormones related to thyroid dysfunction. It aids in weight loss by lifting up the body’s metabolism. Similarly, rice bran oil and olive oil are healthy oils too. Rice bran oil is rich in vitamin E, oryzanol, plant sterols and is packed with healthy unsaturated heart healthy fats rather than saturated ones. Olive oil, a staple component of the Mediterranean diet, considered as the healthiest, most balanced and nutritious diet in the world is high in monounsaturated fats, the good fats which help in curing ailments of liver, cancer, heart and reduce the oxidative stress in body by scavenging free radicals through antioxidants present in it. Omega-3 and omega-6 fats when consumed in proportionate amounts are also a good source of healthy fats.
Consuming fats is necessary to carry various metabolic functions of the body, but it is our choice which makes the big difference. Healthy fats go a long way in protective and healthy body functions, while unhealthy fats are empty calories and gradually deteriorate our health and body. So, it is upto us to make choices which promote a healthy body and longevity, adding to quality of life.