Monday, October 18, 2010

Chewing the fat

I always advocate using low-fat and no-fat dairy products, cutting all visible fat off meat before cooking and I very seldom use oil in my recipes. But even using these measures, there is still adequate fat in my diet. For our health we need to eat fats, and there are risks associated with not getting enough.

From previous posts on vitamins, a while ago now, you may remember that vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat-soluble vitamins. This means that unless you have fats available from the foods you eat your body cannot absorb and utilize these vitamins. They are important for your immune system; for growth and repair; for your bones, teeth and hair; for your skin; for all your body cells.

If we don’t eat enough fats, chances are we are over-eating from other food groups, most likely starches and protein. This affects the balance of nutrients you get which can have a negative impact on health. High starch consumption increases appetite and invariably your waistline, and excess weight can lead to type-2 diabetes, while a high protein diet strains the liver and kidneys which can lead to osteoporosis.

We need fats to maintain our HDL cholesterol level – this is the friendly cholesterol that helps keep the unfriendly LDL in check and helps prevent heart disease. Essential fatty acids – specially Omega-3s – can raise HDL levels.

Insufficient dietary fats can cause depression, and make you more susceptible to stress, too. Omega-3s and Omega-6s are important for proper, regulated brain function because they insulate the nerve cells and improve nerve transmission.

Don’t cut out fats altogether; just cut back on saturated fats. The fats we eat should be mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats and these are readily available in vegetable oils, vegetables such as avocado pears, eggs (Omega-3 eggs contain up to three times the Omega-3s found in regular eggs), cold water fish, shell fish, nuts and seeds.

And you can re-read last Friday’s post to see how much is enough when it comes to fat.

1 comment:

Katherine Josh said...

i've been drinking bird nest soup every night (i only get the homemade kind back at home). the only reason why i drink it is because it's supposed to be good for complexion.

i’ve been taking the store-bought kind online (e.g. of famous branded only of course) which is directly mailed from Hong Kong. this would be at a more affordable price.