Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The realities about fat and cardiovascular health

Dietary fat can be beneficial or detrimental to the heart. Make an informed choice.

There are 'no fats, low fats, healthy fats, and bad fats. Dietary fat has a lengthy and often perplexing history. Where does it fit into a balanced diet, and what effect does it have on your health, particularly your heart? The following are some facts regarding fat.

A tale about two kinds of fat

Saturated and unsaturated fats are the two types. (A third form, trans fat, has been abolished or significantly reduced in food products.)

Saturated fat is regarded as "bad" fat. It is found mostly in animal products such as beef and pork, as well as dairy products such as cream, butter, and cheese. Other sources include fast food and processed meals.

Unsaturated fat is the "healthy" type of fat. There are two major subtypes of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Monounsaturated. Avocados, peanuts, peanut butter, and nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans contain these lipids. Additionally, certain oils, such as olive, peanut, safflower, sunflower, and canola, contain significant amounts.

Polyunsaturated. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are among these lipids. These are also referred to as essential fats because they cannot be synthesised by the body and must be obtained through meals. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in oils such as soybean, corn, sesame, and peanut. Additionally, they are abundant in walnuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseeds. Canola and soybean oils, as well as fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, and trout, contain omega-3 fatty acids.

The ideal kind

Fat is critical to your health. It is an important source of energy and aids in the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals by the body. It is a crucial component of each cell in your body, from the construction of cell membranes to the formation of insulating layers surrounding neurons. Additionally, fat is required for blood coagulation and muscular action.

However, the proper kind is required. This is particularly true when it comes to cardiovascular health. There is some disagreement over the extent to which saturated fat contributes to heart disease. Nonetheless, excessive amounts can result in an increase in total cholesterol levels, including an increase in "bad" LDL cholesterol. A high level of LDL cholesterol can result in atherosclerosis, a kind of blood vessel disease that can result in heart attacks and strokes. As a result, the majority of guidelines recommend limiting saturated fat intake to less than 10% of daily calories.

In comparison, monounsaturated fat contributes to the reduction of LDL cholesterol and the maintenance of "good" HDL cholesterol. Additionally, it has been shown to increase the functionality of blood vessels. Polyunsaturated fats contribute to the reduction of high blood pressure and triglycerides, a kind of fat found in the blood that can contribute to plaque accumulation in the arteries. They may also help reduce your risk of stroke. 

The connection between fat and stroke

Consuming extra polyunsaturated fat can contribute to stroke prevention. The researchers recently analysed 27 years of follow-up data for 117,136 persons who were all clear of cardiac disease at the time of recruitment. They completed food frequency questionnaires every four years, allowing the researchers to determine the amount, source, and type of fat consumed. The findings indicated that those who consumed the most polyunsaturated fat were 12 per cent less likely to suffer a stroke than those who consumed the least. One interesting finding: consumption of dairy fat-containing items such as cheese, butter, milk, and cream was not associated with an increased risk of stroke. The findings were reported at the 2021 Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association.

Increasing and decreasing

The most effective strategy for managing dietary fat is a two-step approach: reduce saturated fat and increase polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Nonetheless, you must be cautious about the amount of healthy fat you ingest. Avocados, plant oils, and nuts are considered energy-dense foods, which means they contain a high caloric content in a small serving.

A DASH or Mediterranean-style diet is one solution. These stress mono- and polyunsaturated fats and are associated with a lower incidence of overeating. Another strategy is to incorporate tiny amounts of healthy fat into daily meals. For example, instead of butter while baking or sautéing, use olive oil, peanut oil, or maize oil. Use these oils in place of salad dressing, butter, or sour cream on salads and sides. Substitute fish for red meat, spread avocado or nut butter on toast, and munch on palm-sized servings of nuts and seeds.

Whole meals are regarded as the best source of the proper type of fat.


Olive oil

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