By Leo Galland M.D. and Jonathan Galland
Healthy fats and oils can provide major health benefits. For example, some omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats are important for maintaining good health of the body and brain. In addition, healthy fats and oils can help people absorb nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, E or carotenoids. To get the full nutritional value in a salad, it’s good to have some healthy fat or oil at the same time. As we explain in our book The Fat Resistance Diet, science now tells us that eating healthy fats is essential for good health.
The omega-3 fats are found in cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Vegetarian sources of omega-3’s are flaxseeds, soybeans and walnuts, and to some extent leafy green vegetables and sea vegetables. Omega-3s may help heal inflammation and increase metabolism. These healthy fats can contribute to a youthful appearance making skin, hair and nails healthy.
Because of their high levels of omega-3 fats, fish oils have been shown to help improve a variety of conditions. As part of a balanced diet, fish oils may help with arthritis, colitis, depression, psoriasis, menstrual cramps, multiple sclerosis, and problems with memory and attention. Omega-6 fats are found in many nuts, seeds and seed oils (walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds are examples), and in soybeans.
Unhealthy fats and oils are those that can undermine health or those that lack nutritional value. For example, certain saturated fats and oils can contribute to health problems. Frequent consumption of high-fat animal foods such as bacon, chicken skin, and butter, can mean too much saturated fat in the diet, increasing the risk of diabetes, weight gain, inflammation, and cardiovascular problems. There are two simple steps you can take to help lower your intake of saturated fat. First, choose only lean cuts of meat, and skip anything deep-fried. Second, when having dairy products, switch to nonfat and lowfat varieties.
Trans fats are the most dangerous fats. They interfere with the body's normal chemistry and actually block effects of the essential fats. They may be twice as bad as saturated fat in increasing the risk of heart disease. They contribute to weight gain, inflammation and depositing of fat around the waistline.
The kinds of products that contain trans fats such as hydrogenated vegetable oil, include breads, rolls and pastries, cookies, cakes, crackers as well as many types of fried food. Avoid consuming trans fats by reading the labels on food you buy from a store. Skip anything with hydrogenated oil or partially-hydrogenated oil on the label.