Knowing the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats in foods will help us make healthier choices in our daily diet.
Saturated fats (known also as bad fats) are solid at room temperature and in most cases are of animal origin. Of plant products only coconut and palm oil contain saturated fats. Due to its high melting temperature, they remain in a solid state in the human body, which leads to clogging arteries and increase bad cholesterol levels.
Unsaturated fats (known also as good fats) are liquid at room temperature. They not only destroy the bad cholesterol, but are vital for good health. The body can not produce them, so they must be taken from food. They are mainly derived from vegetable sources such as olive oil and canola oil.
Trans fats have a similar structure as saturated fats and can raise the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. This type of fats are the worst choice and are found mostly in packaged foods. It is important to read labels carefully and avoid products that say they contain “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils”.
Foods high in saturated and unsaturated fats. Bad and good fats list.
Unsaturated fats (good fats) are from vegetable sources. Examples of foods high in unsaturated fats are:
- olive oil
- canola oil
- hazelnuts oil
- oil of peanuts
- almond oil
- vegetable oils
- fish. Here best sources of unsaturated fats are fish such as salmon, mackerel and trout
Types of unsaturated fats:
- Monounsaturated fats – found in nuts and olive oil and tend to increase levels of good cholesterol and decrease bad cholesterol levels.
- Polyunsaturated fats – are likely to reduce the production of both the bad and good cholesterol. This group includes omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which have a number of health benefits.
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are healthy fat foods.
Unsaturated fats benefits: improve skin and hair, slow the aging process; extremely important for brain development; strengthen the immune system and regulate blood sugar levels. Unsaturated fats benefits are very important because they prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. They protect the body from allergy, inflammatory disorders, arthritis, and allergies. Participate in the formation of sperm too.
Saturated fats are found naturally in many foods. Some examples of foods high in saturated fats (bad fats) are:
- skin from chicken
- pieces fatty beef and pork
- cream and ice cream
- dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat milk