Are fats ac­tu­ally bad for health?

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle -

Should we eat peanuts? Al­monds? Are all fats and oils bad for our health? These ques­tions of­ten cross our mind. Fats and oils are made up of fatty acids. Some of these such as omega-6 pro­mote cancer growth, some block it (like omega-3). Some in­crease the risk of heart dis­ease and stroke while some re­duce it. Some are linked with de­pres­sion and skin prob­lems while oth­ers en­sure emo­tional and phys­i­cal well­be­ing. It is a unique blend of these fatty acids that in­flu­ence our health.

The bad fats: Sat­u­rated fats in meat and dairy prod­ucts in­clud­ing high-fat milk, cheese, but­ter, high-fat curd, and trop­i­cal oils up the risk of heart dis­ease, di­a­betes and obe­sity.

The good fats: These oils are good for your health and con­tain MUFA (mo­noun­sat­u­rated fatty acids). They are found in olives, ground­nuts and rape­seed (canola oil). Mus­tard, se­same seed (til) flaxseed (lin­seed), have a fairly good amount of MUFA. They pro­tect our car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem and re­duce in­sulin re­sis­tance which leads to type 2 di­a­betes and are also linked with cancer. Olive oil is the rich­est in MUFA and helps re­duce the bad choles­terol.

An­other type of fat is EFA or es­sen­tial fatty acids. The name sug­gests that these are nec­es­sary for growth and de­vel­op­ment and they are es­sen­tial be­cause the body can­not man­u­fac­ture them. There are two fam­i­lies of EFA namely omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 is found in veg­etable oils made from corn, saf­flower, cot­ton­seed, sun­flower, etc. While omega3 is found in wal­nuts, soya beans, fish, leafy veg­eta­bles, canola oil and flaxseeds. Our body func­tions best when you take a bal­anced amount of omega-6 and omega-3. The In­dian diet con­tains more of omega-6 than omega-3, which is linked to a range of de­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases such as arthri­tis, di­a­betes, obe­sity, heart dis­ease, etc.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES; FOR REPRESENTATIONAL PUR­POSES ONLY

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