Healthy fats – everything you need to know about themFebruary 14, 2022
- Gesund leben
- Healthy lifestyle
Healthy fats as an important part of our diet? Unthinkable for many, because over the years fat has fallen into disrepute due to fitness cults and diet concepts. As the number one bogeyman, it is blamed for obesity and seen as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. However, fats can also have a positive effect on our health, because they are important energy suppliers and have indispensable functions in our body.
In this article you will learn why healthy fats are better than their reputation, in which foods you can find them and how you can cleverly integrate them into your everyday life.
What are healthy fats?
Along with carbohydrates and protein, fat is one of the basic nutrients in our food. It provides us with energy and is an important building block for building and maintaining our cells. It would therefore be wrong to say that fat per se is unhealthy or bad. In fact, it is essential for life. However, we must differentiate between two different groups of fats: saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
Large amounts of saturated fatty acids lead to more of the so-called LDL cholesterol, which settles in the arteries and increases the risk of heart disease and strokes. They are found, for example, in animal products such as butter, cheese, bacon, meat and sausage. (1)
Unsaturated fatty acids, on the other hand, help the body to transport the bad cholesterol to the liver, where it is eventually broken down. They therefore have a positive effect on heart health and also protect the nervous system. For this reason, unsaturated fatty acids are an integral part of a healthy diet.
Unsaturated fatty acids can in turn be divided into two groups: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. While the former are found in foods such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, avocados and nuts, the latter are found in flaxseed, nuts, rapeseed oil and fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel. They also include omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Why do we need healthy fats?
First and foremost, fat is an important source of energy, because one gram of fat provides an impressive 9 kcal, which is more than twice as much energy as protein or carbohydrates. But that is not the only task that fat performs in our organism. For example, fat surrounds our organs and protects them from injury. In addition, healthy fats promote cell growth, protect our cells from diseases and are needed to transport the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
What do healthy fats do?
Because healthy fats transport bad cholesterol out of our arteries, they reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. This is also shown in a 2018 study by Harvard University (1).
Instead of the unhealthy LDL cholesterol, unsaturated fatty acids produce the so-called HDL cholesterol. Its job is to absorb LDL and transport it to the liver, where it is broken down and ultimately excreted. In order for the healthy fats to fulfil their task, however, the consumption of saturated fatty acids must also be reduced.
The most important sources of unsaturated fatty acids
Healthy fats are found not exclusively, but predominantly in plant foods. For example, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils contain a considerable amount of unsaturated fatty acids. But fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel are also among the best sources of healthy fats.
Information about the fat content of different foods, and whether they contain saturated or unsaturated fatty acids, can be found in the nutrition table printed on packaging.
Nuts and seeds as healthy sources of fat
Among the most popular sources of healthy fats are nuts and seeds. Hazelnuts, walnuts and the like contain only a few saturated fatty acids and a lot of healthy unsaturated fatty acids. The same applies to seeds in all shapes and colours, such as linseed or chia seeds. Among other things, they provide the body with important omega-3 fatty acids and thus support the heart and brain in their work.
Chocolate Pudding Oats with Walnuts
- First, put the oat flakes in a saucepan with the custard powder, cocoa powder, water and milk.
- If you like, you can add a little maple syrup to sweeten.
- Bring the pudding oats to the boil and stir well with a whisk until the mixture starts to thicken. At first the mixture will still be very runny, but after a few minutes it will gradually thicken.
- When the mixture starts to thicken, turn off the heat and stir for 1 minute more.
- Then take the pudding oats off the heat and leave them to stand for another 2 minutes or so.
- You can use different nuts or seeds as toppings. We used walnuts and cocoa nibs, as well as some almond paste as toppings for the pudding oats.
Healthy fats for breakfast
It’s best to fuel your body with healthy fats at breakfast to keep it well nourished throughout the day. It’s easy with Verival breakfast products, because with our sophisticated ingredient lists, you don’t have to worry about getting enough nutrients.
For example, our popular Sport Protein Porridge Cocoa-Banana contains a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids in addition to high-quality vegetable protein.
If that’s not enough, you can top it off with nuts as an oatmeal topping. Nut puree is particularly recommended, such as Verival’s organic crunchy almond butter. If the almonds are finely ground, the nutrients they contain can be better absorbed by the body.
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- #gesundes Frühstück