Nutrition Tip of the Week: Healthy Fats!
By: VIDA Registered Dietitian Courtney Puidk
Dietary fats are a necessary component of a healthful lifestyle. Not only does fat coat the stomach and slow digestion, resulting in earlier satiety, it also contributes a smooth and creamy mouthfeel for foods such as yogurt and aids the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (those would be A, D, E and K). Not to mention the brain is made from fat, fat cells and fat soluble vitamins regulate hormones and other biological processes, fats makes up part of the membrane of each cell in the body and also protect our organs.
Fats that are solid at room temperature are referred to as “saturated fats”, meaning the carbons in their chemical structures are saturated with hydrogens. These fats mostly come from animal sources, like mayonnaise, butter, and the fat found on cuts of meat. Some plant sources, such as coconut oil and nuts, contain some saturated fats, as well.
Fats that are liquid at room temperature are referred to “unsaturated fats”, and tend to be more beneficial for our insides. These include oils made from plant sources.
Although the relationship between dietary fat and cholesterol is still being examined, the best sources of fat in the diet are consumed from oils such as olive, flaxseed and walnut; nuts and seeds; eggs, fish and avocados.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and limited in fried foods is the best way to obtain a well balanced diet that will meet all your nutritional needs. Fats included!