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| by Cairo Capital Clinics

Which Fats Are Nutritionist Approved and How to Include It in Your Diet?

Fats are an essential part of our diet and are important for good health. There are different types of fats, some fats being healthier than others. To help make sure you stay healthy, it is important to eat unsaturated fats in reasonable amounts as part of a balanced diet. However, if fats are consumed in large amounts, even the healthy ones, can contribute to weight gain and increased risk of diseases.

It is also very important to closely monitor the body fat percentage to achieve good health. The ideal body fat percentage for women between ages 20-39 should be 21-33%, while those between ages 40-60 should be from 23-34%. As for men between 20-39, the percentage should be from 8-19%, and for ages 40-60 it should be 11-21%.

In order to achieve this, it is very important to follow a diet low in saturated fats and trans fats, and to include moderate amounts of unsaturated fats.

Benefits of healthy fats:

1. Consuming healthy fats is very important, as it helps in the formation of HDL which is known as the good cholesterol needed to help keep the arteries clean. Proper HDL levels in the blood helps the body get rid of extra unhealthy fats in the blood vessels, by carrying it to the liver for riddance.

2. They help in the proper absorption of vitamin A, D, E and K, thus preventing the formation of deficiencies in these vitamins.

3. Brain functioning: Adequate intake of healthy fats is very important for brain health, therefore in affecting your mood.

4. Hormone and gene regulation: Fats regulate the production of the reproductive and steroid hormones, as well as genes involved in growth and metabolism. 

5. Helps you feel full for longer.

What is the recommended daily fat intake?

The daily amount will differ from one person to another depending on the daily caloric intake and the weight goal. As a general rule, daily fat consumption should range from 20-35% of the total daily caloric intake. So for example; in a 1500 calories diet, if 30% of it will be fat, then that equates to 50 grams.

However, it has been found through many studies that the best diet to follow is the "Mediterranean diet," which is considered one of the healthiest diets for providing a good balance between protein, carbohydrates and healthy monounsaturated fats.

What kind of healthy fats should be included in the diet?

It is best to consume unsaturated fats, as they help reduce the risk of heart disease and they lower cholesterol levels (among other health benefits) when they replace the saturated fats in the diet. There are two main types of unsaturated fats:

1. Polyunsaturated fats

Which is divided into:

- Omega-3 fats, found in fish (specifically oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel), cod liver oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts and dark, green, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli.

- Omega-6 fats, which are found in some oils, such as: sunflower oil, canola oil, safflower and soybean oil, along with some nuts, including Brazil nuts.

However, it is very important to consume more omega 3 than omega 6 foods to decrease the risk of inflammation, blood clots, heart attacks, cancer and depression.

2. Monounsaturated fats:

These are found in both animal and plant foods, such as: olive oil, olives, avocado, nuts (raw almonds, cashew, macadamia nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, and pecans), peanuts, nut butters, canola oil and beef.

Here's a great smoothie recipe full of some of the healthy ingredients mentioned above...


Kiwi Avocado smoothie: (2 servings)

Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup  almond milk.

- 1/2 a medium ripe avocado.

- 1 cup fresh spinach leaves.

- 2 medium sized kiwis.

- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

- 1 Tbsp almond butter

- 1 Tbsp honey

- Ice

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. For a thinner smoothie texture, add an extra 1/2 cup of almond milk.

Tip: this mixture can be poured in a popsicle tray, then placed in the freezer as a healthy ice cream option.

Nutrition Information (For 1 serving):

Calories: 227

Total fat: 14g, Saturated fat: 1.1g

Sodium: 18 mg

Carbohydrates: 33.6g

Fiber: 6g

Sugar: 15g

Protein: 5.5g


Article By: Dr. Marwa El Tawil

About: Dr. Marwa is a certified clinical nutritionist and specialist in fitness nutrition, as well as sports nutrition. She is a member of the Egyptian Arab Society for Healthy and Therapeutic Nutrition "EASHTN". She provides nutrition plans for; Children weight management, weight loss and healthy weight gain, obesity management, diabetes, detox diet plans, pregnant and lactating women, and eating disorders.


Main Image Credits: Instagram @talinegabriel


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