Healthy Fats And The Prevention Of Heart Diseases
“By replacing saturated fats with mono and poly unsaturated fats the incidence of heart disease will be less”
Types Of Fats
A vegetable diet provides healthy fats and not all fats are bad, thus your daily consumption of fat should be 20-25 per cent. Also, the way you cook your food is important as deep frying, reusing oil, or hydrogenation for commercial purposes converts healthy fat into unhealthy fat.
There are three types of fats – saturated fats, monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). Animal sources of fat is saturated. And vegetable sources of fat are main sources of mono and poly unsaturated fat.
Composition Of Fats
Saturated fats have carbon atoms bound to two hydrogen atoms. Polyunsaturated fats have free carbon atoms with no hydrogen atoms in between. But with hydrogenation, the free carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms. Hydrogenation is done commercially to improve shelf life of the food and is used mainly in bakery products, cookies. mithais and ready to eat snacks like sarnosas and namkeens.
Trans Fat In Oils
These trans fats are man made oils and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke. In India. it is available as dalda and vanaspati and most of the commercial establishments use these hydrogenated oils. Trans fats is instrumental in increasing the shelf life of products but unfortunately decreases human life.
Mono And Poly Unsaturated Fats
Saturated fats are mainly from animal sources like butter, ghee and meat. As these fats increase the chances of cardiovascular diseases, it is safer to restrict its usage to seven per cent of the total fat intake. By replacing saturated fats with mono and poly unsaturated fats, the incidence of heart disease will be less. Sunflower oil, rice bran oil, corn oil are poly unsaturated fats (PUFA). Olive oil, ground nut oil, soya bean oil are examples of mono unsaturated (MUFA) oils. And commercially available oils contain a combination of all these fats but only the percentage varies in each oil.
Good And Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol is an important component of our cell walls and other tissues. Hormones too are synthesized from cholesterol. And there are sub types of cholesterol. HDL is good cholesterol, which removes blockages from blood vessels. LDL is the bad cholesterol and blocks the blood vessels. Triglycerides (TG) make the LDL cholesterol active and indirectly causes blocks in the blood vessels. Thus, it is important to decrease TG through calories restriction and daily exercise. The daily consumption of cholesterol is 300mg and our LDL cholesterol is 70mg at birth.
Omega 3 And Omega 6 Fats
Although from plant sources, coconut oil and palm olein oil contain more saturated fats and can cause vascular occlusions. Most of these oils are rich in omega 6 fats with very little omega 3 fats. Fish and flaxseed oil are rich in omega 3 fats and are less likely to cause vascular disease. Thus, a balance ratio of 1:5 of omega 3 to omega 6 has to be maintained.
Dos And Don’ts
So, in risk groups like diabetes, hypertension, family history of heart disease, overweight, people with heart disease, persons whose habits are sedentary and stressful, the LDL cholesterol should be maintained between 70 mg-l00 mg. Smoking reduces good cholesterol (HDL) and exercise Increases HDL cholesterol. Saturated and trans fats increases LDL cholesterol. PUFA and MUFA decreases LDL and flaxseeds, fish oil increases HDL cholesterol. Accordingly, creating awareness, clarifying misconceptions, regular physical activities and approved dietary advice are the key factors responsible for the prevention of heart diseases.