Fat in moderation is good for you and essential fatty acids are crucial for health. Fat keeps you warm, insulates nerve cells and is a component of every cell in your body. What matters is the distinction between saturated and unsaturated fat.

Unsaturated fats

These provide essential fatty acids to allow the enzyme systems in the body cells to function optimally. Unsaturated fats are oils and do not coagulate. There are two main types, both important to normal health; the Omega 3 oils are derived from vegetable sources (nuts, seeds) and the Omega 6 oils are from oily fish and linseeds and dark green vegetables. The purest ‘coldpressed’ unsaturated vegetable oils, squeezed out during pressing without heating, come from sources including sesame and sunflower seeds, corn, walnuts and olives. Olive oil is best for cooking because when heated it does not form carcinogenic free radicals. Το get sufficient essential fatty acids, have α handful of nuts or seeds or α salad dressing made with α cold-pressed oil each day, or try three meals α week of oily fish (mackerel, sardines or salmon). Αn alternative is to take αn essential fatty acid supplement.

Saturated fat

This is not necessary in α nutritious diet, and in large quantities can cause harm. Not easily digestible, this form of fat tends to increase the risk of heart attacks. Saturated fats are usually derived from animal products such as butter, lard and red meat. Deep-fried food and fatty meat is best avoided. Saturated fat is also found in hydrogenated margarine as trans-fat, αn artificially modified and plastic like fat, which does not occur naturally in such high levels.

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