Fats 101: Everything you need to know about fats

Often misjudged, fats are actually an essential part of our diet. They do several good things for us – from providing energy, helping in absorbing vitamins, and of course healthy skin and hair. Fats are needed for excellent overall health and well-being. Nevertheless, not all fats are really “good”. It’s confusing, isn’t it? 

Well, we at Gramiyaa can offer you some information and tell you more about fats. 

What are the different types of fats?

It is important to understand the different types of fats, so that we can make the right dietary choices. Fats have so many functions in the body, but not all fats are the same. Here are the different types of fats and how they affect our health –

Saturated fats

Unsaturated fats

Trans fats

These fats are normally solid at room temperature and are found in butter, ghee, coconut oil, fatty meat cuts, and processed meat such as sausages and salami. 

These fats are liquid at room temperature and are of the following two types:

  • Monounsaturated fats (MUFA): These are found in plant based oils such as olive oil, avocados, and canola. These fats are known for being heart-healthy.

  • Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA): Examples of foods with polyunsaturated fats fish oil, flaxseed oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, etc.. PUFA are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are very important for brain function and heart health.

Trans fats happen to be the bad boys of the fat world. They are artificial fats created through a process called hydrogenation (a process in refining oils), which makes them solid at room temperature. Often found in processed foods like deep fried snacks, bakery items, and margarine, they are notorious for being unhealthy and need to be avoided as much as possible.

Sources of fats and oils:

Fats and oils are available in many sources, including both plants and animal sources. Understanding these sources is necessary for making the right food choices. Here, take a closer look at some common sources:

  • Animal fats: Here are some examples - 
        • Butter: Made by stirring milk-cream, butter is a great source of saturated fats. It is a very common ingredient in every kitchen, used in cooking and baking.
        • Ghee: Ghee or clarified butter is present in every Indian kitchen, and has both, culinary as well as religious significance. From cooking, to lighting diyas and using them as medicines, ghee has varied uses.
        • Fish oils: Fish oils, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, are popular for their numerous health benefits, including promoting heart health, reducing inflammation, and supporting brain function. Salmon, Mackerel and Tuna are among the best sources.
  • Plant fats: The examples include - 
        • Olive oil: Extracted from olives, olive oil is popular for its rich flavour and numerous health benefits. From decadent pizzas to hearty salads, they have many uses.
        • Coconut oil: Extracted from the flesh of coconuts, this oil is high in saturated fats and is used in cooking, baking, and skincare. That’s why at Gramiyaa, we recommend consuming no more than 2 spoons of coconut oil per day.
        • Sunflower oil: Having a very mild flavour, this oil is a very common ingredient in every Indian kitchen.
        • Rice bran oil: Popular in Indian kitchens, rice bran oil is used in regular cooking and is a good of unsaturated fatty acids.
  • Nuts and seeds: Here are some common examples - 
      • Peanuts: Very commonly available everywhere, peanuts are a great source of good fats as well as proteins.
      • Almonds: Almonds are a rich source of MUFA and are commonly eaten as a snack or used to make almond butter and almond oil.
      • Walnuts: These are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are often added to salads, baked goods, and trail mixes for a healthy boost.
      • Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and can be added to smoothies, yogurt, and baked goods for added nutrition.

    Choosing healthy oils:

    When you ask yourself, what type of fats are good, it is necessary to understand what good fats are composed of. Good oils give our bodies the essential nutrients and contribute to overall well-being. Here are some features to look for while picking oils:

    • High in monounsaturated fats: Good oils are rich in MUFA, which are known to have a number of health benefits, such as better heart health and anti-inflammatory properties.
    • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are good fats which play a big role in brain function and heart health. Oils such as flaxseed oil, walnuts and certain fish oils, are superb sources of omega-3s.
    • Low in saturated fats: The oil you choose must contain very less, or no saturated fats, as these fats are known to increase the risk of heart diseases and other health problems.
    • Versatility: As against the popular myths, cold pressed oils can be very versatile and can be used in various types of cooking. So based on the kind of food you prepare or the way you cook, you can choose the oil. For example, groundnut and coconut oils are perfect for medium heat cooking whereas sesame and mustard oils can be used if the food is cooked at high temperature. 
    • Organic and non-GMO: As much as possible, choose oils that are organic and made using non-GMO ingredients, as they are free from artificial chemical pesticides and genetically modified seeds.
    • Minimal processing: Oils are considered good, if they do not undergo heavy processing to retain their natural nutrients and flavour. 

    One category of oil which ticks all the boxes on the checklist are cold pressed oils. They are extracted without the use of heat or chemicals, preserving their natural flavour and nutritional value. There are several benefits of using cold pressed oils. Let’s discuss them.

    Cold pressed oils – your answer to what type of fats are good!

    Cold pressed oils are extracted from seeds, nuts, or fruits using traditional methods, which do not include using heat or refining using chemicals. This not only helps preserve the natural flavour of the seeds, but also retain the nutritional value. At Gramiyaa, you’ll find the following cold pressed oils:

    • Cold pressed coconut oil:

      Known for its unique flavour and aroma, cold pressed coconut oil has amazing health benefits. 
    • Cold pressed groundnut oil:

      Also known as peanut oil, this mildly flavoured oil is high in monounsaturated fats and is rich in many nutrients, making it perfect for everyday cooking.
    • Cold pressed sesame oil:

      With its nutty flavour and high smoke point, cold pressed sesame oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamins other than being simply delicious.
    • Cold pressed mustard oil:

      Perfect for everyday cooking and pickling, this oil has a strong taste and aroma and has several health benefits.

    Making healthy fats a part of your diet can lead to overall well-being – however moderation is the key. By choosing cold pressed options by Gramiyaa, you can enjoy delicious and nutritious meals while being watchful of your health.

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