What’s Really in Our Food?

Saniya Yousuf Apr 22 2015

Given the need for dietary change there is a requirement for a greater understanding of the element that affects food choice that is ‘taste’.

Taste is consistently reported as major influence food choices. A liking for sweetness, a disliking for bitterness and attraction to fatty meals is considered as an inborn human trait. When we refrain from consuming food with a high fat content, we don’t realize that we are also depriving our bodies of some needed nutrients.

The fat in our diets help with growth, brain and nervous system function, healthy skin, bone protection, insulation and works as a cushion for your organs. But not all fats are the same or provide the same health benefits. All foods containing fats have a varying mixture of saturated or monounsaturated fats that we need to know about.

The human body needs both saturated fats and unsaturated fats to remain healthy. Most dietary recommendations suggest that, of the daily intake of fat, a higher proportion should be from unsaturated (polysaturated or monosaturated fats), as they are believed to promote good cholesterol and help prevent cardiovascular disease, whereas an overabundance of saturated fats is thought to promote bad cholesterol.

Talking about unsaturated fats, these fats are found in some plant-based sources such as coconut, palm and palm kernel oils. Good sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as sunflower oils.

Oils that contain monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled whereas common sources of saturated fat include red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods, cheese, coconut oil, and many commercially prepared baked goods and other foods.

Saturated fats are more solid and have a chemical structure that is more tightly packed. A diet rich in saturated fats can drive up total cholesterol, and tip the balance toward more harmful LDL cholesterol, which prompts blockages to form in arteries in the heart and elsewhere in the body. For that reason, most nutrition experts recommend limiting saturated fat.

Polysaturated fat is Omega 3, foods that provide omega-3 fatty acids include fish oil and certain plant and nut oils, we need to increase our consumption of long chain omega 3 as it is a fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to provide a wide range of health benefits, including a lower risk of coronary heart disease and improvement in cholesterol.

There have also been promising results from studies looking at omega-3 for cancer, depression, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Due to these potential health benefits, fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, has become a popular supplement too. It’s omega-3 – and it’s time you got to know the daily dose that’s good for just about every single part of your body.

Although high dosage of omega 3 may have harmful effects, such as increased bleeding risk, higher levels of low-density lipoprotein, cholesterol, blood sugar control problems, and a “fishy” odor.

Olive oil and canola oil that are monosaturated fats are both marketed as heart healthy oils for cooking and baking. Health conscious people often confuse when to choose between the canola oil and olive oil. While some of them strongly believe that canola oil is extremely good for health, others stay firm on the belief that olive oil is far better.

It may sound strange to you, but the fact is that both these oils have some striking similarities because of their health benefits. However, while both oils are healthy, the two oils are very different. Olive oil is oil that is made by pressing ripe olives and collecting their juices; canola oil is made from a hybrid of the rapeseed plant, and is a vegetable oil.

There is much dispute about canola oil and its benefits. While some experts are of the opinion that the oil is not healthy for human beings, a different quarter recommends the same as highly nutritious. All in all, olive oil is considered the healthier oil because of the nutrients it contains.

Extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidants, polyphenols and omega-3 fatty acids with can promote cardiovascular health and cognitive function as well as boosting your immune system and protecting you from many types of cancer but canola oil is generally low in saturated fats and healthy for heart. Olive oil contains marginally high level of saturated fat than Canola.

Saniya Yousuf

Saniya Yousuf:

Saniya Yousuf is a student of Media Sciences at Ziauddin University and an Internee at HTV who has a love for art and writing. With the immense love for writing, words grew from a mild interest to an integral part of what defines her.