Natural sources of healthy fats

Oils derived from plants, such as sunflower, peanut, walnut, almond and olive oil, are good sources of healthy fats, say experts.

The mono-unsaturated fats in almonds, the omerga-3 fatty acids in walnuts, the omega-6 fatty acids in seeds and nuts and their oils, may lower the chances of a series of ailments including cancer, heart diseases, Alzheimers and depression, suggests studies.

Olive OilOlive oil: It is one of the most abundant sources of beneficial monos and polyphenols, both of which are protective compounds that prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease, while also reducing inflammation that could lead to chronic illness.  A study conducted on 755 women in Canary Islands, where the highest rate of breast cancer was reported, revealed that these women hardly consumed olive oil, while the rest of Spain consumed more than 8.8gms a day, and hence, were less likely to get the disease.

peanut butterPeanut & Peanut Butter: Although peanuts and peanut butter pack a lot of calories, a research by Pennsylvania State University researchers revealed that about 14000 people, who regularly consumed peanut butter, had lower body mass index and cholesterol intake, than those who never ate peanuts. Also, the beta-sitosterol plant chemical, which was found in peanuts, had the ability to block cholesterol absorption from foods, and also inhibited tumor growths.

WalnutsWalnuts: These have the highest content of Omega-3 fats, and are one of the few plant sources that protects against heart diseases, inflammation, arthritis and asthma, while also improving cognitive functioning of the body. About 14 halves of walnut gives 2.6g of Omega-3 fats.

almondsAlmonds:  They help in improving cardiovascular health. In a study conducted at the University of California, researchers substituted half the fat in their diet with almonds and almond oil, which included about 48 nuts and 32gms of almond oil per day. By the end of six weeks, both men and women had lower levels of total cholesterols, LDL and trigylcerides, while their HDL levels (good Cholesterol) increased by 6%.

Sunflower oil: The sunflower seeds from which the sunflower oil is extracted, contain linoleic acids, which, when added to diet helps in synthesizing other fats and essential fatty acids, which the human body, otherwise, cannot produce by itself.

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