But wait! There’s a catch. You’ve got to eat the right kinds of fat. Take monounsaturated fats for example, they’ve been found to increase the body’s ability to absorb the anti-cancer compounds in raw vegetables. From The Journal of Nutrition
Dietary lipids are hypothesized to be an important factor for carotenoid bioavailability. However, most carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables are low in lipids. The objective of this study was to assess whether the addition of avocado fruit as a lipid source enhances carotenoid absorption in humans…The addition of avocado to salsa enhanced lycopene and ß-carotene absorption (P < 0.003), resulting in 4.4 and 2.6 times the mean AUC after intake of avocado-free salsa, respectively…In conclusion, adding avocado fruit can significantly enhance carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa, which is attributed primarily to the lipids present in avocado.Lisa Ryckman of the Rocky Mountain News lists some other food sources of monounsaturated fats and points out their health benefits too
. Take a look:
Fat is also one of the nutrients every body needs. It's critical to absorbing fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and it's the source of fatty acids essential to proper body function.
Most nutrition plans recommend limiting fat calories to less than 30 percent of total daily intake, and saturated fat to less than 10 percent. For a typical 2,000-calorie day, that means about 65 grams of total fat.
While pretty much all fat used to be considered the dieter's nemesis, that's no longer the case. We now know that some fats - particularly the monounsaturated fat found in avocados, olives and nuts - can actually help raise the HDL or "good" cholesterol, which lowers the risk of heart disease.
Now, it’s important to note the dangers of saturated fats. “Thousands of scientific research studies demonstrate that saturated fat promotes both heart disease and cancer,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. From Seminars in Vascular Medicine
In observational epidemiologic studies, lower blood cholesterol is associated with a reduced risk from coronary heart disease (CHD) throughout the normal range of cholesterol values observed in most Western populations…Dietary saturated fat is the chief determinant of total and LDL cholesterol levels. Replacing 60% of the intake of saturated fat by other fats and reducing the intake of dietary cholesterol could reduce blood total cholesterol levels by about 0.8 mmol/l (that is by 10 to 15%), with four fifths of this reduction being in LDL cholesterol.
And this study in Cancer Research
Diet can influence cancer in animals by affecting the initiation or subsequent preneoplastic stage of tumorigenesis, but it has less effect on tumor growth. Caloric restriction has a general inhibitory influence on tumorigenesis. Dietary fat, on the other hand, tends to promote tumorigenesis, but only certain types of tumors, such as mammary tumors, are affected. Both caloric restriction and dietary fat appear to act primarily during the preneoplastic state, and their effects on hormone-dependent tumors may be mediated through changes in the hormonal environment. Variations in other dietary factors, such as protein, vitamins, or minerals, above the levels required for normal maintenance seem to have little influence on the genesis or growth of tumors.
Unfortunately, fat is not as simple as monounsaturated fats versus saturated fats, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s Glossary of Cholesterol
for more. Here’s a snippet:
Fat is one of the three macronutrients (along with protein and carbohydrate) that supply calories to the body. Fats provide 9 calories per gram, more than twice the number provided by carbohydrates or protein.
Fats provide the "essential" fatty acids, which are not made by the body and must be obtained from food. Fatty acids provide the raw materials that help control blood pressure, blood clotting, inflammation and other important body functions.
Fat is essential for the proper functioning of the body. Healthy skin and hair are maintained by fat. Fat helps in the absorption and transport through the bloodstream of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats perform vital and valuable role in the body.
But in the end, just be sure to get your nutrients from good foods. “I consider the ideal diet to be one that contains at least 90 percent of calories from the healthiest foods; vegetables, fruits, beans, raw nuts and seeds, avocados, and whole grains,” explains Dr. Fuhrman.