Our body needs fats to function well, to give the body energy, support cell growth, absorb nutrients and produce hormones. Fatty acids strongly influence the ‘fluidity’ of the cell and the ability of the cell wall to allow red blood cells through with life-sustaining nutrients. The membrane of every cell is a thin layer of fat that encloses and protects it and in fact the brain it 60% fat (lipids). We also needs fats to protect our organs and keep us warm.
Most foods we eat will contain a number of different kinds of fat. Some help to promote good health, whereas others can lead to disease such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
There are a few different types of fats:
Saturated fat, trans fat, unsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat. Saturated and trans fats are the ones you want to cut back on. Saturated fats comes mainly from animal sources and this has been associated with raising the total blood cholesterol levels. They can be found in things such as meat, dairy products such as milk, cream and butter as well as oils such as palm oil.
Trans fat occurs naturally in some foods, especially from animals, however most trans fats are made during a process in food processing called partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fats. They basically make fats that are easier to cook with and less likely to spoil. These are also known as industrial or synthetic fats which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Most fats that have a high percentage of saturated or trans fats are solid at room temperature – margarine, butter, beef fat, and pork fat. So try and stay away from these as much as you possibly can.
A little more on hydrogenation…
This is a chemical process where ordinary vegetable oils are chemically changed to make them hard so that they won’t melt in your hand. Basically, the hydrogen makes the fat hard, which is why it sticks to your arteries. It’s great for the food manufacturers because it adds substance to their products increases the shelf life and stability of the foods containing these fats. However, it’s bad news for you and definitely not doing anything good for your body.
The reason we have been programmed to think that fats are so bad for us, is because many of us have been eating too much of the wrong types of fats. Saturated fats and trans fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol, increase your weight and increase your risk of heart disease.
Saturdated fats can also harm the body because generally they cannot be digested properly. They stay in the blood far too long and begin to stick to the inside of blood vessels which leads to many conditions including high blood pressure and stroke. These fats can also interfere with the metabolism of other foods and the removal of waste products.
What happens when we don’t have enough good fats?
Unsaturated fats are the good fats, and these include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. For example, omega-3’s which can help lower levels of cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease. If we don’t have enough good fats, our moods can be affected, mental clarity is reduced, fatigued, and obesity. By having lots of good fats, your moods can be managed, it boosts mental agility, fights fatigue and actually helps to control weight. Under consumption of good fats will reduce all of their benefits.
Have a tablespoon of cold pressed seed oil (sunflower, sesame or flax) or a ground tablespoon of seeds a day!! Your mood and energy should certainly feel the benefits.
Essential fatty acids …
There are different types of fatty acids, including Omega-3 and Omega-6. These are considered ‘essential’. Omega-9 is another type but it can be produced within the body where as the other two cannot be.
Omega-3 is vital for brain function and can play a role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. It it also helpful in supporting the symptoms and lowiring the risk of the following:
• Skin Disorders , High Cholesterol
• High Blood Pressure
• Attention Disorders
• Depressive Disorders
Omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in:
• Brazil Nuts
• Mustard Seeds
• Pumpkin Seeds, Wheat Germ Oil
• Canola Oil (Rapeseed)
• Green Leafy Vegetables
• Raw Walnuts & Walnut Oil
• Flaxseeds or Flaxseed Oil
Omega-6 should be combined with omega-3 so that you gain many more health benefits. It is however, important to eat them in the right quantities, omega-6: omega-3, 2:1.
The best sources of omega-6 are seeds, nuts, grains and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale and lettuce. You can also find it in raw vegetable oils and also:
• Olive oil
• Sesame Oil
• Hempseed Oil
• Pumpkin Seeds
• Sunflower Oil
• Cottonseed Oil
• Raw Nuts & Seeds