Our philosophy is always, “what goes on, goes in”.
So, it seems only fitting that we write about the all-important good fats for health.
But with so much information on the types of fats, we are the first to admit it can get really confusing,
So for you, our dear readers, we are going to try to simplify things:
Good fats for health
Palaeontologists tell us that our ancestors had diets rich in aquatic animals, strange bugs, and weird seeds, in fact, all manner of things, that didn’t stand a fighting chance of escaping the terrors of our canine teeth.
These crunchy plant and swimming type animals contained heaps of unsaturated Omega-3s that supported our brain’s development, due to its high DHA content.
Interestingly, our brain is built from fatty acids and omega-DHA. It is imperative for memory and thinking; polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (EFAs) are a primary component for developing healthy cell membranes.
Anyway fast forward and we discovered we could make things easier on ourselves with all that lovely fried food, sadly this reduced our correct intake of omega-3s that are essential to cell function; which perform key roles in maintaining optimal health throughout our body and skin for that matter.
How essential fatty acids help your body
- they are inflammation-moderating: that reduces cytokine messenger chemicals which cause excessive inflammation within our body. Take chronic inflammation; for example, this is a catalyst for atherosclerosis, the leading cause of cardiovascular disease
- they perform an important role in the production of hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins. These regulate different functions in your body like inflammatory and allergic responses, kidney function, nerve transmission, and blood pressure
- they can help to balance and control fats that circulate within our bloodstreams like cholesterol and triglycerides
- they help decrease blood clotting
- they support arterial expansion and contraction
- they reduce the risk for obesity by assisting insulin response, this they do by stimulating leptin secretions, the hormone that helps regulate food intake and weight
- they help to prevent cancer cell growth
- they improve disorders like ADD and ADHD
- they support the healing of sunburn and regeneration of your skin’s barrier function
This article is an interesting read on omega 3 and its importance in heart health.
Symptoms caused by a deficiency in essential fatty acids
These are just some of the conditions and diseases that have been linked to a deficiency in essential fats, which your body requires for health:
- autoimmune disease
- brittle nails and hair
- psoriasis and eczema
- dry, scaly, itchy skin
- inability to concentrate
- growth deficiency
- memory loss
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- joint pain
All fo these symptoms are associated with EFA deficiencies. So, you could say, these fats are vital for you.
If you think about it, our brains are made from around 60% fat. Because our body can’t naturally produce these fats, we need to be including around one-third of these essential fatty acids in our diet. However, it is important to note that it should be no more than 20% of your total calories in fat.
Unfortunately, unless you are going out of your way to eat these good fats, chances are you are not getting enough of the right types of fats in your diet.
Many healthy edible oils are good for us.
The average western diet usually contains a combination of all 3 of the following types of fats:
- sunflower seed oil, which contains mostly polyunsaturated fat
- olive oil, which contains monounsaturated fat
- meat, which is mostly all saturated fat
It is recommended that no more than one-third of our total daily fat intake contain saturated fat from a nutritionist perspective, this is the hard type of fat that can clog your arteries if you eat too much of it.
Ideally, one-third of our fat also needs to come from polyunsaturated oils or fats – this is where it starts to become tricky because, within the polyunsaturated fat family, there are two essential fats; Omega 6 and Omega 3.
Sadly, many people eat too much-saturated fat in the West and are deficient in Omega 6 and Omega 3.
Many of the polyunsaturated fats eaten in the diet today come from hydrogenated fats; these are damaged fats that have been processed, known as hydrogenated fats.
Margarine is a perfect example of this kind of damaged fat that is really bad for your health, to find out about more fats for health, follow the link.