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Fatty Acids Are Necessary To Maintain Good Health

 

 According to many nutritional specialists, all fats should be avoided. This is a simplistic point of view, one that has led many people to follow an incomplete diet. There are, in fact, good fates and bad fats. And if you intend to lead a health lifestyle, you will need to distinguish between the two.

Certain fats, specifically fatty acids, are the major components of the human body’s cell membranes. Fatty acids are also used by the brain, inner ear, adrenal, glands and sex organs. In these very active body tissues, fatty acids are essential to maintenance of appropriately high levels of oxygen. Without them, you would quickly grow ill and die.

Your body also needs fat to supply it with energy: fat dishes out about nine calories of energy per gram. A fit, 75 kg man who has 15 percent of his body fat will carry 12 percent of his fat as an energy reserve, while the other three percent acts as insulation and cushioning for vital organs.

All food fats and food oils are composed of fatty acids. As the name implies, a fatty acid is part fat, part acid. Chemically speaking, it consists of a carbon chain with carbon and hydrogen atoms. Different fatty acids have chains of different lengths.

Short chain fatty acids- butyric acid in butter, for example – contain four carbons. Fish oils and the long chain fats that comprise most of the human brain have to 20 to 24 carbons.

The body has the ability to change the long chain fatty acids of more than 16 carbons into unsaturated form; it can also lengthen unsaturated fatty acids by inserting empty spaces known as double bonds. But there are two fatty acids that the body cannot produce organically: linoleic and linolenic acid, both of which belong to the long chain (18 carbons) variety. These two essential fatty acids must be provided through the food you eat.

Sources Of Essential Fats

The best source of essential fatty acids is flex, or linseed, oil. Other options include pumpkin seeds, walnuts and soybean. If you can’t locate these products, then opt for a true cold pressed soybeans or walnut oil. Make sure the walnuts are freshly cracked, or you may end up with rancid oil- light quickly destroyed the fragile essential fatty acids in the exposed nutmeats. Another way to get your daily dose of essential fatty acids is by eating coldwater fish containing eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). The ideal sources of EPA and DHA are salmon, sardines and mackerel. Low fat fish offer insignificant amount of essential fats, while clams and oysters have too little fat to provide you with what your body needs, although they content.

If you don’t care for fish, your only reasonable option is to buy extra virgin olive oil. Though olive oil doesn’t contain enough of the essential fatty acids to take care of your daily requirements, it does offer large measures of a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid. This major fatty acid is used in your cell membranes, in the walls of your arteries and in the oils produced by the skin glands.

Oil and Fats to Avoid:

While olive oil and other unsaturated fats offer both health benefits and delicious eating, saturated fats clog your arteries and do little to enhance the taste of food. Saturated fats are insoluble in water and stick together to form drops, which then dry into hard deposits, or plaque. Once inside the body these nasty plagues cling to cells, organs and arteries along with equally sticky cholesterol. Excessive intake of saturated fat is the major cause of degenerative cardiovascular disease—the fastest growing killer in India today.

Foods laden with saturated fats are palm kernel and coconut oils, beef, pork, lamb, eggs, milk, cheese and other whole fat dairy products. Try to avoid these foods as much as possible. The point is to be more careful about the way in which your food is prepared. Avoid fried meats. Remove all visible fat and skin from meat and poultry, and steer clear wieners and sausages.

Your best bet would be to stay away from all the processed oils. Processed oils are sanitized for a long shelf life, hence, they lack the most nutritionally important fats for your dies. Linoleic and linolenic acid, for example, are removed from linseed and other food oils to make them mote stable. Remember that unsaturated fats are more biologically active; this means that their unstable character will allow them to spoil if exposed to light, heat or oxygen.

Beware of oils, especially soybean that is supposedly cold pressed, meaning that they’ve been produced without the heat that kills the nutrients. If your cold pressed soybean oils is odourless, tasteless, clear and packed in a clear bottle then it’s probably nutritionally worthless. True clod press soybean oils has a strong smell and taste, and is never clear after filtering—is has a light or dark brown color.

How much fat do you need?

Knowing which oils to avoid is only half the battle, you also need to know how munch fat is necessary to maintain a health diet. And the fact is, you really don’t need all that much. Try to limit you’re your fat intake to about 15 per cent of your total daily caloric consumption. Of this 15 per cent, three per cent should be saturated fat, four per cent monounsaturated fat, four per cent linolenic acid and four per cent linoleic acid. At 2500 calories per day, this breaks down to 375 calories, or 42 grams of fat. If you’re serious about you health, that’s all the fat that’s required.

Simple health rules

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