What is fat?
As human being we need three macronutrients to survive, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Fat is an essential part of our diet. It is a type of lipid called a triglyceride, it consists of three fatty acids bound to a molecule of glycerol. We need a small amount of good fat for the body to complete certain processes, essential for our brain development and maintenance. We use fat as a source of energy; during shortages of food, our body can convert fat into glucose. Fat allows our body to process and absorb vitamins like A,D,E and k which are all fat soluble.
Types of fat?
There are several kinds of fats. Saturated or trans fats generally seen as bad are mostly solid at room temperature. The other being unsaturated including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated known as healthy fats (such as olives, avocado, nuts and seeds and vegetable oils that are mostly liquids at room temperature. Saturated fat is a type of fatty acid found in foods like butter, cream, fatty meats, fried, pre-packaged foods. It is fully saturated with hydrogen molecules and has single bonds which create a straight molecule structure. All of the potential hydrogen atom spaces are filled, having no gaps they pack together tightly to form a solid (a higher melting point) Whilst the double bonds in unsaturated fats creates a kink not allowing them to pack closely together, hence their liquid state at room temperature and are easier for the body to break down.
Saturated and mono saturated
All saturated and monounsaturated are produced within the body and do not to be added through diet. The body produces more saturated fat than it needs. We do however need to consume essential fatty acids which belong to a group of polyunsaturated fats, two polyunsaturates we need are known as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and the other LA (linoleic acid). ALA is found in foods like flax seeds, wheat germ and dark leafy greens. One “weed” or wild edible in particular my favorite whilst foraging is called purslane (portulaca oleracea). It is packed with omega 3. Recent research demonstrates that purslane has better nutritional quality than the major cultivated vegetables, with higher beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid. Additionally, purslane has been described as a power food because of its high nutritive and antioxidant properties. composition and benefits (amazing superfood grows wild)
Fat sources in fish?
Another source of omega 3 is fish however our seas are heavily polluted. Fish bio-accumulate any toxins in their tissues and have high levels of mercury, lead and radioactive substances ect. Also fish contains cholesterol so one wishing to reduce theirs should adopt to opt a plant based option of omega 3. Plus fish digests slowly and actually ferments in our system. Espcially if you are eating a low fiber diet, ie low fruits and veggies. Foods rich in LA (omega 6) are breads, cereals, eggs ect are easily consumed normally, generally people have to increase their ALA in their diet. Studies show that the optimal balance of LA:ALA is 2:1. However most diets are around 20:1 (which is unbelievable) this unbalance creates issues if there is too much, the enzymes will be busy converting LA to GLA and none will be left to convert ALA to DHA (sounds complicated i know)
Consuming essential fatty acids
The health benefits from consuming essential fatty acids are numerous including supporting healthy skin, hair, thyroid function, adrenals, healthy cell membranes, regulation of blood pressure, blood clotting, liver function, hormone production, immune system and inflammatory responses, breakdown and transport of cholesterol. So where do we get them?
Continued in the next post stay tuned!