Is Fat A Necessary Part Of My Diet? Part 3
Fats (lipids) are made up of fats and oils. They are necessary for life. They insulate the body's organs from extreme heat or cold temperatures and mechanical shock. They help maintain the hair and skin. They supply fuel to the body. Fats also give many foods their flavor aroma.
Lipids can be further divided into saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils. Saturated lipids are derived mostly from animal products such as cheese, butter and eggs. There are also plant sources of saturated oils such as coconut, and palm kernel oils. These fats are solid at room temperature. These are actually the most stable oils. They do not easily become rancid and are better than other oils for cooking.
Monounsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature and solid when refrigerated. They do not easily become rancid. These oils do not remove the good cholesterol (HDL) from the blood. They also help to lower the amount of what is considered to be bad cholesterol (LDL) from the blood. The LDL oils are the ones that cause cholesterol to be deposited in the arteries. Olive oil is the most monounsaturated oil as well as almond, avocado, peanut and macadamia oils. Studies have shown that Mediterranean's who consume a large amount of fat, mostly from olive oil, have a lower risk for heart disease.
Polyunsaturated oils remain liquid even if refrigerated. They become rancid easily. These oils reduce the good as well as the bad cholesterol. The polyunsaturated oils are the margarine, refined vegetable oils and shortenings that you find at your local grocer. In the case of polyunsaturated oils, there is found to be an increased risk for heart attack and cancer. These oils also contain hydrogenated oils.
All fats are made up of one molecule of glycerol attached to three fatty acid molecules. The glycerol is the same substance used to make glycerin soap. Essential fatty acids are essential for good health. They are linoleic acid, which includes omega 6 and 9 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid, which includes omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids must come from food. I will refer to them as Omega 3, 6, and 9. Fatty acids provide insulation for our organs and help absorb shock. They provide energy and heat. Fatty acids are used to construct the bodies membranes and are used for essential hormone-like function. Fatty acids are essential for our brain, sense organs, adrenal glands, and testes. Nerve impulses rely on these essential fatty acids. They are required for every cell in the body to carry out various functions.
The oils that represent primarily the omega 3 group are flax and fish oils. The omega 6 group are sunflower, black currant seed, primrose and borage oils. The omega 9 group includes canola, chicken fat, turkey fat, macadamia, peanut, almond, and olive oils. Back to Part 2