Fats have a bad reputation, that they are harmful and that they should be avoided, but in fact, this it is not entirely true – if we enjoy so-called good fats and avoid the bad ones, then it’s right the opposite.
When we talk about fat in the diet and the metabolic processes we have in mind fatty acids. There are thousands of different fatty acids, which are essential for our health for lowering blood cholesterol levels, strengthening the immune system, affecting the skin and hair and help to maintain a normal body weight.
Some of them irreplaceable and vital called essential fatty acids. Because the body can not produce them, we must get them with food.
Types of fat
There are three main types of fats which differ in chemical structure, which means that they have different properties:
- Saturated fatty acids are the worst and excessive consumption leads to increased risk of heart attacks and obesity. The body can only use it as a source of energy, they are usually in animal products (butter, cheese, meat products, milk and dairy products).
- Monounsaturated or monounsaturated fatty acids omega 9 (oleic acid) are not essential, but because of the many benefits, it is highly recommended to eat them. They contribute to the preservation and enhancement of muscle mass, increase metabolism and burn excess fat, act as antioxidants and are beneficial for blood clotting, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, lowering bad and raising levels of good.
- Unsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids are divided into two main groups: omega-3 (linoleic acid) and omega 6 (linoleic acid, arachidonic acid). The body needs them,and they are so-called essential fatty acids. They help in the production of energy and transportation of oxygen in the body, important for the formation of hemoglobin, increase metabolism, strengthen the immune system, dampen and suppress inflammation, lower blood pressure, useful for cardiovascular diseases, reduce the need for insulin and help with depression.
Where to find them?
- Omega 9: are present in certain plants and their oils. They are particularly rich in olive oil, avocados, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts.
- Omega 3 are found in linseed oil and cottonseed, evening primrose oil, fish oil and fatty fish (salmon, tuna, cod, mackerel, sardines), scallops, walnuts, soybeans and soy products (tofu), kiwi, mustard seeds …
- Omega 6: with them are rich in all cold-pressed and unrefined vegetable oils – sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, corn, canola and hemp, but mostly it contains saffron.
- The proportion of fat in the daily energy intake should not exceed 30 percent.
- Pay attention to the proportion between omega-3 and omega 6.
- Excessive intake of omega 6 fatty acids because the formation of harmful hormones (prostaglandins) causes harm to the body. In addition, they negate some of the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids, which due to the frequency of omega-6 fatty acids in food can happen fast.
- For human health, it is important to have the proper ratio between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids as recommended by the World Health Organisation is between 1: 2 and 1: 8.
- Eat unroasted and unsalted peanuts.
- When cooking, use extra virgin olive oil. Several studies have shown that high proportion of olive oil, which is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, is the reason for lower morbidity and mortality of the Mediterranean people for heart disease.
- Make a few minor changes to your health which in the long-term brings major benefits.
- Replace whole milk with skim, sausages and salami with preserved fish, milk chocolate with dark.