Healthy Fats

Good Fats

Also known as healthy fats, polyunsaturated fats can be split up into two types.  These are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats.  These types of fats can generally be found in sunflower oil, soy oil, corn oil, salmon, nuts and soybean and nutritional supplements. This type of fat is normally found in liquid form.

Like it’s monounsaturated counterpart, polyunsaturated oils also provide health benefits.  Health benefits of polyunsaturated fats include:

  • Lowering levels of bad cholesterol (Low Density Lipids).
  • Reducing the risk of a heart attack.
  • Prevents overeating from occurring through a hormone the fats send to the brain signifying that you are full.
  • Better absorption of minerals such as vitamins A, D, E and K.
  • A healthy brain through the production of cell membranes.
  • Healthy clear looking skin through the production of skin cell membranes.
  • Strong teeth and bones through omega-6 fatty acids improving the absorption of calcium.

Types of Essentail Fatty Acids

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are made of three main components.  These are alpa-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  The body does not produce its own ALAs, it has to be sourced from food such as salmon, tuna, mackeral, herring,  walnuts, soybean oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, brussel sprouts, spinach, kale and salad greens.

Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Can help protect the brain against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Lower elevated levels of triglycerides
  • Help decrease the inflammation that causes asthma
  • Lowers levels of depression
  • Minimise the effects of rheumatoid arthritis

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

These are healthy fats that are not produced by the body and need to be obtained from food.  One form of omega-6 fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid (GLA) does have health benefits.  This can be found in food sources such as corn oil, sun flower oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, walnuts, brazil nuts and sesame seeds.

Benefits of Omega-6 Fatty Acids

  • Supports brain function
  • Bone health
  • Reproductive health
  • Hair growth
  • Regulation of the metabolism

Effects of Consuming too many Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Consuming too much omega-6 fatty acids in relation to omega-3 fatty acids can lead to various ailments such as:

  • Onset of type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Autoimmune diseases

Once the ratio of consuming omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids is greater than 2-3:1 then the health benefits omega-6 fatty acids are reduced.  Also Omega-6 fatty acids act as an inflammatory in the body, omega 3 Fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory in the body.

The body does require some inflammatory actions to protect the body against injury and infection.  This inflammation is caused by the omega-6 fatty acids are broken down into inflammatory proteins at a slower rate than it takes for the body to metabolize these inflammatory proteins.  Left unsupervised this can then lead to the ailments mentioned above happening.

The solution to this is to consume less amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and consume more amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.  Stay away from omega-6 fatty acid sources such as peanut oil, corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil and any processed foods such as crackers, pastries and chips.

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