Posted by: godswaytohealth | October 27, 2012

GOOD FATS VS. BAD FATS – Part 2

GOOD FATS

The body needs good fats to function and to sustain life and they are found in plant source foods and are essential and required for the  normal cell, tissue, gland, and organ function. If we do not consume these good fats, their absence from the body will eventually cause death. When we add essential fatty acids to a deficient diet it reverses the symptoms and helps in the process of restoring health.

The reasons we need good fats is for:

  • Brain function (our brain is about 60% fat)
  • Digestion
  • Energy production
  • Improved dry skin, hair, and nail quality
  • Improved gut integrity
  • Improved hormone function
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved vision
  • Inflammation prevention
  • Lowering cancer risks
  • Proper hair growth
  • Proper insulin function
  • Stress prevention
  • Weight management

There are three types of essential fatty acids that the body must obtain from food to keep it from physical deterioration. Omega 3 and 6 are polyunsaturated fats and Omega 9 is known as oleic acids or monounsaturated fats.

Let’s take a look at each one of them:

Omega 3 Fatty Acids – an essential polyunsaturated fat found in fish, nuts, seeds, and plant oils. There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids

  1. ALA or alpha-linolenic acid – available from flaxseed and walnuts. ALA helps reduce heart disease and stroke by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  2. EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid – available from human breast milk and fish oils.
  3. DHA or docosahexaenoic acid – available from human breast milk and fish oils and algae.

EPA & DHA help with brain and eye development, prevent cardiovascular disease, and can help prevent Alzheimer’s.

Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that correct imbalances created by unhealthy diets, by lowering risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids – are also polyunsaturated fats essential for human health and can be found in most animal source foods, nuts, and plant based oils. There are two types of omega 6 fatty acids:

  1. LA or linoleic acid is an unsaturated omega 6 fatty acid available from plants, seeds, and nuts.
  2. AA or arachidonic acid is available from nuts, meat, eggs and dairy.

Most omega 6 fatty acids are obtained from animal sources and vegetable oils. However, excessive amounts, especially from animal sources, can contribute to inflammation, narrowing of the arteries, and result in heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis and depression.

A proper balance of 1:1 or 1: 2 between omega 3 and omega 6 fats in the diet promotes health, while an excess of omega 6 promotes inflammation and contributes to the development of coronary heart disease, cancer, and the development of Alzheimer’s.

Unfortunately the typical American diet contains 10 to 30 times more omega 6 fatty acids than omega 3 fatty acids, contributing to the increasing rates of inflammatory disorders that are so rampant today.

Omega 9 Fatty Acids – are known as oleic acids or monounsaturated fats. They are unsaturated fats found primarily in vegetable oils and almonds. Unlike omega 3 and 6, omega 9 fatty acids are produced by the body, but can also be beneficial when obtained from foods.

Although omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9 fatty acids all serve different functions within the body, when we eat a balanced amount of each one we are able to maintaining overall heart health and the general well-being of the body.

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the safest of the oils, although not a significant sources of omega 3 as some believe it to be. However when buying olive oil make sure the label reads “Extra Virgin”. This means the oil came from the first cold pressing of the flesh of the olive. If the label just reads “olive oil” it means the oil came from the heat processing of the seed. “Extra virgin olive oil” should be packaged in dark glass and never used for frying foods; use it only in its cold form in salad dressings, or sprinkle it on your food once it has been cooked.

Cold pressed Udo’s and flax oils are other safe oils if processed properly, are in dark containers, and refrigerated. It is important they be in dark glass containers and located in a refrigerated area of the store where you are buying it. It should be kept refrigerated at all times. These oils should never be used in cooking.

Fish oil is safe, if properly processed and comes from non-mercury sources (i.e. small fish like sardines and anchovies). Beware of fish oils in capsule form as they are often rancid. It is important that fish oils come in a dark glass container and once opened be kept refrigerated.

Organic virgin or extra virgin coconut oil is probably the safest and best oil available for cooking and is the only oil recommended for frying and cooking purposes. Extra virgin olive oil is fine but ONLY raw. Sauté in coconut oil, remove from heat and then add olive oil for flavor.

Coconut oil has a sweet coconut scent and flavor and though it is a saturated fat, it is heart healthy and health promoting (antibacterial, antimicrobial), and it doesn’t require refrigeration.

TOO KEEP IN MIND

When we heat poly- and mono-unsaturated fats we produce molecular changes, and these natural and healthy fats become unnatural and toxic fats. Essential fatty acids are extremely sensitive to destruction by light, air (oxygen), and heat. When fats are cooked or oxidized, they are chemically altered and are devoid of lipase, which leads to bad health.

We should make sure that the oils that we buy should be made under protection from these elements, pressed from organically-grown seeds to avoid toxic pesticide residues, bottled in dark glass and boxed for protection against light.

For additional information go to GOOD FATS VS. BAD FATS – Part 1

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