Nutrition can be a confusing subject. Deciding what to eat or what not to eat can take as much study as homework.
One of the bigger questions about nutrition is how to distinguish between the types of fats. We can help you with that answer.
Food is the main fuel source for the body. Without a steady stream of food, the body misses out on certain nutrients.
It can compensate for a while but eventually it will begin to falter in its functioning without proper fuel.
This can lead to all sorts of health problems in the body.
When it comes to fats, some people avoid eating them because they have heard that they are bad. But, eating a low-fat diet can cause metabolic problems in the body. According to the food pyramid we need fats in our diets each day. But, which ones?
The Skinny on Fats
Fat is a necessary nutrient. The body contains fat in different places. Fat that surrounds the organs is called visceral fat. It protects them from harm.
Fat is needed in cellular membranes. Each cell has a protective membrane to filter through nutrients. This membrane is divided into two layers: a hydrophobic (water-hating) layer and a hydrophilic (water-loving) layer. This allows fat molecules like lipoproteins to penetrate the membrane to transport nutrients to the cell.
Fat is also used to cover nerve cells with a myelin sheath. This allows for faster nerve conduction across the muscles and protects the nerves from damage.
So, fat is important but the right kinds are what you want to have. Here is a list of the types of fats you will most likely encounter.
* Polyunsaturated fats – These are some of the best fats that you can have. They consist of those found in fish like salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids fall into this category. They can be found in certain oils like safflower and sunflower also.
* Monounsaturated fats – These are also termed “good fats.” They are found in nuts and their oils, olive oil and canola oil. They come in handy when cooking, for example when sautéing vegetables or lean meats.
* Saturated fats – They are unhealthy for you. These fats contribute to increased body fat and to potential plaque build-up in the arteries of the body. This category includes fried foods, fatty meats, eggs and full-fat dairy products.
* Trans fats – These are also called partially hydrogenated fats. They are created when liquid oil is injected with hydrogen to give it a semi-solid consistency at room temperature. They are found in some packaged sweets and fried foods.
Good fats help to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise the good cholesterol (HDL) panel. Just the opposite is true of bad fats. They raise the bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower the good (HDL) leading to increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Increasing your levels of certain fats can either make you healthier or give your body a turn for the worse. Choose better fats to lower your risk of certain conditions including cancer.
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