About Fatty Acids

For a few decades we have been told that low fat food products are good for our health. Since then a pandemic increase of all kind of lifestyle diseases has been observed. Partly because fat in the products was replaced by sugar. But it is time now to recognize the role of different fats for our health and acknowledge essential omega fats.

Is it good to include fats in my daily diet?

Recent studies show that not all fats are the same. Fatty acids are divided into three groups: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). The last two are also called unsaturated fats.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) is a term referring to the PUFAs your body needs but cannot produce (or convert from other fats), so they must be obtained from your diet.

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs)

The main PUFAs giving most benefits to your health are omega-6 and omega-3. Both of these groups comprise different long-chain fatty acids that are vital for many of body functions.

Omega-6 and omega-3 both contain essential nutrients, which have constitutive function in organism. Both lipids interact, therefore it is important to have enough quantity of them. Often a product contains both of them, but in most cases omega-6 prevails, thus omega-6 is easier to take up.

Well known omega-6 fatty acids are Linoleic acid (LS) and Arachidonic acid (AS). They are found in such products as corn, sunflower, soybean, canola and sesame oils.

Omega-3 fatty acids may come from plant sources or fatty fish. The most essential long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish are Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Short-chain omega-3 that is called Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) can be found walnuts, flaxseeds (linseeds) and chia seeds. Although people can transform ALA into EPA and DHA in tiny amounts, animals and fish do it much better, therefore fatty fish is the best source of omega-3 EPA and DHA. Vegans and vegetarians, who do not eat fish, must pay attention to this, because they lack EPA and DHA in their diet.

The only way to get beneficial effect for health from EPA and DHA, is ingesting it, but to get it in sufficient levels, you will need to eat big amounts of fish daily. That is the reason why many people believe that supplements are the best choice.

How do I know, which fat is good for me?

The right answer for a healthy diet would be to choose food that contains a lot of “good” fat and decrease or abstain from food that contain large amounts of “bad” fat.

PUFAs are classified as “good” fats because they contain essential fats that cannot be produced by our bodies. These are good to get a good health condition and maintain it.

Saturated fats or trans fats are called “bad” fats. Studies show that large amounts increase disease risk, as well as increase levels of “bad” cholesterol.

Which supplement would be good?

I will discuss this issue in the next Article, but shortly saying you have to look for two properties:

1) Amount of EPA and DHA in the product. The higher it is, the better effect you may have;

2) Antioxidant added to restrain the product from getting rancid. The most common antioxidant is Vitamin E that unfortunately keeps product fresh only when it is in bottle or capsule, but cannot protect the oil in the body on sufficient level. The best supplement would be the one, where fish oil is protected by polyphenols from olive oil as it is in Zinzino’s BalanceOil.

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