Facts You Need To Know About Fats
Every cell in the human body requires fats for metabolic functions. Fats carry fat-soluble vitamins, manufacture hormones, protect our organs and bones. Some types of fats are important to reduce triglycerides and cholesterol in our blood. Certain fats assist in lowering blood pressure, thinning the blood and preventing blood clots.
Fat, besides carbohydrates and proteins is a macronutrient. That means that the body cannot live without it. The energy value of fats is 9 kcal/gram (kilocalories per gram), which supplies the body with important sources of calories.
Fats and lipids are also involved in the production and regulation of steroid hormones, which are hydrophobic (or "water-fearing") molecules made from cholesterol. Steroid hormones are essential in regulating sexuality, reproduction, and development of the human sex organs, as well as in regulating the water balance in the body. Steroid hormones can also freely flow in and out of cells, and they modify the transcription process, which is the first step in protein synthesis, where segments of the cell’s DNA, or the genetic code, is copied.
Fats and lipids also have important structural roles in maintaining nerve impulse transmission, memory storage, and tissue structure. Lipids are the major component of cell membranes. In order to keep our cell membranes healthy and pliable, assuring maximum nutrient absorption, essential fatty acids need to be part of our daily diet.
Absorption: Our bodies cannot absorb various essential Vitamins unless there is fat. These include the fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K. No matter how much fruit you eat or how many vitamin supplements you take, if there is no fat they will not benefit you.
The amount of fish consumed today is 1/16 of what people used to eat 100 years ago, where mental problems and obesity were a much lesser concern for the majority of people as they are now.
Nervous System and Mental Health
The human brain consists to 70 percent of lipids (fats), and requires a regular intake of certain fats and cholesterol to function properly. According to many studies, inadequate and insufficient intake of certain fats and fatty acids loweres IQ levels.
Fatty acids are absolutely crucial for a healthy nervous system. People who are following extremely low fat diets usually have difficulties concentrating. Studies have shown that such people frequently suffer from hormonal imbalances that can cause depression. People who followed No-Fat-Diets reported extreme moodiness, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
A number of mental conditions and illnesses ranging from short term memory loss and loss of concentration, some depression, increased suicide rates, bi-polar disorders and schizophrenia, and in the longer term, even Alzheimer’s Disease could possibly be prevented or would be less frequent or severe for some individuals if they consumed the right amount and the right kind of fat.
Those right kinds of fat can be found in whole grains as well as in clean high quality Omega 3 products. The best sources are fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel). But also plant products like flax and chia seeds and flax seed oil, pecan nuts and walnuts and olive oil are good sources.
Any person who has suffered from anorexia nervosa, for example, can tell you about the hormonal effects she experienced after he or she rid her body of all body fat. She will tell you that her menstrual cycles and periods stopped altogether. As a consequence, many of those women suffer fertility problems. Men, too, can face sterility issues if they lack dietary fat or have too low cholesterol levels.
Animal fats contain a variety of trace minerals. The human body is believed to require sixty different minerals to function properly. These fats must come from food sources. Many of these minerals that are found in the fat are required for proper cellular function are rare, so when available the body stores them in your adipose (fat) cells for later use. Thus, including some animal fats (organic butter, small amounts of dairy and a little fish or meat) into the diet increases your intake of important mineral nutrients.
Many inflammatory conditions could possibly be prevented or better controlled with a regular consumption of products that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Inflammation is often times the root cause for many degenerative auto-immune diseases. Asthma, heart disorders and even cancer for example can be caused by underlying inflammation.
Our eyesight very much depends on dietary fats. The single greatest cause of Macular Degeneration (a form of gradual blindness which is usually associated with age, and which is mainly prevalent in western societies) is besides low intake of carotenoid-rich foods, lack of Omega 3 fatty acids. A healthy eye’s macular is coated with Omega 3 fatty acids. This coat needs to be maintained. When there are not enough Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet, other inferior fats/oils take their place, and degeneration of eyesight and onset of blindness may begin.
People, who have maintained a very low fat diet (10-20% fat calories) for an extended period, will notice that their skin is dry and flaky. It looks more damaged. It lost elasticity. A very low fat diet paths the road to wrinkles and the "old age" look.
Scientific studies confirm that certain good fats act very similarly to anti-oxidants and are potent cancer fighters and preventers. For example, Omega 3 and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) are vital anti-cancer fats. (Saying this, I want to point out that it is equally true that certain other fats (trans-fats and hydrogenated oils and fats) can cause cancer.)
Both of the Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which are chemically polyunsaturated oils) have functions that stimulate eicosanoids - hormone-like substances that boost the human immune system. If a person eats a very low fat diet, and particularly if it is low in these two essential fats, their immune system will ultimately become compromised. (Important note: excessive Omega 6 produces the opposite effect.
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