Alimentary fats

Fats are not all the same. They belong to different classes with different properties. They can be divided in:

q       saturated (with short and long chain): coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter, milk derived, lard, dripping

q      monounsaturated: olive oil, rapeseed oil

q       polyunsaturated: omega-6: maize and soya oil

                                   omega-3: linseed oil, fish oils, cod liver oil

Hardening changes unsaturated fatty acids into saturated ones.

While saturated increase cholesterol blood levels, unsaturated fats do not have this effect, so these are the kind of fats we ought to be looking for in our daily food intake. Since polyunsaturated fats cannot be produced by our body they are also called “essentials” and we need to have them as part of our diet . Amongst omega-3 fatty acids there are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They come from fish oils. The essential fats need to be in equilibrium in our diet, in fact the lack of balance between omega-6 an omega-3 can over- or under-produce some substances (eicosenoids) whose reactions affect certain disease such as : allergy, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, migraine and menstrual pains, tender joins, and last but not least   atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) which kills about one person in three. They also seems to make platelets (important clotting factors in the blood) less sticky and reduce triglyceride levels So the dietary advice is: cut down on the fats and increase monounsaturated (olive oil) and  the proportion of omega-3 (fish oil) to 2-3 grammes a day.


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