Types of fat
The main types of fat found in food are saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Most fats and oils contain both saturated and unsaturated fats in different proportions. As part of a healthy diet, it is generally agreed that we should try to cut down on foods and drinks high in saturated fats and trans fats and replace some of them with unsaturated fats. However, frequently eating more energy than you need, whether it’s from fat, carbohydrate or protein, increases your risk of becoming overweight or obese, which can increase your cholesterol.
Be that as it may, a small amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet as it is a source of essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and 6 – “essential” because the body can’t make them itself and therefore must be ingested. Fatty acids are important for all systems of the body to function normally. Fat helps the body absorb vitamins A, D and E. These vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning they can only be absorbed with the help of fats. Important for brain development, skin, the respiratory system, immune system function and blood pressure regulation, see here for research into evidence of how fatty acids can support our health.
What is Omega-3 Fatty Acid?
Omega-3 fatty acid (Alpha-linolenic acid) is an essential fatty acid that plays an important role in brain function and may help you fight against cardiovascular disease. Oily fish contains a special kind of fat, called long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. It is recommended that we consume fatty fish, like salmon, herring, sardines and tuna at least twice a week. However these fish can be full of heavy metals such as mercury and so taking an organic botanical based Omega 3 is preferable and particularly so if you are vegetarian! Or you may be like me and not like oily fish – I’ve tried to eat it, but salmon and tuna are my limit and my family won’t eat either of these more than once each fortnight! Also tinned tuna doesn’t count as an “oily” fish – it has to be fresh. Fresh tuna is extraordinarily expense and so it doesn’t end up in my shopping basket that often! I’ve also read that farmed salmon isn’t a great deal better for you either, but would need to do some more reading to ascertain this as there is lots of conflicting information on the internet! See here for more detailed information including where eating more might not be recommended.
What is Omega-6 Fatty Acid?
Omega-6 fatty acid (Linoleic Acid) combined with omega-3 fatty acid produces many of the health benefits described, but these two are best consumed in the correct ratio. You should be eating about twice as much omega-6 as omega-3, so that your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is 2:1, but in today’s world of fast food and high calorie snacks, it is not uncommon for most people to actually be getting about 15 times more omega-6 than omega-3.
The best sources of omega-6 are seeds, nuts and grains and green leafy vegetables, like lettuce, broccoli, purslane and kale, and in certain raw vegetable oils. Care should be taken to use raw cold pressed vegetable oils because cooking destroys the benefits of the fatty acids.
What is Omega-9 Fatty Acid?
Omega-9, or monounsaturated oleic and stearic acid, is a non essential fatty acid produced naturally by the body whenever there is enough of either Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. However, if you do not have enough omega 3 and omega 6, then you must get omega 9 from your diet. This fatty acid plays a role in promoting heart health by supporting healthy, balanced cholesterol levels and improving immune function.
What is EPA and DHA?
Within the body omega-3 fatty acids are converted to DHA and EPA (docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, respectively). DHA and EPA are highly unsaturated fats that play very important roles in the vision development and brain function of infants.
I use Neal’s Yard Remedies Omega 3-6-9 oil blend for all my family as I’m not sure if we consume sufficient Omega 3 in our diet due to the reasons given above. This nutritional, certified organic oil blend is rich in a balanced ratio of omega 3,6 and 9 fatty acids and supports healthy skin and development for all the family. We take it in a small glass of orange juice in the morning with our breakfast as it may not be to everyone’s taste to take it neat – certainly not my 11 year old daughter!
With pure organic linseed, avocado, evening primrose and pumpkin seed oils, it’s a source of essential fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA) that help to maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.
- Organic Golden Flax Seed (Linseed) Oil is a rich source of omega 3 essential fatty acids to support the body and healthy skin
- Organic Avocado Oil is rich in antioxidant carotenoid lutein
- Organic Evening Primrose Oil is a source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) that nourishes skin
- Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil contains linoleic acid (omega 6) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels*
*The benefit effect is obtained with a daily intake of 2g ALA or 10g LA.
Currently on a special 50% off promotion due to a short use by date of June 2016 you can obtain this by going directly to my website or getting in touch with me if you are local as I have a few bottles on the shelf which I will eventually use if I don’t sell them first!
For more information about healthy fats please see this article from NYR Natural News.