Omega 3, 6 and 9, saturated and unsaturated fatty acids: what are healthy fats and what are not? What foods contain them and how can they benefit our body?
Fat is unhealthy - this principle no longer applies today. Because numerous studies have shown that the body needs certain fats, both to receive nutrients to produce energy and to protect itself from disease.
What are the healthy fats that do not make you fat?
There are many myths regarding nutrition. We are always ready to try the health fad or new diet in the hope of losing weight and feeling good. One of the biggest misunderstandings is that fat makes you fat, however there are healthy fats, as we will show you below, that do not make you fat but are also healthy for the body.
Truths and lies about fat-free products
Our society is obsessed with low-fat or fat-free products, thinking they are healthier. This simply is not true.
Most of the foods that are labeled low-fat or fat-free are refined processed foods in which the fat has been replaced with more sugar. It is not a good option. In fact, many fats are very healthy, essential for our well-being, and even promote weight loss. Our body needs fat to function properly.
In addition, necessary vitamins such as A, D, E and K, which are fat soluble, that is, the only way that your body can absorb them is in the presence of fat.
Foods with healthy fats that do not make you fat
Here are some types of healthy fat that are not fattening and are great to incorporate into your diet. Not only will you feel better, but you will be less hungry, and your body will not feel deprived.
1. Nuts with healthy fats
Nuts have healthy fats and are very diet friendly and loaded with lots of impressive nutrients, healthy fats, and protein. Nuts are one of the best sources of alpha-lenolenic acid, a heart-healthy type of omega-3. Omega-3s offer health benefits such as lowering cholesterol for disease prevention.
They are also rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that has been shown to increase immune function, promote wound healing, improve blood vessel function, and help control cardiovascular disease. In addition, nuts contain soluble fiber and vitamin E. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels, while vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E is essential for proper immune function, healthy skin, and DNA repair.
Some of the favorites are almonds, walnuts, and Brazil nuts. Use them in smoothies, nutrition bars, salads, dried fruits, or on their own. Nut butters are another delicious way to enjoy this nutrient-dense food with healthy, non-fattening fats.
2. Olive Oil
The olive oil is a healthy oil especially when not cooked at high temperatures (if possible, not to heat better) can be used to saute lightly in salads and salad dressings. This oil is rich in fantastic healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants such as chlorophyll, carotenoids and vitamin E, it is a food that does not make you fat and on the contrary it is healthy.
Olive oil is great for lowering blood pressure, preventing cancer, managing diabetes, and decreasing the severity of asthma and arthritis. In fact, including olive oil in your diet can help you maintain a lower, healthy weight.
3. Avocados one of the most recommended healthy fats
Avocados are fantastic fruits with many nutritional benefits and healthy, non-fattening fats. They are an excellent source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps cleanse and protect your body from detoxification, removal of heavy metals, and the fight against free radicals.
Glutation helps maintain a healthy immune system and slows down the aging process. Avocados are rich in folic acid, which has been shown to decrease the incidence of heart disease and stroke. They are also the best fruit source of vitamin E, which protects against many diseases and helps maintain overall health.
Not only are avocados packed with nutrients, but studies have shown that certain nutrients are better absorbed when eaten with an avocado. Enjoy an avocado in a sandwich, a salad, or mix into a smoothie.
4. Coconut oil and the healthy fats it contains
Coconut products offer a variety of health benefits, and coconut oil is a great oil for cooking, or it can be added to smoothies, cereals, and other dishes. Coconut oil has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-cancer properties. Improves digestion, nutrient absorption and intestinal health. Provides cardiovascular benefits and helps control type 2 diabetes. Coconut oil promotes kidney and liver health and supports the immune system. It also benefits metabolism, energy, and weight control.
Coconut oil had a bad rap for a long time mainly because it is made up of saturated fat, which suggests that we stay away from it. However, the saturated fat in coconut oil is different than that in animal products. The fatty acids in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides, which are easily metabolized and used for energy by the body. Research suggests that these fatty acids can boost your metabolism, promote weight loss, and increase HDL, the good, protective cholesterol in your body.
Seeds, like nuts, contain a number of heart-healthy properties and fats. They offer beneficial fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and protein. The seeds promote health due to their mineral content such as magnesium, selenium and zinc.
Some large seeds to include in your diet are flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Chia seeds, in particular, are considered very beneficial due to their extremely high nutritional profile. They are super rich in omega-3s, even more than flax seeds. Incorporate the healthy fats from the seeds into your diet and not only will it help you not gain weight but it will also benefit your health.
Plus, they are loaded with powerful antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, iron, and zinc. The seeds can be enjoyed in many ways. They are great in smoothies, baked goods, nutrition bars, salads, dried fruit, yogurt, and other foods.
How do saturated and unsaturated fatty acids differ?
All fats contain saturated and unsaturated fatty acids (components of fats), but in different proportions. The difference between these two types is their molecular structure: the individual atoms of fatty acids are held together by a pair of electrons. If two pairs of electrons act as a bond, one speaks of a double bond. Unsaturated fatty acids are characterized by at least one such double bond. So-called polyunsaturated fatty acids have two or more of these double bonds.
Healthy or unhealthy fats?
Until a few years ago: While unsaturated fatty acids (especially in vegetable and fish fats) help prevent heart attacks or strokes, saturated fatty acids (especially in animal fats other than chicken and fish fats) increase harmful LDL cholesterol in the blood, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
But a Canadian analysis of 73 studies on saturated fat cleared up the bad reputation of fats in 2015: It showed that they neither increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease nor the likelihood of heart disease, stroke or type II diabetes.
What is omega fatty acids?
The so-called omega fatty acids belong to unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are divided into the three groups Omega 3, 6 and 9. The numbers provide information on where the double bonds are in the structure of fats.
1. What can omega-3 fatty acids do?
The omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids play a key role in the body: the cells get energy from them, and also used to form the cell membrane (cell wall)
If omega-3 fatty acids are ingested through food, they go through chemical conversion processes; in the end, substances are produced that the body needs to stay healthy. One of these are the so-called post- taglandins (tissue hormones) that protect the body against inflammation, the cause of many chronic conditions and cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, these fats have a positive effect on the mood and health of the skin. The daily needs of omega-3 fatty acids can be covered with a tablespoon of flaxseed oil.
2. What are omega-6 fatty acids?
Omega-6 fatty acids also belong to polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are involved in the control of inflammatory processes and therefore support the immune system.
They are contained in many foods (eg sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, vegetable margarine) and the daily requirement of ten grams is quickly covered, so there is rarely a deficiency. There is more likely to be too much fat: When this happens, excess omega-6 fatty acids begin to break down into substances that promote inflammation. For this reason, experts advise using coconut oil instead of sunflower or rapeseed oil for daily needs (which mainly consist of omega-9 fatty acids) for high temperatures.
3. What are omega-9 fatty acids?
Omega-9 fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acids. Unlike omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, they do not have to be consumed through food, but can be made in the body from other fatty acids.
However, an additional intake of these fatty acids through food is good for your health: they strengthen the heart, lower the level of "bad" LDL cholesterol and increase the "good" HDL cholesterol. Omega-9 fatty acids are found in olives, walnuts, almonds, and avocados, among other things; One study found, for example, that one avocado per day markedly lowers cholesterol levels.
What are trans fats?
Trans fats are the culprit among fats. They belong to unsaturated fats and are manufactured industrially, mainly from vegetable oils. Liquid oils are converted into solid fats in chemical processes, hence the name “hardened fats”.
Trans fats are mainly found in processed foods like French fries, baked goods, frozen foods, and prepared soups, but they are also produced when the oil in the skillet gets too hot.
Hundreds of fad diets, weight-loss programs and outright scams promise quick and easy weight loss. However, the foundation of successful weight loss remains a healthy, calorie-controlled diet combined with increased physical activity. For successful, long-term weight loss, you must make permanent changes in your lifestyle and health habits.