Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are required by every single cell of the body and are involved in the manufacture of hormones, the transport of some vitamins and for the protection of the heart and liver. However, this statement does not apply to all fats. Most people consider fats as bad for you because they can block your arteries and encourage weight gain, but the desire to avoid fats can actually be detrimental to your body.
There are different types of fats and these include monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated. Most foods contain a mixture in different ratios of these; butter, for example, can contain 65% saturated, 4% polyunsaturated and 30% monounsaturated.
Monounsaturated fats are helpful for reducing cholesterol levels in the body; they become liquid at room temperature and examples include those found in olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil. Specifically, they help to raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholestoral)
Polyunsaturated fats are also liquid at room temperature and examples include corn, sesame and safflower oils. There are two types of polyunsaturated fats, known as omega 3 and omega 6. Omega 6 fats are derived from meat, seeds, nuts and grains and most of us have an abundance of omega 6 fats. Omega 3 fats are derived from oily fish such as salmon and mackerel and green leafy vegetables also contain a small amount of these fats.
Saturated fats are the worst kind of fats because they can clog the arteries and may be responsible for numerous health concerns. They are often solid at room temperature and examples include cheese, meat, butter and oils such as palm oil.
As far as good fats are concerned, we all need to increase our uptake of omega 3 fats because an abundance of omega 6 can be pro-inflammatory, meaning inflammation may be caused in the body. Inflammation in the body is the leading cause of many diseases including cardiovascular and arthritic concerns. Most people do not have a sufficient intake of omega 3 and therefore increase their levels by taking fish oils.
There are many fish oils available, but I always recommend Krill Oil as it contains omega 3 in a unique form that can be utilised more efficiently than most fish oils and is a cleaner source of omega 3. The body can never get too much omega 3 because these fats are involved in numerous processes within our bodies, including hormone manufacture. In general terms you can take up to 6000 mg of fish oils per day, but this dosage is usually reserved for mood elevation, so we recommend between 1000 – 2000 mg daily, unless you are on blood thinning medication.