Getting the Skinny on Healthy Fats
Unfortunately, fats get demonized as something we should all cut out of our diets if we want to live a healthy lifestyle. But there are actually healthy fats that are absolutely essential to keeping our bodies functioning at their highest levels. The important thing is to know which is which, what their natural sources are, and what they do.
Fats are divided into three types: saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Scientifically speaking, saturated fats have a bond structure that contains no double bonds, which means that each molecule of carbon has two molecules of hydrogen. As a result, most saturated fats become solid when they are at room temperature.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are both unsaturated fats, which means that there is at least one double bond between the carbon molecules, and not all of the carbon molecules have hydrogen molecules attached to them.
Each of these fat structures each produces chains that, in turn, affect the way that the facts act in the body.
Chewing the Fat
Healthy fats include the unsaturated fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated and are generally found in “whole” or unprocessed foods like certain nuts, plants, and fish. These healthy fats are also necessary for healthy metabolic function and aid in cell signaling, maintain the health of various tissues throughout the body, help boost immunity, regulate hormone production, and increase the absorption of many nutrients like vitamins A and D. Because of nutrient deficiencies and imbalanced diets, however, our natural consumption of healthy fats and oils is often off-kilter. This sends our whole bodies out of balance, contributing to conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and even chronic inflammation.
Imbalanced diets can also mean something else: an over-consumption of saturated fats. These fats are not completely unhealthy, as the body does need a certain amount of saturated fats in order to function well; and these fats even help maintain healthy cholesterol. But too much can lead to a great number of dangerous health issues. Saturated fats are typically found more in processed foods, though there are some natural sources of saturated fats such as animal fats and oils from tropical plants including coconut, palm, and cacoa.
It’s extremely important to know the good sources of fats, so that you can maintain a healthy balance. Nutritional supplements including krill oil and fish oil can be great sources of healthy fats, as well, so discuss your own nutritional needs with a healthcare professional to learn about your best options.
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