There are bad fats; there are good fats. Research shows that eating ‘good’ fat can promote weight loss in a ‘lopsided-caloric’ environment, such as ours. Put simply, it means that eating a higher percentage of ‘good fat’ is healthy, so long as you’re not consuming calories too many on the whole.
Fat can be good for you. You get the ‘idea’ — because, the big fat thing has been alarmingly misinterpreted without taking into account the quality of fats we eat. It also needs to be emphasised that fats play a host of important roles in the body. They are, indeed, the basis of key compounds such as hormones. Research shows that eating ‘good’ fat can promote weight loss in a ‘lopsided-caloric’ environment, such as ours. Put simply, it means that eating a higher percentage of good fat is healthy so long as you’re not consuming calories too many on the whole.
Studies conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health, US, suggest that the total amount of fat in our diet does not raise the threat of cancer and heart disease, so long as our weight and total calories are ‘right.’ Needless to say, their findings imply that the type of fats you actually eat may play a significant role in the development of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Essential, or ‘good,’ fats in our diet are called essential fatty acids [EFAs]. They include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. EFAs are polyunsaturated fats. Our bodies can produce other fatty acids; however, we cannot produce EFA. Thus, we need to eat them. EFAs perform important functions in the body. Besides, being fundamental to the structure of the body’s cell membranes, and in the production of important hormones, they are also involved in several physiological activities — blood clotting and the control of blood pressure, besides reproductive function.
There are two primary forms of omega–3 fatty acids — DHA [docosahexaenoic acid] and EPA [eicosapentaenoic acid]. Omega-3 fats are found in oily fish and seafood — deep-sea fish, shark, tuna, herring, mackerel, salmon and sardines — they can be made by the body using omega-3 EFAs. Soybean and canola oils and other polyunsaturated vegetable oils are also good sources of omega-3 fats; so are walnuts, linseed [flaxseed], and green leafy vegetables. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in polyunsaturated vegetable oils — soybean, safflower and sunflower oils.
THE COX CONNECTION
High amounts of saturated fat and omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids in our diet, along with the intake of low amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, can lead to constant production of cyclooxygenase [COX] enzymes. COX is an enzyme naturally present in our body.
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