Fat is one of those words which invokes negative connotations in our ‘thin’ obsessed cultures.
Fat, from our bodies point of view, is NOT bad. In fact, our cell membranes are partly made up of fats.
Fats are crucial to our health and wellbeing. No fats means no energy, no immune system, no more cute babies, no vision and no brain. In other words – not good. And that’s where we get the term Esstential Fatty Acids (or EFA for short) from.
So What’s The Problem DD?
Darlings it is all about balance. Having the right balance of the right fats in our diet.
Hey, could it be easier! No need to hug trees or live on a diet of berries and pre-chewed nuts.
What Fats And Where From DD?
We’re going to focus on two key fats, BOTH of which you need, and you need to get them in the right balance to be healthy. These are Omega 3 (a-Linolenic Acid) and Omega 6 (Linoleic Acid).
The body does not make either of these, they come from what you’re eating. However, once it has them, your body can make their derivatives (see later).
And right now, our western diet has evolved over the last century to give us too much Omega 6 and too little of the precious Omega 3.
Why’s That A Problem DD?
OK listen up monkeys – research shows that excessive Omega-6 can lead to more aggression, impulsiveness, self-interest, less co-operativeness, reduced intelligence, insomnia, mood disorders and a predisposition to so called “western illnesses”.
Omega 6 instructs the body to store fat. In excess, it also promotes whole body cellular inflamation. And too much inflamation makes us susceptible to inflamatory conditions, obesity and auto-immune system disorders.
A part of this excess in our diet comes from the increased use of vegetable oils in our cooking, and often in the way these oils are pre-processed. These are mainly palm, soybean, rapeseed, and sunflower oils. It has also been introduced to our food chain via the feed given to the animals we eat.
Omega 6 is relatively scarce in the wild, so our body has adapted to this scarcity and needs very little to be happy. Small amounts are to be found in green plants, roots and fruit flesh. Larger amounts (relatively) are to be found in seeds, grains and nuts.
OK – What’s Omega-3 Do?
It moderates inflamation and promotes cellular repair.
Derivations of Omega 3, called Long Chain Omega 3 are fundamental to our body’s structure, function, reproduction, metabolism, brain function and general health. In short – its good stuff.
Omega 3 is to be found in chia sage, kiwi, perilla and flax (linseed). It is also found naturally in fish oils (especially in cold water fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines).
Flax is approximately six times richer in omega 3 than fish oil.
Flax and Chia contain about three times as much omega 3 as omega 6.
Omega 3 supplements can also be a beneficial source, although they often only contain a-linolenic acid and not the long chain omega 3 deivatives.
Read The Label
One way to monitor what you’re getting is to read the labels on food.
Sometimes these get a bit technical (not that they want to fool you), so here some of the more common technical names for omega 3 and omega 6, and their main derivatives.
Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid)
Are a family of unsaturated fatty acids.
Arachidonic Acid (AA).
Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)
Dihomo-Gamma-Linolenic Acid (DGLA)
Omega-3 (a-Linolenic Acid or Alpha-Linolenic Acid, or ALA)
Are also a family of unsaturated fatty acids.
Common Derivatives (also known as Long Chain Omega-3):
Doeosa-Hexaenoic Acid (DHA)
Eicosa-Pentaenoic Acid (EPA)
All 3 of these are polyunsaturated.
Find Out More?
Would you like to know more? Then read Robert Brown’s explosive book on the subject:
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