Total Therapy Blog
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Fats)
There are good fats and there are bad fats. Artificially-produced trans-fatty acids (such as hydrogenated fats found in over-processed foods like store-bought potato chips or cookies) are unhealthy in any amount. Saturated fats (such as red meat and butter) should be kept to a minimum, and wherever possible, should ideally come from organic sources.
The beneficial fats or oils that are of most importance to us are those that contain essential fatty acids and are liquid at room temperature. Essential fatty acids are so named because they are necessary to sustain good health, and without them we can experience serious illness and even death. Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated and grouped into two families, the omega-6 EFAs and the omega-3 EFAs. Seemingly minor differences in their molecular structure make the two EFA families act very differently in the body. While the metabolic products of omega-6 acids promote inflammation, blood clotting, and tumour growth, the omega-3 acids promote the opposite. Both essential to our health; however, the key is to balance our consumption of these fatty acids. It is becoming increasingly clear that an excess of omega-6 fatty acids can have dire consequences.
Many scientists believe that a major reason for the high incidence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, premature aging, and some forms of cancer in our society is the imbalance between our intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Most of us eat an adequate amount of omega-6, but don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids are easy to over-process, resulting in a form of the fatty acid that is less effective – or worse, not effective at all. In order to ensure you get enough omega-3 fatty acids, choose from quality sources such as raw flax, chia and hemp seeds, or fish and fish oils.
As with everything in life, balance is important. By being more aware of what we put in our bodies, we can lead healthier, longer lives.
This article is contributed by our Registered Nutritional Consultant, Liliana Tosic, RHN.
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