Much part of our bodies is built from fats. They are natural, important and beneficial to our bodies if they are of the right types and proportions. The big question, however, is how much, what and in what quantity to consume them. It is an easy question but with many and complex answers. So far, the dietologists and nutritionists have argued that finding the right answer is considered to be key to health. There is a one-time conclusion that everyone agrees with – the deficiency of essential fatty acids is becoming a pandemic. The outcome of this is that the most serious results are hormonal, cardiovascular problems and those of the immune system.
Which are the most important, essential and valuable fats available? This is a brief overview of the different types and how they interact with the immune system:
Polyunsaturated fats Omega-3 essential fatty acids
They are anti-inflammatory and keep cell membranes soft, susceptible and resistant to degeneration.
They are contained in flaxseed, hemp seeds, chia seeds, some leafy green vegetables, walnuts, fish and fish oil. Not all the people can break down the plant form, so it is necessary to take them through fish, seafood or supplements.
Omega-3 fats are extremely unstable at high temperatures and should not be heated.
Polyunsaturated fats Omega-6 essential fatty acids
Promotes inflammation, BUT really opposes degeneration. Keep cell membranes soft and pliable.
Sources of omega-6 are sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, corn, soybeans and their related oils, as well as unrefined soy products, cereals, wheat germ and legumes.
Polyunsaturated fats have the lowest melting points and are liquid at room temperature and in the refrigerator.
Monounsaturated fats Omega-9 essential fatty acids
Considered neutral to the immune system.
Sources of omega-9 – olives, avocados, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and their related oils, as well as unrefined rapeseed, sunflower and saffron (rapeseed) oils.
You should know… avocados, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts also contain a high percentage of saturated fat.
Sources – animal fats, dairy products and all tropical fats (palm and coconut).
Often, excessive consumption in the Western diet and higher intake is associated with cardiovascular and other degenerative diseases, as well as worsening of autoimmune conditions.
Hydrogenated fats and trans fats
Sources – hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (margarine) and refined “cooking oils”, such as rapeseed or maize oil.
These fats contain harmful by-products created during processing, which can lead to an increased risk of disease and cardiovascular problems.
How to achieve the right fat balance
Essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized in the human body and obtained from a food source. As we pointed out, one of the roles of essential fatty acids in the body is to regulate inflammatory processes. If you eat food that is low in essential omega-3 fatty acids and rich only in saturated and hydrogenated foods, it puts the body in a state of chronic inflammation that it cannot handle.
The other very important thing is a healthy ratio of essential fatty acids: no more than 4: 1p optimally 1-2: 1 omega-6 to omega-3. The problem is that we have too much omega-6 in our diet, which provokes inflammation. Thus, instead of taking advantage of omega-6 visits, it is occurred to be too much and it provokes inflammation. Currently, omega-6 is the predominant essential fatty acid in food, which is poisonous because it is present in all nuts and seeds, it is also found in meat, eggs and vegetable fats. So, the answer is to increase the intake of omega-3.
How to get Omega-3
As I said at the beginning, the topic is complex. Thus whether to take supplements or to add more foods rich in omega-3 is a matter of choice. Personally, since I am not a big fan of fish and I do not manage to consume 2-3 times a week, I prefer to ensure my daily intake of omega-3, which I take in the morning with my daily dose of Vit.D.
This opens up another important topic that for each fat source is determined by which type of fat contains the highest percentage and although, for example, flaxseed oil to have the highest content of omega-3 unsaturated fats, it also contains a percentage of omega-6 and saturated fats. The same goes with salmon, which contains enough saturated fats apart from omega-3. So for me the answer is again – omega-3 in the form of a dietary supplement to make sure I’m taking enough.
What is important to know
Omega-3 slightly dilutes the blood. This is generally a positive effect, but if you are about to have surgery or are taking medications that also dilute the blood, it is important to consult your doctor.
The main risk in consuming omega-3 products does not come from the omega-3s themselves, but from the quality of the fish oil. It is a known fact that fish oil can be a source of mercury, dioxins and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). These substances can get into the oil through the source fish. That is why it is important to get omega-3 from proven and clean sources that are guaranteed not to contain harmful substances.