According to Nutrition Biology, fats are made up of a chain of esters of fatty acids or mixtures of similar compounds occurring in any living body or food. Different sources of fats include – avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, eggs, fatty fish, nuts, chia seeds, etc. In this article, you will learn about types, functions, and some facts about fats.
Types of Fatty acids :
- Saturated Fatty acids: The fatty acid chains are straight in structure and form no double bonds. They are solid at room temperature. Best sources include red meat, dairy products, and coconut oil. Less than 20 g per day is beneficial for health. It also increases the total cholesterol level of the body.
- Trans Fatty acids: These fatty acids form one or more bonds in trans configuration. They are solid or semi-solid at room temperature and create straight and linear chains. Various sources are margarine, chicken pie, cream soup, and puff pastry. Less than 2.2g per day is recommended. It also increases the risk of heart ailments and diabetes.
- Monounsaturated fatty acids: It form a double bond in cis configuration with a bent structure. They are liquid at room temperature. Examples of sources are olive oil, canola oil, and avocado. Its moderate intake reduces the risk of heart ailments and lowers LDL. It also increases HDL.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids: It form multiple bonds in cis configuration and create a bent structure. These are liquid at room temperature. Different sources include salmon, tuna, flax seeds, nuts, sunflower, and corn oil. Its moderate consumption reduces the risk of heart diseases. High content of omega-3 and the omega-6 ratio is beneficial for anti-inflammation and reducing heart diseases.
The Function Of Fats In The Body:
- Fats are an excellent source of energy in the human body after carbohydrates. They are a reserved form of energy stored by the human body to cope in emergencies when enough energy is not available to meet body demands.
- It also protects organs by forming a fatty layer and keeps blood pressure under control.
- Fats also form a layer beneath human skin to protect the body against rapid heat loss.
- It helps the human body in the regulation and production of numerous hormones. For example, the hormone leptin is secreted by adipose tissue, which regulates the appetite and maintains the body’s energy status.
- Fats are essential for reproductive health; in the case of women, a lack of the required amount of fat can lead to an abrupt menstrual cycle. Also, the women might not be able to conceive.
- Dietary fats play a vital role in transporting fat-soluble vitamins and increasing intestinal absorption rate.
Fun Facts About Fats:
Given below is an exciting list of fun facts about fats:
- Fats add flavor to the food and satisfy the appetite (desire to eat).
- Fat provides twice the amount of energy in comparison to carbohydrates or proteins.
- Brown fat is beneficial for health as it contributes to burning calories, while white fat stores excess energy.
- Eating healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats prevent weight gain. Fats found in peanut butter, almonds, and flax seeds can lower the insufficient cholesterol level and decrease belly fat.
- Fats help absorb vitamins A, D, and K, making human skin and hair healthier.
- Fats are essential for the overall development of the brain in children as it comprises around 60 percent of the human brain.
Through this article, you got to know that not all fats are bad for human health. Knowing the right amount and fat type can give the human body the best health and shape. Fats are thus very essential for any living body to survive, but increased amounts can lead to several health issues like heart diseases, obesity, increased cholesterol level, and diabetes. Therefore, one needs to be aware of proper nutrition intake, and a specific body needs to lead a balanced life.