There are several types of fats that are found in plant and animal foods.
These are in meat, butter, cheese, coconut oil, palm oil, and many other plant and animal-based foods. Saturated fats are created when trans fats undergo hydrogenation, a chemical process. If there is a high intake of saturated fats health may be compromised and coronary heart disease is very common.
Canola oil, olive oil and peanut oils, are monounsaturated fats. These can lower cholesterol and decrease blood clots. They are also less susceptible to oxidation, or the loss of electrons.
Plant oils are polyunsaturated fats such as safflower, sesame, sunflower and corn that lower cholesterol and the chance of blood clots. This function helps in the prevention of heart disease. Too much polyunsaturated fat, however, has been known to cause cancer.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid and alpha linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid. The names correlate to the chemical structure of the fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids participate in energy production, oxygen transfer to the blood, hemoglobin manufacturing, growth, cell division, nerve impulse transmission, and brain function. They are a make-up of cell membranes and assist in manufacturing prostaglandins, which have a role in hormone synthesis, immunity, response to pain and inflammation, blood vessel constriction, and functions of the heart and lungs.
Daily intake of essential fatty acids depends on an individual’s level of activity, stress, body weight, and other health conditions. There are many variations of recommended intakes so it is best to consult a doctor to best determine the adequate amount needed daily.
Fatigue, dry skin, weakened immune system, gastrointestinal ailments, circulatory issues, retarded growth, poor mental health, and those with a fatty acid deficiency may experience a loss of reproductive function. Some people have developed cancer as a result of improper fatty acid intake. Other deficiency conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, depression, pre-eclampsia, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis.