Fatty Acids – Why They are Essential to your Health

By: Elizabeth Dennis

Fat has been proven to increase our cholesterol and clog our arteries resulting in an elevated risk of heart disease. Fat has also been blamed for our expanding waistlines. These are fat-facts. However, the new thinking is that fat can be our friend; the right kind of fat that is. All fat was not created equal and avoiding fat all together can be detrimental to our health.

Processed Oils
Oil in its unprocessed form is quite perishable. Before humans began processing their food, oil was sold door-to-door because if it wasn't kept cold, it would go bad within days.  These days most of the oils we purchase are highly-processed providing for a nice long shelf life. But keep in mind, these oils have been refined using high heat and bleaches which strips them of any nutritional value even if they are labeled as cholesterol-free, polyunsaturated, healthy, etc.

Essential Fatty Acids
The building blocks of oils are called fatty-acids and they are essential to human health (hence the name essential fatty-acids or EFAs). Unfortunately, the human body cannot manufacture these fatty-acids on its own therefore consuming them is crucial to the human diet. The absence of EFAs can lead to degenerative disease. Other health benefits of essential fatty acids include:

  • Improved Hair and Skin Quality
  • Arthritis Prevention
  • Lowered Cholesterol
  • Reduced Heart Disease Risk
  • Eczema Relief
  • Reduced Inflammation in the Body
  • Transmission of Nerve Impulses to the Brain
  • Reduced Risk of Blood Clots

Omega-3 and Omega-6
There are two basic groups of EFAs; the omega-3 group and the omega-6 group. Omega-6 can be found mostly in unsaturated oils such as sesame oil and primrose oil as well as in raw seeds, nuts, and legumes. Omega-3 is found mainly in deep-water fish, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and in some vegetable oils.

Cooking with Essential Fats
Unfortunately, cooking with essential fats is not a great idea. These fats are considered "unstable" which means heat will destroy the fatty-acids resulting in dangerous chemical agents called free radicals. You are safer cooking with a monounsaturated fat such as olive oil which stands up to much higher temperatures.

About the Author

Elizabeth Dennis has been writing health and beauty articles for three years. She regularly contributes to The Hair Removal Surgery Guide and The Cough Treatments Guide. She also writes for the popular Cell Plan Guide.

(ArticlesBase SC #2592494)

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/ - Fatty Acids – Why They are Essential to your Health