by Charles Weller August 19, 2014
Often perceived to be the “metabolic bad guy”, fats are found in nearly every food we eat. From fried food to sweet treats to sizzling steaks, fatty foods seem to come to us with a warning sign from health care officials. Fat molecules are made up of smaller parts, called fatty acids. They are one of the three basic nutrient components of food – the other two being proteins and carbohydrates.
Fats contain more than twice the calories per gram when compared to proteins and carbohydrates. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories of energy, whereas proteins and carbohydrates each contain approximately 4 calories. For this reason, it’s most likely that fats have earned their bad reputation (Not to mention the simple truth that fats are called, well, “fat”).
There are however, some redeeming characteristics of this often misunderstood nutrient, and some very important, even critical, functions of fats. And don’t let that keep you from getting the healthy fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6, that your body needs. As coconut oil displays the health benefits of saturated fat, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids do the same for polyunsaturated fats, when taken in moderation of course. And while many benefits are known, there are still more that are being realized as people turn towards healthy, natural sources of these nutrients.
Omega-3 and omega-6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids and are considered essential nutrients for our health. This means that they are vital for normal bodily functions and because they cannot be synthesized by the human body, they must be included as part of a balanced diet.
There are more than enough reasons to make sure that you are getting enough of these healthy fats in your diet. Specifically, Omega-3 and Omega-6 are linked to the control of various bodily processes such as:
In addition, various studies support these fatty acids’ role in protecting against heart disease and stroke, and providing potential benefits for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
There are several common sources of Omega-3 fatty acids which include fish, squid, and algal oils as well as various plant oils. These plant oils can be found in sacha inchi and hemp seed proteins, a basis for the Plant-Based Protein Blend in Ground-Based Nutrition’s Superfood Protein Smoothie. There is a difference in the type of Omega-3 fatty acids provided from fish and plant oils; fish sources provide eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) while plant sources provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). However, because the body has the ability to partially convert ALA to EPA and DHA, one does not necessarily need to consume fish oil to get EPA and DHA.
Omega-6 fatty acids can found in a variety foods ranging from eggs, poultry, and pork to sunflower and flaxseed oil to pumpkin seeds and almonds. It is important to be selective in the source however, as many of the options are processed and are not considered heart-healthy. Foods such as dressings, mayonnaise, shortening, baked pastries, lunchmeats, bacon, and canned meats, most likely contain more fatty acids, along with other unhealthy ingredients, than is essential for the body. Consider natural sources of Omega-6 as better alternatives such as seeds, nuts, soy-based foods, as well as Superfood Protein Smoothie - a premium source for these essential fatty acids.
Ground-Based Nutrition never uses artificial sweeteners, colors, dye, additives, or other synthetic chemicals. Superfood Protein Smoothie is vegan friendly, gluten free, soy free, and dairy free.
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