There is so much stigma associated with the word fat and people have a fear attached to it but it is difficult to understand that it is much more than that.
What Is Fat?
Fat also known as lipids is a macronutrient that is essential for the human body’s functioning. While Carbohydrates and proteins only add 4 grams of calories to our body fats are known to more than 9 grams.
There are three kinds of fats that are available in any food.
- Saturated Fat: Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and found in animal products like meat, dairy, and some kinds of oils. However, consuming a lot of saturated fat can lead to many problems for the body.
- Unsaturated Fats: The second kind is unsaturated fats which are liquid in their natural form. They can be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. They are also known as good fats and help the body maintain the smooth flow of blood. They can be found in many food items that are suggested by doctors like avocado in bulk.
- Trans Fats: The third kind is artificially created through the process of hydrogenation. They are usually found in processed and fried foods which is why doctors ask us not to binge on them. An increase in trans fat consumption is associated with heart attacks.
Why Is It Important?
Fat is important to our body in the following ways-
- Energy Source- Fat is a concentrated source of energy and provides the body with long-lasting power and an energy reserve when you engage yourself in strenuous activities. It can also come to our aid when carbohydrates are short.
- Essential Nutrients- Certain types of fats including omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are necessary for the functioning of the brain, maintaining healthy skin, regulating blood pressure, and reducing inflammation.
- Vitamin Absorption- Some Vitamins like A, D, E, and K are not naturally soluble and therefore require fats to be digested properly.
- Cellular Structure- It also ensures cell integrity by helping it manage waste and facilitate the efficient exchange of nutrients.
- Insulation and Protection- Our body needs to maintain temperature and provide protection to vital organs. This is possible only because we have adipose tissues.
- Hormone Regulation- Fat is essential for the production of cholesterol which in turn aids the production of testosterone and estrogen, protecting you from hormonal imbalances.
- Immune System Support– Medium Chain Triglycerides found in coconut oil and some other oils are important to boost the system response to pathogens and infections.
- Inflammation Management- Fats are also essential to release anti-oxidants into the body and this protects your organs from damage or swelling.
If your body doesn’t get enough fat, there is a chance you may have dull hair follicles or dry skin which is prone to itching. Moreover, you can also face problems like mood swings and extreme stress because your body would not have enough to fight off depression.
Studies have also shown that lower consumption of fat can lead to cognitive impairments that often hinder your full functionality. It can cause problems with concentration and even basic activities. A prolonged deficiency can even lead to serious impairments that could be irreversible. You can also see a decrease in your energy levels when your body doesn’t have enough fat.
The key to a healthy lifestyle is to create a balance between the two. Calculate how much and what kind of fat you need and consume it. Cut down on trans fats which are not required in any way. Go for natural ways to get fats essential for the body.