Fatty acid


Fatty acids are classified into the saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Fats and oils are composed of a combination of fatty acids of all three categories, although it is often thought that one or more oil or fat are the only manifestation of one of them.

For example, corn oil, which contains about 62% polyunsaturated acid, 25% mono-unsaturated and 13% saturated considered polyunsaturated oil.

Saturated fatty acid

The molecules of fatty acids are composed of chains of carbon atoms with attached thereto hydrogen and oxygen atoms. When a molecule of fatty acid is completely covered (“saturated”) hydrogen atoms along the carbon chain, it is called a saturated fat. Foods rich in saturated fats, usually remain solid at room temperature. Here are the main sources of saturated fat:

Animal fat (beef, pork, lamb and other meats and poultry);
Milk fat (milk, butter, cheese, cream and other dairy products);
Tropical “oil” (solid oils such as coconut and palm);
Hydrogenated fats (such as margarine).

These foods rich in saturated fats, also contain some amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Saturated fats are usually considered to be “harmful”, as they are the main reason for increasing the level of cholesterol in the blood. Influence of saturated fat on health, in some way, depending on the length of the carbon chain; some increase cholesterol significantly stronger than others.

Monounsaturated fatty acids

When the fatty acids present one dot is not saturated by hydrogen atoms, the substance is called a monounsaturated fatty acid. Foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids typically are liquid at room temperature and semi-solid upon cooling, such as is the case with the olive oil. Here are the main dietary sources of monounsaturated fatty acids (when more than 60% of the fat is monounsaturated)

Olive oil, canola oil and hazelnut oil;
Avocado and olives;
Tree nuts, pistachios, almonds, macadamia nuts and pecans.

Up until the mid-1980s it was thought that monounsaturated fats do not have any effect on blood cholesterol levels. Scientists now believe that replacing saturated fats monounsaturated may be equally or perhaps even more effective than replacing them with polyunsaturated fats for lowering LDL-cholesterol.

Polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids

When the fatty acid molecule contains several double bonds between carbon atoms, it is called a polyunsaturated fatty acid. If the first double bond in the molecule is located at the third carbon from the methyl region, this fatty acid is called omega-3. If so, the first double bond in the molecule is at the sixth carbon from the methyl region, it is therefore referred to as omega-6 (most monounsaturated fats are classified as omega-6, the most important of which is oleic acid, the main component of the butter) .
Each of these two families of fatty acids includes a higher essential fatty acids, which must be present in the body, but that the body is unable to produce. The family of omega-3 essential fatty acid is an alpha-linoleic acid, and omega-6 family – linoleic acid. Each person should ensure delivery of these acids in your body to sustain life.

In addition, there are fatty acids with longer chains (chain consists of a larger number of carbon atoms) produced by the body tissues using enzymes or digested directly from food. In the family of omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid are such (EPA) and doko-zageksaenovaya acid (DHA), formed by alpha-linoleic acid, found in fish, fish oils and other seafood. In the family of omega-6 is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA – GLA is found in evening primrose oil, borage and black currant) and arachidonic acid (AA – AA – in animal fats.) formation of linoleic acid.

Polyunsaturated fats at room temperature, retain a liquid state. Here are the main sources of polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 of food:

Fatty acids Omega-3:
Flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil;
Flax seeds and walnuts;
Fish and seafood;
Soybeans and tofu;
Dark green leafy vegetables;
Wheat Grass.

safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, walnut oil;
Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy, pumpkin and walnuts;
Wheat Grass;
Many other vegetable and animal products, in which these acids are present in different concentrations.

Doctors are ambivalent about the influence of polyunsaturated fats on human health. On the one hand, the fatty acid omega-6 lowers the level of cholesterol in blood, and omega-3 – triglyceride level and blood pressure. On the other hand, the polyunsaturated fatty acids are highly perishable, which sometimes leads to the formation of noxious chemicals that can promote the development of the disease. To get the maximum benefit from fatty acids should cherish such products and use them in the required quantities.

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