The Fat Resistance Diet

Omega-3 Fats  E-mail

 

Good fats are starting to receive the attention they deserve. They are known as OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS, because of their unique chemical structure. They are found in fish, green leafy vegetables, and some nuts, beans and seeds. Some of the popular weight loss diets of the past few years have talked about good fats, usually in conjunction with "good carbs". Most of them have you get your supply of omega-3’s from fish oil supplements rather than from food. That’s a shame, because foods containing omega-3’s also contain other natural inflammation fighters.


Most of the fat we eat is composed of fatty acids, which are made from long strings of carbon atoms linked together. It’s the type of fatty acids in the fat that determine its nature. SATURATED FAT is solid at room temperature, like butter or coconut oil or the fat you trim from a steak. It’s called "saturated" because all of the carbon atoms are surrounded by hydrogen atoms. Every possible chemical linkage is filled There are no potential chemical bonds unfilled. They are literally saturated. Saturation makes the string of carbons straight and stiff. UNSATURATED FAT is composed of fatty acids in which some of the carbon atoms have chemical bonds that are not filled by hydrogen. Unsaturated fatty acids tend to curve and get softer. Unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature, like most vegetable oils. The more unsaturated an oil becomes, the more liquid it is. Olive oil, for example, is mostly monounsaturated. It is liquid at room temperature but congeals and gets goopy when refrigerated. Some corn oils are polyunsaturated. They stay liquid in your refrigerator, but will start to thicken in your freezer. Fish oil is the most unsaturated of all the fats you consume. A high omega-3 fish oil concentrate will remain a liquid, even in your freezer.

What’s important about omega-3 fats is not only their fluidity, but their name. Omega-3 refers to a special characteristic of their chemical structure. Our bodies are not able to produce omega-3’s or to turn other kinds of fat into omega-3’s. We have to get them from food. There are no substitutes. Of all the foods that actively fight inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids have been the most studied. I started using omega-3 oils in my medical practice over 25 years ago. At first, we thought that omega-3’s acted like aspirin to reduce the levels of inflammatory mediators called PROSTAGLANDINS. Recent research has shown that omega-3’s do far more. The mechanisms of their protective anti-inflammatory effects extend beyond aspirin’s. They are a natural and intrinsic component of numerous complex regulatory systems in the cells of our bodies. Conditions in which omega-3 fats have proven value, either for treatment or prevention include arthritis, colitis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart arrhythmias, asthma, dementia, depression, and schizophrenia.

Stone Age humans got most of their omega-3’s from wild game. Wild animals that feed on grass and leaves store omega-3 fats in their flesh and organs, which are eaten by hunters. Today’s cattle are raised on corn or manufactured feed that supplies no omega-3’s for the animal to incorporate into its meat. With the development of agriculture and fishing, the major sources of omega-3’s became wild fish, beans, nuts, seeds and leafy greens vegetables. Navy beans, kidney beans and soy beans all supply omega-3’s. Walnuts are a delicious source of these. Flax seed, an excellent source of omega-3’s, was the health food of the Romans. Purslane supplied them for the ancient Greeks. The Twentieth Century witnessed a progressive depletion of omega-3 oils from diets of people all over the world. Because omega-3’s have a short shelf life, they were systematically removed from processed foods and animal feed. The result is a widespread global deficiency of omega-3’s, in industrialized nations and developing countries alike. Any successful solution to the twin problems of obesity and chronic inflammation must correct this deficiency by incorporating omega-3 containing foods, like flax seed, walnuts, salmon, tuna and other cold water fish, beans and leafy greens. Feeding flax seed or seaweed to chickens allows them to lay eggs with omega-3 fatty acids in the yolk.

 

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