The Role of Fatty Acids11/4/18
Your body needs energy all the time. Your body uses energy even when you are doing nothing. There are hundreds of processes going on in your body that you have no idea about. All of that requires some sort of energy. So, when you decide to actually move and function, the requirement of energy goes way up. When you decide to workout, even more energy is needed.
The body taps into numerous sources for energy. Two of the primary sources are glucose (sugar/carbs) and fat. By knowing this simple fact, you can figure out why low and no carb diets are such a craze. But the mistake many people make is thinking that eating carbs makes a person fat. Carbs are very important for energy because the body can use it very quickly. Certain carbs are used faster than others, but in comparison to fat, they are metabolized much quicker.
Fats are important because they are the source of energy that is engaged primarily when carbs are not available. When carbs are available, fat is still used, but simply as a mixture of the carbs. Fat however is a more effective energy source than carbs in the long run. Fats are composed of fatty acids. Fatty acids are the building blocks of the fat in our bodies and in the food we eat. Fatty acids have many important functions in the body, including energy storage. Once again, if carbs/glucose isn't available for energy, the body uses fatty acids to fuel the cells instead.
Fatty acids can be broken down as well into two categories; essential and nonessential. Essential fatty acids, or “EFAs” are fatty acids one can only get from their diet because the body does not produce them. Many people will try to avoid fats all together because of the stigma that they are bad. Not all fats are created equal though and EFAs provide numerous benefits to the everyday function of the body. Those processes include:
- Formation of healthy cell membranes
- Proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system
- Proper thyroid and adrenal activity
- Hormone production
- Regulation of blood pressure, liver function, immune and inflammatory responses
- Regulation of blood clotting: Omega-6 FAs encourage blood clot formation, whereas Omega-3 oil reduces clotting. The ideal is to achieve a balance between omega-6 and omega-3 FAs
- Crucial for the transport and breakdown of cholesterol
- Support healthy skin and hair
An awesome product to for assistance in your daily supply of EFAs would be 1UP Nutrition’s Omega 3 Fish Oil. Vegetarians many times lack fat in their daily diet, so EFAs are vital to their bodies. Vegans too can struggle to get the right amount of EFAs in, so in doing that many resort to consuming flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, soybean and its products such as tofu and tempeh. Walnuts, and dark green veggies, such as kale, collards, chard, parsley, and cereal grasses are also good sources of EFAs.