Why we need fats (the healthy types)

Why we need fats (the healthy types)

With all you'll read about excess fat disturbing your hormonal system and leading to obesity, you may wonder if fat is needed at all. In fact, we could not service without it. Like shock absorbers, bits of fat cushion internal organs. A small amount of fat under the skin provides insulation from extremes of temperature. Fat helps us absorb vitamins, minerals, and the protective substances that assist us in fighting cancer. And tiny amounts of fat used to build a great many substances that control our body processes. Two specific fatty
substances are needed. One is an omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid), the other an omega-3 fatty acid (alpha linoleic acid). These technical-sounding names are not important. What does matter is that both types of fat are as necessary to life as vitamins. They form cell membranes, help substances pass in and out of cells, and are required
for the brain, nervous system and immune system to function properly. They are not hard to find.

They come from all sorts of plant foods, including some we may not associate with fats at all. For example, oatmeal, chickpeas, and leafy green salads contain a small amount of oil
in every cell. Omega-6 fatty acids are present in all sorts of grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids are less widely distributed. Our best sources of omega-3s are flaxseed, soybeans, tofu, walnuts, butternuts, and leafy greens. You may have heard that fish contain omega-3 fatty acids; however, the fish actually built their
omega-3s from plants, too--from seaweeds and microalgae. In the Anticancer Food Guide on page 50-53, we'll list the best sources and exactly how much you need. As you'll see, it's not much.

Healthy Eating for Life to Prevent and Treat Cancer, Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine.

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