Revanth Katta talks about Fats.
On a daily basis our body requires three essential nutrients — Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats. Each nutrient has a specific function in supplying our body with fuel to run and plays an important part in weight management. We have already talked about the importance of proteins; here we take up the issue of fats.
Fats are perhaps the most misunderstood nutrients, often tagged with obesity and ill health. However, one has to understand that fats are essential in the normal healthy functioning of our body.
Fats perform a wide range of functions in our body. They play a vital role in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and regulate body temperature. They also form the essential base for many hormones.
A typical healthy diet should source 20 per cent of the calories from healthy sources of fats like olives, nuts, edible oil, fish etc. However, many people looking to lose weight by cutting fats completely from their diets. According to WHO and USAD, this would actually harm their health by creating a hormonal imbalances, making the body more prone to obesity.
There are of two types of fats — essential and non-essential fats. Essential fats (EFs) are those which we have to supply to our body through food. Our bodies are incapable of synthesising these EFs unlike non-essential fats.
EFs are the most neglected fats of all. Since they have to be supplied to the body through external sources, special care should be taken to include foods like fish, flax seeds, soya oil, canola oil, sunflower seeds etc. in our diet on a daily basis.
EFs play a vital role in many metabolic processes and bioenergetics of our body. There is a process called energy compartmentalisation, that, simply put, is a process by which the body decides what to do with the energy it draws by digesting the food. The energy that comes from the food must either be stored as fat and glycogen or must be made available to the body as glucose for immediate needs. If the body decides that the energy is to be stored as fat, we put on unwanted weight.
EFs play an essential role in encouraging the body to divert the energy in food more towards glycogen and glucose synthesis, thus reducing the fat production.
EFs like Omega-3 fatty acids available in fish in ample amounts contain hormone-like substances that reduce inflammation and regulate blood pressure by eliminating the hyper excitable cells of the heart. Fish oil also promotes healthy cognitive abilities in children.
Vegetarians can source their Omega-3 fatty acids from flax seeds. A spoonful of freshly ground flax seed sprinkled on salad or oatmeal would have sufficient Omega-3 fatty acids.
How much fat do we need?
Typically we need 2-3 tablespoons of oil on a daily basis, out of which one spoon should be sourced from fish oil and flax seeds.