Fatty Acids – The Forgotten Macro Nutrient


At EQ Nutrition we do not fear carbs, we do not fear fats and we obviously love protein.  They all have their part to play in our healthy energy balanced lifestyles.  Yes we supply supplements, and that is what they are, supplements to support you when required.  However, most of your energy and macro nutrients should come from good sources of non processed food. 
Each of the macronutrients, carbohydrate, protein and fat, has a unique set of properties that influences health, but all are a source of energy. The optimal balance of their contribution to the diet has been a long-standing matter of debate. Over the past half century, there has been a progression of thinking regarding the mechanisms by which each may contribute to energy balance. At the beginning of this time period, the emphasis was on eating frequency. This was followed by portion size. Most recently, research has been directed to the brain where the reward signals can lead to disordered eating.
Fat does not make you fat. No, not even dairy fat. For instance, a 2013 review published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that people who eat full-fat dairy tend to be leaner than those who opt for low-fat versions. And in a 2016-released long-term study of 18,438 middle-aged women, consumption of high-fat dairy, but not low-fat dairy, was associated with reduced likelihood of becoming overweight through the years. That may be because fat is an incredibly satiating nutrient, filling you up, slowing down the release of sugars into your bloodstream and helping to prevent overeating.
As fatty acids play a very important role in health – the team at EQ sat down and discussed what would you have in your cupboards or fridge as staple healthy sources of fats and why.  The below were deemed to be our top 10.


TOP 10 HIGH-FAT FOODS

AVOCADO

Fat per 100g = 15g

Health Benefits 

Avocados are a stone fruit with a creamy texture that grow in warm climates. Their potential health benefits include improving digestion, decreasing risk of depression, and protection against cancer.
Also known as an alligator pear or butter fruit, the versatile avocado is the only fruit that provides a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). Avocados are a naturally nutrient-dense food and contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.

 

FULL FAT YOGURT

Fat per 100g = 3.3g

Health Benefits
Yogurt has been consumed by humans for hundreds of years.  It’s very nutritious, and eating it regularly may boost several aspects of your health.  For example, yogurt has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as aid in weight management.
Yoghurt contains protein, plus other nutrients like calcium, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, potassium and magnesium.  Yogurt contains some of nearly every nutrient that your body needs.  It’s known for containing a lot of calcium, a mineral necessary for healthy teeth and bones. Just one cup provides 49% of your daily calcium needs.  It is also high in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12 and riboflavin, both of which may protect against heart disease and certain neural tube birth defects.
That same one cup also provides 38% of your daily need for phosphorus, 12% for magnesium and 18% for potassium. These minerals are essential for several biological processes, such as regulating blood pressure, metabolism and bone health.
One nutrient that yogurt does not contain naturally is vitamin D, but it is commonly fortified with it. Vitamin D promotes bone and immune system health and may reduce the risk of some diseases, including heart disease and depression.  It also contains strains of good bacteria or probiotics which research is showing may have positive benefits on gut health.

 

NUTS

Fat per 100g = 48.9g (Cashew)
Health Benefits
Nuts are high in healthy fats and fibre.  They are a good plant based source of protein rich magnesium, vitamin E, phosphorus, copper, manganese and selenium. They are loaded with antioxidants, will aid satiety, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, support a healthy metabolism, reduce inflammation and are high in fibre.
To top it all they taste great and can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

COCONUT OIL / COCONUTS

Fat per 100g = 100g
Health Benefits
Coconut oil has a combination of fatty acids that can have positive effects on your health. This includes fat loss and better brain function. It is high in healthy saturated fats. These fats can provide your body and brain with energy.  They could increase fat burning as the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase how many calories you burn compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fat.  It can support a health immune system as it can kill harmful bacteria. It raises good HDL cholesterol in your blood which is linked to reduced heart disease risk.  It also helps protect your skin and hair and can boost brain function in Alzheimers patients.

SALMON / FATTY FISH

Fat per 100g = 9g

Health Benefits

Salmon

 is both delicious and nutritious. In addition to being a source of protein, it provides omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B and D, and minerals like niacin and phosphorus. Omega 3 is shown to have both physical and cognitive benefits, such as alleviating depression and anxiety, improving eye health and promoting brain health during pregnancy and early life. Salmon can improve risk factors for heart disease and can reduce symptoms for ADHD in children. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of molecules and substances linked to inflammation, can reduce asthma in children and may even help prevent some cancers.

EGGS

Fat per 100g = 11g
Health Benefits
My personal favourite – nature’s vitamin pill, eggs. Whole eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet as they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient we need (no skipping the yolk please) Eggs are high in quality protein with all the essential amino acids in the right ratios.
They contain vitamin A, Folate, vitamin B5, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, Phosphorus & Selenium.  Eggs also contain decent amounts of vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, calcium, zinc and of course protein.
They raise HDL Cholesterol (the good one)
They also contain Choline, which is used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signalling molecules in the brain, along with various other functions.
Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that have major benefits for eye health.
If ever there was a super food – that chicken should be revered.

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Fats per 100g = 100g
Health Benefits
Extra Virgin olive oil is the natural oil extracted from olives, the fatty fruit of the olive tree. About 24% of the oil is saturated fats and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (1). But the predominant (73%) fatty acid in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which is extremely healthy.
Oleic acid is believed to help reduce inflammation, and may have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
Monounsaturated fats in extra virgin olive oil are also quite resistant to high heat, making it a healthy choice for cooking.
It also contains vitamins E and K and is loaded with powerful antioxidants.  Some of these antioxidants can help fight inflammation, prevent stroke and fight heart disease. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol markers.
Olive oil supplementation appears to improve inflammatory markers and reduce oxidative stress in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.  It also contains many nutrients that can inhibit or kill harmful bacteria.
However, the importance of getting the right kind of olive oil cannot be overstated. Extra virgin olive oil is the only type that contains all the antioxidants and bioactive compounds. It is the only olive oil we recommend.

CHEESE

Fat per 100g = 34.9 (Cheddar)
Health Benefits
Cheese is a great source of calcium and protein. It also contains high amounts of vitamins A and B12, along with zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin.
According to several studies, cheese could work to protect your teeth from cavities. A study from Finland showed that bacteria from the lactobacillus rhamnosus strain, a bacteria found in cheese, can lower the count of cavity-causing yeast in the mouth. An Indian study also found that cheese with no sugar added can increase the calcium and phosphate concentration in dental plaque, which reduces the likelihood of cavities.

CHIA SEEDS

Fat per 100g = 28g
Health Benefits
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, which is related to the mint. This plant grows natively in South America.
Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans, they prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.” Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, it is only recently that chia seeds have become recognised in the Western diet.
Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fibre, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.
Chia seeds are very high in healthy fats, especially Omega 3 fatty acid called ALA.  They have numerous health benefits such as lots of antioxidants which fight the production of free radicals which damage cells and can lead to cancer and ageing, they are high in several nutrients that are important for bone health. These include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein
They may be among the few new fashionable trendy foods that live up to the hype.

DARK CHOCOLATE

Fat per 100g = 27g (70%)
Health Benefits
Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health.
Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.
Studies show that dark chocolate can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease.
If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious. It contains a decent amount of soluble fibre and is loaded with minerals.
A 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:
  • 11 grams of fibre.
  • 67% of the RDA for Iron.
  • 58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
  • 89% of the RDA for Copper.
  • 98% of the RDA for Manganese.
  • It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
Dark Chocolate may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, raises HDL and protects LDL against oxidation, it may lower the risk of heart disease, has the potential to protect your skin from the sun and may improve brian function.
Just be aware that 100 grams is a fairly large amount and not something you should be consuming daily.

CONCLUSION


Fatty Acids play a very important role in health yet we all assume that fat is to blame for the obesity epidemic now plaguing our nation. Actually, fat is only part of the problem. Obesity is much more complicated than just overeating a single nutrient. Eating more calories – from fats, carbohydrates, protein, and alcohol – than you burn off leads to weight gain.
Simply put, people who get little physical activity and eat a diet high in calories are going to gain weight.  That good old Open Gob syndrome again. It’s way too easy to point the finger at fats because they lurk in so many foods we love: french fries, processed foods, cakes, cookies, chocolate, ice cream. So if you don’t want to expand your waistlines it is down to moderation and that balance of energy in vs energy out.  However, the benefits of eating fat are very clear to see – you can’t live without it.