Why Are Fats Essential To Life?

old message Why Are Fats Essential To Life? Darrell Miller 10/11/11

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Date: October 11, 2011 12:27 PM
Subject: Why Are Fats Essential To Life?

Essential Fatty Acids And Your Health

The body needs nutrients to be able to sustain life and maintain normal health and wellness. These nutrients are classified into two categories, namely macronutrient and micronutrient. The former includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats while the latter comprises of the vitamins and minerals. In this article we will be focusing on the importance and health benefits of the macronutrient fats.

Fats are a wide group of chemical compounds which normally cannot be dissolved in water but soluble in organic solvents. Usually, fats are either solid or liquid at room temperature. Fats are important to the body because it serves both as a structural and metabolic function component. These are some of the purpose of fats in the body:

1. CELLULAR STRUCTURE. Structurally, fats are very important during cellular division because it is a primary component of the cellular membrane. Together with protein, fats in the form of lipids make up several parts of the cells most especially that of the membrane.

2. VITAMIN ABSORPTION. Vitamins are categorized into two, water – soluble and fat – soluble. The latter includes vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins can only be broken down, absorbed and transported all throughout the body with the help of fats. Without adequate amount of fats, these vitamins cannot be utilized by the body.

3. BODY INSULATOR. The body needs fats so that body heat will be gradually dissipated from the body. More fats mean more body insulator. In fact, newborns are prone to alteration in body thermoregulation because they still have no adequate amount of fat to protect the body from cold by preserving heat within the body. Lean and thin individuals are also easily cold than fat ones. Thus, fats are important for maintaining a normal body temperature.

4. SKIN AND HAIR HEALTH. Fats are also important in maintaining the health of our skin and hair. This is for the reason that the skin and hair are considered to be composed of fast – growing cells. And as mentioned above, cellular division requires fats since these are required in the production of the membrane of the cells.

5. ENERGY STORE. Like carbohydrates and proteins, fats also function as an energy store for the body. Fats contain 9 calories per gram of fat. When fats are broken down inside the body, it releases glycerol and free fatty acids. Glycerol is a chemical compound which can be converted in the liver into glucose which is considered as the food for the cells for the production of energy.

6. HORMONE PRODUCTION. Nonetheless, fats are also important for the synthesis of hormones as well as enzymes in the body. There are many hormones in the body which are fat- based. Some of these hormones are the reproductive hormones estrogen and testosterone.

Fats can be produced by the body from other existing compounds. However, there are certain types of fats which cannot be produced by the body therefore must be supplied by the diet. Edible fats from animals include lard, fish oil, butter and ghee. On the other hand, edible fats from plants include peanut, soy beans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, coconut, olive and vegetable oils.

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