Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids include monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, Omega-3 s and Omega-6s.

There are several types of fats that are found in plant and animal foods. Saturated Fats are in meat, butter, cheese, coconut oil, palm oil, and many other plant and animal-based foods. Saturated fats are created when trans fats undergo hydrogenation, a chemical process. If there is a high intake of saturated fats health may be compromised and coronary heart disease is very common. Canola oil, olive oil and peanut oils, are monounsaturated fats. These can lower cholesterol and decrease blood clots. They are also less susceptible to oxidation, or the loss of electrons. Plant oils are polyunsaturated fats such as safflower, sesame, sunflower and corn that lower cholesterol and the chance of blood clots. This function helps in the prevention of heart disease. Too much polyunsaturated fat, however, has been known to cause cancer.
Linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid and alpha linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid. The names correlate to the chemical structure of the fatty acids.

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