In a world full of the unhealthy trans fat that is contained in almost all the food people love nowadays, there are still good fats which you can choose other than this bad fat – the healthy fats. What are these healthy fats and in which factors do they differ from unhealthy trans fats?
Healthy Fat vs Unhealthy Fat
The fats we consume make a huge impact on our overall health condition, so it is very important to be aware of the different kinds of fat so we can choose which ones are the best.
Let’s first go to unhealthy fats.
For unhealthy fats, there is usually just one group that fits this description; and they are trans fats. The trans fat is commonly found in many foods, especially in those foods that kids love the most like fast foods, fried foods, donuts, and many others. However, many people mistake trans fat for being unhealthy. Yes, trans fat is unhealthy, but it does not apply to all kinds of trans fat. Only those trans fats that were made synthetically or through industrial means are considered to be the unhealthy ones because they are not natural fats.
To be able to identify industrialized trans fat, try to check on your food product’s nutrition facts. Also, these fats are byproducts of vegetable oils that are incorporated with lots of hydrogen gas. Through that process, they are able to produce new kinds of fat that are even made into solid forms.
As for the body’s way of recognizing these fats, this is where the problem starts.
Most of the time, the body is able to identify trans fat as saturated fat (a different kind of fat); thus they are processed inside the body the same way as saturated fats. However, the trans fats that were made from industrialized vegetable oils cannot be recognized by the body, and that’s how several health conditions start.
When it comes to saturated fats, they are somehow hard to categorize whether they are healthy or unhealthy fats.
Even researchers find it quite hard to give specifics on saturated fats, so some of them just settled in calling the fats either healthy or unhealthy. Also, they gave the fats the middle-ranking between healthy and unhealthy because there is a wide range of saturated fats and each of them has different characteristics and properties.
Healthy fats are basically the best fats we should consume. There are a lot of foods that contain these fats and there are two kinds of healthy fats; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
When talking about which is better when the two healthy fats are compared, polyunsaturated fats are the winner. However, both are good for the body; especially the heart, so there’s no problem there.
The healthy unsaturated fats also have their own kinds. Two of the healthiest fats called omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids are known as polyunsaturated fats. For the record, there are a lot of healthy fats, but we will just focus on one kind of monounsaturated fat – the oleic acid.
Oleic acid is almost similar to omega-3 and omega-6 fats, it is also considered a fatty acid. Their difference, however, is that both omega-3 and omega-6 fats are polyunsaturated fats, and the oleic acid is monounsaturated fat.
Another term for oleic acid is an omega-9 fatty acid, and it is a natural fat that is found in many kinds of food and even our cells are capable of making their own sets of oleic acid. The reason why it can be made by cells is that the acids are essential in some cell functioning; specifically in the maintenance of thick cell membrane layers that are needed by the body to prevent the invasion of foreign bodies and pathogens, and also for carrying minerals and reacting to hormones.
If you want to boost the benefits of this fatty acid, you may stock up on your olive oil because it contains heaps of it. This is how the people believed the Mediterranean diet worked, simply because of the olive oil that is rich in omega-9 fatty acids.
Oleic acids are healthy and are important in the body, but it is not necessary to add them to our diets because they can already be synthesized by the cells inside our bodies. But also, there’s nothing wrong with getting their additional benefits by consuming food that contains them. So, what are these benefits that fatty acid can provide our bodies?
What Does Oleic Acid do to the Body
1. It promotes heart health.
First of all, as a fatty acid, the most that the omega-9 fatty acid can do is boost a person’s heart health. Because of this, it can handle certain cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Oleic acid is able to lower the levels of blood pressure and cholesterol to help avoid the development of stroke or heart disease. It can also give additional benefits like maintaining the levels of the good cholesterol in the body and by reducing amounts of triglycerides in the blood.
2. Omega-9 fatty acids can contribute to losing weight.
One of the best things about fatty acids is that they are actually helpful when it comes to losing weight. Their components are made to be in charge of the excessive amounts of insulin; thus boosting the body’s ability to lose weight. They can also give the person a feeling of fullness to avoid eating too much, which also helps in losing weight.
3. The fatty acid can boost a person’s brain function.
Some studies have suggested that monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid are somehow able to contribute to preventing the development of cognitive disorders. The patients are given amounts of olive oil for a specific period of time to try if they are really useful. The results were positive and showed that the fats in olive oil are possible as a natural treatment for cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.