Fats are in everyone
natural food Present to some extent, suggesting that they can make a valuable contribution to our diet. In the same way, we also find a significant amount of fat in our organism, but not only the "superfluous" fat visible to us on the abdomen, legs and buttocks. Each of our cells is surrounded by fat molecules (the membrane lipids), the brain and nerve cells contain fats, but also all our organs are coated by a lipid layer. It is impossible to imagine our diet without this nutrient, even though due to its high energy content only moderate amounts are recommended. In this article you will learn about the importance of healthy fats in the human diet and what foods you can use to meet your needs.
Fats in the diet
From a chemical point of view, fats are lipids or lipophilic molecules, insoluble in water, but in apolar solvents (z.B. chloroform or ether) can be dissolved. Lipids include, for example, cholesterol, fat-soluble vitamins and, for our diet, probably the most important group of the Triacylglycerides, because they are the essential component of our dietary lipids and contain one to three Fatty acids as the main components.
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Fat quality: essential or not?
With regard to the fat quality A distinction is made between saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, with omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids being essential for the human organism.
Saturated fatty acids the organism does not need iron supplied from the outside, d. h. they are easily produced endogenously in the body. Saturated fatty acids are found predominantly in animal foods, but also in coconut or palm oil. Trans fatty acids represent an unsaturated form, which is especially present in processed and fried foods. They have an unfavorable effect on the fat metabolism resp. are associated with adverse health consequences, mainly affecting the heart (De Souza et al., 2015; Ginter and Simko, 2016). Monounsaturated fatty acids are contained, for example, in avocado and vegetable oils such as olive oil. They have a protective character with regard to the blood cholesterol level by lowering an "undesirably" high LDL value and can therefore be called healthy fats. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, to which we include omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for us in intake, paying particular attention to the intake of omega-3 sources.
The difference between fats and oils
The difference between fats and oils lies in their nature and is due to their fatty acid spectrum.
From a Fat is spoken when the product is stored at room temperature (ca. 20 °C) or lower temperatures in solid form, which indicates that it contains predominantly saturated fatty acids. The best example is butter, but coconut fat or cocoa butter also differ in their consistency and their fatty acid spectrum from the Oils. The latter, in contrast to fats, have a high content of unsaturated fatty acids and are therefore suitable for use at lower temperatures (< 20 °C) liquid (BMEL, 2011).
The term "fat" is used more colloquially in the context of this definition. The fats in our food are, in the technical sense, the following triacylglycerides or. fat-rich substances are collectively referred to by the umbrella term Lipids provide.
Requirements and recommendations
The DGE recommends that no more than 30% of daily energy intake should come from fats, which in other words means around 60-80 g Fat corresponds (DGE, 2016). Thereby also the Fat quality The amount and choice of fats should be taken into account because they can affect our health (DGE, 2015a). Due to the very high energy content and the increased consumption of unfavorable fats, this macronutrient can promote not only obesity, but equally associated diseases. With the preferred intake of whole plant foods combined with certain vegetable oils, healthy fats can be consumed as needed.
The average fat intake in Germany exceeds recommendations, especially for men, and is 35-40 percent energy, of which animal products are the main source of intake (DGE, 2015b).
Food animal origin contain hidden fats, which can not only increase the fat intake unnoticed, but also have a high energy value. When consuming the most vegetable products On the one hand, we consume less energy on average, on the other hand, these foods often contain a more favorable fatty acid spectrum.
Ideal sources of fat
A whole-food diet includes fat sources from foods of natural origin, d. h. from nuts And Oilseeds, but also from fattier fruits, such as avocados or olives. Oilseeds are seeds and kernels of a plant that are usually used to produce vegetable oil, such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.
Moderate amounts of certain vegetable oils can optimally supplement our diet, because they contain valuable fatty acids and thus healthy fats in concentrated form. However, in the case of oils, compared to whole foods, it is a refined and therefore also processed product, which contains only small amounts of micronutrients and phytochemicals, especially if it is not the cold-pressed variety.
nuts and oilseeds
Nuts consist of 40-70% fat, of which the majority is simple and polyunsaturated fatty acids on the other hand, their protein content of 10-20 % is also worth mentioning. In the case of seeds, this is even higher, up to 37%. In addition, these little powerhouses contain a number of additional nutrients, especially minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Studies show that the regular consumption of nuts and oilseeds actively contributes to the Disease prevention fats can have a positive effect on our health, especially on the cardiovascular system, because they contain u. a. of healthy fats can be consumed (Ros and Hu, 2013; Ros, 2015).
Also Oleaginous fruits, among which we include avocados or olives, represent a wholesome food with a relatively high fat content, however, compared to nuts and seeds, they have a lower fat and protein content. Overall, all of these unprocessed, natural plants provide us with an "all-around package" of many different nutrients, fiber and phytochemicals, which is why they are the primary fat source should represent in our diet.
One oil in question is the Extract of the fat content from the respective whole food, z. B. of the olive, seeds or nuts. Their energy content is therefore significantly higher (900 kcal/100g) than that of the original plant, but their content of nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, secondary plant compounds and dietary fiber is significantly lower. What they can provide us with, however, are healthy fats with essential fatty acids and fat-soluble Vitamins, like vitamin E. Uses include cold-pressed linseed oil. Walnut oil in unheated form. For moderate heating of food, olive oil or rapeseed oil, among others, are suitable; at a temperature of over 200 °C, i.e. when frying food, you should use the refined variant of an oil or also coconut fat.
The whole fat sources however, represent the preferred choice to meet fat requirements, as their consumption is associated with additional positive health effects (Damasceno et al., 2011; Sala-Vila et al., 2014).
Important especially (but not only) for vegans: the essential omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are not found in plant sources. Although they contain u. a. Walnuts and flaxseeds certain amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids otherwise found only in marine animals that consume seaweed. However, the omega-3 fatty acids in plants (alpha-linoleic acid) are only converted to the active and important form DHA to a very small extent. Therefore, in a purely plant-based diet, it is recommended to ensure the intake of the healthy fats through a microalgae oil or a vegetable oil enriched with DHA and EPA or. supplement to secure.
Healthy fats: table
Table 1: Fatty acid spectrum of nuts, oilseeds, oleaginous fruits and vegetable oils. Data in g/100 g (BLS, USDA, Suri et al., 2016)
saturated fatty acids Monounsaturated fatty acids Polyunsaturated fatty acids
oleic acid (omega-9) linoleic acid (omega-6) a-linolenic acid (omega-3) Nuts, oilseeds and oleaginous fruits
Walnuts 6 11 34 8 Cashew nuts 9 29 9 0 Almonds 5 34 12 0 Hazelnuts 5 46 8 0.1 Peanuts 9 22 14 0.5 Brazil nuts 17 22 29 0 Sesame seeds 8 21 19 0.7 Flax seeds 3.6 7 5 20 Chia seeds 3 2 6 18 Hemp seeds 5 5 20 6 Pumpkin seeds 9 17 19 0 Sunflower seeds 3 7 17 0 Avocado 3 7 1.4 0.1 Olives 2 10 1 0 Coconut pulp 32 2 0.7 0 Vegetable oils
Linseed oil 10 19 14 53 Walnut oil 11 19 53 12 Olive oil 14 69 8 1 Rapeseed oil 9 45 15 9 Hemp oil 7 11 50 18 Soybean oil 15 19 53 8 Sesame oil 13 41 43 0 Sunflower oil 11 25 50 0.2
With the fat applies: less is more and/or. Quality before quantity. In some cases, those who omit animal processed foods automatically consume fewer hidden, usually "unhealthy fats" and fewer beneficial fatty acids, which is why those who are vegan are often already on the safe side. Because healthy fats with their unsaturated fatty acids are primarily found in plants. Also with vegan nutrition attention is to be given on the Selection sources of fat, preferring whole foods from nuts, seeds and oleaginous fruits. If you want to use oils, choose those with a favorable fatty acid spectrum, which include linseed, walnut, hemp, rapeseed or olive oil and can therefore be called healthy fats. Especially if you are on a vegan diet, but even if fish is rarely on the menu, you should regularly consume an oil rich in omega-3s. The content of this article can be. Is not to replace an individual Vegane nourishing consultation. In the directory for Vegane nourishing consultation find you, in your proximity locally or on-line, expert support.
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