Fats provide the most amount of energy than other types of nutrients and give our bodies essential vitamins and fatty acids. Fat is really important because it protects our internal organs, helps us stay warm, and makes up our cell membranes and hormones.
A fatty acid is a building block of dietary fat. Fatty acids come together to build bigger fat molecules which we refer to as fats. There are saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature. They are found in meat and other animal products like cheese. You should try to limit your saturated fat intake to less than 10 % of your daily total calories. For example, if you eat 2000 calories per day your total saturated fat intake would be 22 grams.
Unsaturated fats are the other type of fats, and they are liquid at room temperature and include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are better for us than saturated fats. Strong evidence shows that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, is associated with reduced blood levels of total cholesterol and of low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) and is associated with a reduced risk of CVD events (heart attacks) and CVD-related deaths. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive and peanut oil. Polyunsaturated fatty acids found in corn oil and salmon.
The two types of essential fatty acids are omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. They are considered to be essential because our bodies cannot make these fats. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for liver function, wound healing, vision, hearing, and brain function. Omega 3 fatty acids also help decrease inflammation throughout the body. EPA, a specific omega 3 fatty acid, is found in fish oils. EPA is incorporated into our cell membranes and is used improve fat break down in the body, lowers blood fat levels, and decreases blood pressure. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, salmon, tuna, soybean oil, and canola oil. Omega 6 fatty acids keep our skin looking healthy and are important for growth and development. Safflower, corn, and sunflower oils are sources of omega 6 fatty acids.