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What are fats?
Fat is a dirty word in dieting circles, but fats are actually a vital component in a healthy diet, particularly for athletes.
Healthy fats help protect your joints, keep your heart healthy and can promote hormone production.
Below, we'll discuss the benefits of healthy fats for athletes and how to get the most out of them:
What are fats?
Fats are very important for good health, they insulate your body, cushion vital organs and are used for fuel. Most foods that contain fats contain a balance of:
- MUFAís - Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
- PUFAís Ė Polyunsaturated fatty acids
- EFAís Ė Essential Fatty Acids
Derived from polyunsaturated fatty acids and come in 3 forms, Omega 3ís, 6ís and 9ís. They are healthy fats and are called essential because our body cannot manufacture them we have to eat them. They have many benefits, building cells, transportation of oxygen, hormone production (prostaglandinís), these functions are even more important if you are an athlete. They are also high in vitamin E, which is a good antioxidant. There are many medical studies of Omega 3ís, 6ís and 9ís, while some do conflict there is no doubt that they are very important nutrients to the body. Here are some examples:
Help protect heart and blood vessels (helps against strokes and heart attacks), there is a very low incident of this amongst Japanese and Eskimos as they eat a lot of fish. Promotes brain function, reduces inflammation, lowers LDL (low-density-lipoprotein) bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, promotes HDL (high-densitylipoprotein) which is good cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, prevents blood clotting and promotes hormone production.
The best sources for Omega 3ís are fish (tinned or fresh), herring, mackerel, tuna and salmon but all fish including shellfish contains some. You can also obtain it from Flaxseed (linseed), Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds plus green leafy vegetables.
Omega 6 & 9ís
Lowers cholesterol, again reduces pain by lowering inflammation, helps eczema and other skin disorders, relieves PMS, boosts immune system, reduces body fat, reduces the risk of hardening of the arteries.
The best sources for Omega 6ís are evening primrose, sunflower, safflower oils, conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), peanuts, almonds, but walnuts have twice the value of all other nuts.
The best sources for Omega 9ís come from Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and is found in olive oil (extra virgin or virgin), avocados, and most nuts. If you have got sufficient Omega 3 & 6 in your diet, you will not have to worry about Omega 9.
Never cook with any of the oils that are the best sources of Omegaís as this destroys them.
Experts disagree on the amount and ratios that we should consume of Omegaís 3ís / 6ís and it would be hard to calculate the amounts. Your best bet is to eat fish at least twice a week and plenty of green veg every day, eat nuts regular and use the oils mentioned above to pour over your rice, pasta or porridge. You could even use the oils instead of butter on wholegrain bread.
All fats including essential fatty acids (good fats) are high in calories (9 kcal per gram), so take this into account when calculating your total calories for the day, you may have to reduce your carbs slightly. Pro-Omega has been developed to provide Omega
Monounsaturated fats typically remain liquid at extremely low temperatures. These fats are also found in vegetable oils such as olive oil, peanut oil and canola oil. They help lower total blood cholesterol by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol without lowering HDL (good) cholesterol.