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8 Saturated fatty acid facts You must know

Along with the increasing awareness of healthy life, now more and more people are trying to avoid saturated fatty acids. Here are some facts of saturated fatty acids that must be understood.

Intake of fat and fatty acids is needed as a provider of energy and helps absorption of certain types of vitamins. However, excessive consumption of saturated fatty acids is detrimental to health.

Basically, omega 3, 6 and 9 are unsaturated fatty acids needed by the body for cell formation and controlling inflammation. You can get these three types of nutrients from plant foods and marine fish meat.

But these three types of unsaturated fatty acids actually do not have to be obtained in equal portions at the same time. Each has a different role and benefits for the body. In addition, consuming one too much might put you at risk for certain problems.

Get to know various kinds of unsaturated fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that cannot be produced by the body alone. Omega-3s are further divided by their respective types and roles, including:

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) - functions to produce eicosanoid chemicals in the body that play a role in maintaining immunity and controlling inflammation. EPA is also known to help relieve symptoms of depression.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - is one of the main components that builds 8% of the weight of the brain, so this type of fatty acid is indispensable in brain growth and development. DHA is not only needed by children during development but also in the elderly to prevent brain damage such as dementia.
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) - because of the simplest form among the three omega-3 fatty acids, ALA can be reshaped into DHA or EPA, but most ALA is used as an energy producer.

Saturated Fatty Acid Food


In addition to functioning as a type of fatty acid, omega-3 is also absorbed by the cell membrane of the body and has a function in regulating body fat by increasing levels of good cholesterol (HDL), preventing plaque in blood vessels, reducing fat accumulation under the skin and fat stored in the heart.

Unfortunately modern diets that consume less sugar, carbohydrates and fat are very few that contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 deficiency can accelerate the development of obesity and heart damage. Omega-3 can be obtained from consumption of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines and plant-based food ingredients such as chia seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed.


Omega-6 fatty acids

Like omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids are plural unsaturated fatty acids and are also essential fatty acids. In general, omega-6 is used as an energy producer but can also be reshaped into arachidonic acid (ARA) to produce eicosanoid chemicals, just like the EPA.

Although essential, but most people are not aware that their omega-6 intake tends to be excessive. This is due to the high consumption of cooking oil, fried foods, and mayonnaise. In addition, omega-6 is also found in nuts such as soybeans, almonds and cashews. Excess omega-6 can interfere with the balance of regulation of inflammation in the body. Basically the need for omega-6 in adults is only a little or about 17 grams for men and 12 grams for women.

Even so, some types of omega-6 actually remain safe even if consumed with a greater amount. One of them is omega-6 Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) from Evening Primorse plant oil and borage in supplement form. GLA is absorbed by being converted to dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) which is known to be useful in relieving rheumatic symptoms.


Omega-9 fatty acids

Unlike the two fatty acids above, the body can produce its own omega-9 intake. This is because omega-9 includes non-essential monounsaturated fatty acids. Omega-9 has the main type of fatty acid known as oleic acid which is very easy to obtain from nuts and some animal fat.

Although it can be self-produced, the body still needs additional intake from omega-9, for example to help regulate very-low-density-lipoprotein (VLDL) blood fat. And like other fatty acids, omega-9 also functions to reduce inflammation in the body. Oleic acid is also the basic ingredient of the brain envelope of the nerve sheath, called myelin.

Most of the omega-9 can be obtained from plant foods. There is no recommended intake of omega-9 because these fatty acids are non-essential, but there is also no safe limit on eating foods with omega-9. Food sources of omega-9 are olive oil, avocados, and processed oils from cashews or almonds.

Facts About Saturated Fatty Acids

It is not difficult to distinguish saturated fatty acids in food. At room temperature, saturated fatty acids form solid. Some other facts about saturated fatty acids are:

  • Eating foods containing excessive saturated fatty acids can increase cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, foods that are high in saturated fatty acids may also contain high calories.
  • Experts say, excessive intake of saturated fatty acids is associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease or high blood pressure.
  • Research reveals saturated fat fatty acids may be associated with certain types of cancer, such as breast, colon and prostate cancer.
  • Reducing the intake of saturated fatty acids not more than 10% of all calories can help reduce blood cholesterol levels. For people who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease, the intake of saturated fatty acids is even lower at 5-6% of all daily calories. So if the calorie requirement per day reaches 2,000 calories, saturated fatty acid intake should not exceed 120 calories or about 13 grams per day.
  • Saturated fatty acids are just one of the food nutrients. You must still pay attention to the overall diet. Mediterranean diet with a fat intake of around 45% of total calories and limited saturated fatty acid content, is one of the recommended dietary patterns.
  • Most of the animal-derived fats contain saturated fatty acids. For example, meat, bread, milk and other processed products such as sausages, butter and smoked meats. In addition, some oils from plants such as coconut oil and palm oil are also high in saturated fatty acids.
  • Replacing saturated fatty acids with unsaturated fatty acids will reduce the risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fatty acids such as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids that can be found from soybean oil, canola oil, and corn oil. Unsaturated fatty acids are also found in marine fish such as salmon and mackerel, and nuts.
  • A healthy diet with limited saturated fatty acids can prevent heart disease, especially minimizing processed foods. You can eat brown rice, fish, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil. Consumption of animal products, cheese, and dairy products.


Besides paying attention to healthy eating patterns that do not contain excessive saturated fatty acids, it is also important to pay attention to other healthy lifestyles. Start exercising regularly, avoid excessive stress, and avoid smoking. If necessary, consult your diet with a nutritionist.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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