As we normally focus our attention on losing weight and burning body fat, naturally we tend to overlook the fact that body fat does play some crucial roles in the body and is essential for good health. While you definitely don’t want to have excessive amount of body fat, but if you reduce your body fat too much, that’s definitely going to bring you some serious problems as well. Let’s take a look at the various functions of fat in the body so that you can understand more about this often misunderstood body tissue. One important fact about body fat is that women have higher overall essential levels of body fat compared to men due to the fact that the female body needs to be capable to give birth to a baby. Fat stores in the female body will help to maintain better hormonal concentrations that support the development of a fetus and as a reserved energy should starvation set in during the pregnancy period. When women reduce their body fat levels too low, their menstrual cycle will stop and this will prevent them from giving birth any longer until it’s brought up to a higher level again.
Another role of body fat is to regulate the appetite. The body’s powerful defense systems trigger during long periods of under-eating and will alert you to begin eating so that your body weight doesn’t drop to a risky level. This regulation is provided by hormones produced within the fat cells that will signal to the brain the current level of body fat. Without body fat tissue, you would feel a lack of satiety after eating a meal and would easily become hungry. This is the reason why the slimmer you get after a period of dieting, the more likely you’re going to feel hungry. At this stage of dieting, the body is making less hormones that manage our appetite, so our brain will signal to us that we need to start eating some food.
Although carbohydrates are the main source of body energy, fat is stored as backup energy in case carbohydrates are not available. Fat is a condensed energy source as each gram of fat has 9 calories (over twice the calories from protein and carbohydrates), so you should try not to take more than 20 to 35% of your daily calories from fat. Our bodies can also retain fats for future use. If you eat food that generates more energy than the body needs to discharge its normal functions, the excess food is stocked as subcutaneous fat under the skin. Sometimes this fatty tissue will be stocked in the thighs and stomach. Fats are also stored around our vital organs to help protect them from outside impacts or any sudden movements Fat-soluble vitamins need fat in order to be absorbed and stored.
These include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K, all of which are essential nutrients of our daily diet. Vitamin A promotes good vision and keep our eyes healthy; vitamin D absorbs calcium; vitamin E neutralizes free radicals and protect cells; and vitamin K helps blood clotting. If you are short of fat in your body, you will suffer from deficiency in one or more of these vitamins. There is a thin layer of fat right underneath our skin that will help to provide insulation during colder weather so that you don’t freeze to death. This is again why after a period of successful dieting you may notice that you feel quite a bit cooler at any given temperature than you used to – you have less fat presents to keep you warm. Another major role of body fat is to help protect all the vital organs by functioning as a cushion.
If something pierces in the abdominal cavity and you have very little body fat, there is a much greater risk of injury than if you do have some fat present. Fats form the essential membrane that surrounds each of the body’s cells. It is crucial that each cell has a healthy cell membrane as without it, the cell wouldn’t be able to function. Fat is also required in the course of building new cells and it is indispensable for nerve function and normal brain development. Fat also helps enhance the brain by supplying the structural components of the various cell membranes found in the brain. It also creates the basic components for myelin, a fatty insulating sheath that surrounds the numerous nerve fibers, helping them transmit messages more quickly.
Fats are also responsible for producing hormones. They monitor the body’s production of the sex hormones; that is why some underweight teenage girls will experience sexual maturity later than their peers. Fat is also one of the basic components of prostaglandins, which are one of the most crucial substances found in the body. These hormone-like lipid compounds regulate a great deal of the functions of the body. Fat also helps boost healthy hair and skin. It helps our bodies absorb excess amounts of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K through the bloodstream.
Dry, flaky skin is actually a symptom of a deficiency in fatty acids. Subcutaneous fat, found just under the skin, not only helps enrich the skin, but also helps insulate the body, regulating body temperature in the process. So now you should understand, while you definitely don’t want too much fat as that will create health hazards, some fat is definitely indispensable. When choosing fat, you should always look for polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated ones. They help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as balance cholesterol levels. They are abundant in avocados, nuts, vegetable oils and cold-water fish.
Bad fats (trans and saturated fats) will lift LDL (bad) cholesterol level which can raise blood pressure and harden the arteries and increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. In fact, high density lipoprotein (good fats) help the body wipe out excessive amounts of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Trans and saturated fats can be found in dairy, seafood, red meat and processed foods. Oily fish (including tuna, trout, sardine and salmon) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial to the body. Due to this, the American Heart Association suggests taking 2 servings of fatty fish per week. Olive oil can help lower your risk of some cancers, blood pressure issues and heart disease, but there are 100 calories in each tablespoon so it is crucial to limit the use.
You can either add a little in salad or use it sparingly in cooking. Avocados have a high fat content but most of this fat is monounsaturated which helps lower bad cholesterol. It is crucial to eat them in moderate quantity because one medium avocado contains around 30 grams of fat. Eggs offer plenty of fat and protein. Although the egg yolk is fatty, it also has essential nutrients. in fact, among the 5 grams of fat found in an egg, 3.
5 grams are unsaturated (good) fats. Whole eggs also contain choline (a B vitamin that enhances the cardiovascular and nervous systems as well as the brain). Nibbling nuts can help lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Nuts which supply healthy fat include almonds, walnuts and pistachios. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, walnuts contain an omega-3 fatty acid and pistachios supply carotenoids that are crucial for eye health.