Important fats for fitness

Fats are next to carbohydrates and proteins a major nutrient for us humans. They are a substance needed for hormones, flavour carrier, cellular structures and energy suppliers and to build muscles. Fats are also a protection for your organs like liver, brain and kidney and can take up liposoluble vitamins. It is important though, which kind of fats you take up because they differ in structure and applicability and influence your metabolism differently. Your diet should include mainly unsaturated fatty acids, which your body can not develop itself. Therefore they are essential.

Fried food

Trans fats

Trans fats emerge when solid fats are heated up and they are harmful for your organism. They are mainly found in fast food, chicken wings, crisps, sausages and even some mueslis.

Important: When taking up trans fats, even the smallest amounts, it will undo all of your hard work and training. Just do not integrate them into your diet.

ghee - clarified butter

Saturated fatty acids

Due to the composition, where carbon atoms bind with hydrogen atoms these fatty acids are called saturated fatty acids. They are found in animal source foods like meat, butter, cheese, coconut fats or cream and serve as energy suppliers.

Important to much saturated fat can lead to obesity. Still, they are important fats because they make vitamins like vitamin A applicable for your body.

Valuable sources of fats

  • nuts (almonds and walnuts)
  • fish (salmon, herring, eel and tuna)
  • cooking oils (canola oil, walnut oil, olive oil, fish oil and flaxseed oil)
  • avocado
  • flaxseed and chia seeds
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Unsaturated fatty acids

Unsaturated fatty acids are essential fats and differ from single and multi unsaturated fatty acids. single saturated fatty acids are for example olive oil, seeds and nuts and can be produced by the human body, multi unsaturated fatty acids are for example omega-3 (like in sunflower oil) and omega-6 fatty acids (like in flaxseed oil). These unsaturated fatty acids can not be created by your body. That is why they are also called essential fatty acids.

Important: Unsaturated fatty acids encourage the building of muscles and therefore are important fats. That is why you should take up food that contains omega-3 and omega-6 on a daily basis.

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Important omega-3 fatty acids

Important omega-3 fatty acids are the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alspha-linolenic acid (ALA) and the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). They hamper inflammatory reactions in the histoid by providing a good ratio of eicosanoids. These fatty acids exist for example in canola oil and a lot of fishes (for example mackerel, salmon, herring and sardines. These unsaturated fatty acids make sure that less insulin is needed while digesting. Insulin is a substance that blocks fat reducing and unsaturated fats help to burn fat. If your diet does not offer enough omega-3 fatty acids you can take extra omega-3 fish oil capsules.

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Important omega-6 fatty acids

An important source for omega-6 fatty acids is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) like found in milk, butter and lamb or beef. It encourages the building of fat free muscle mass. Your recommended daily requirement of CLA differs with the body physique and should be between 66 and 3500mg. If you take CLA as a nutritional supplement make sure that if fits your daily diet.

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Proportional intake of unsaturated fats

Unsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids should always be taken in an optimal proportion to your body. An optimal proportion is 1:3, like found naturally in chia seeds.

Overall, the food of a athlete contain should 25 – 30 percent important fats, two-thirds unsaturated fats.