Lipids are fats. They are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms and provide the form of energy most easily stored by the body. Lipids are essential for the proper functioning of our cells and nervous system. They are found in oils and margarines, animal fats such as in eggs, milk, butter, meat and fish… They are digested in the intestine.
The different categories of lipids
- Saturated fatty acids (Animal fats and certain vegetable fats, e.g. palm oil)
- Unsaturated fatty acids (vegetable fats and some animal fats)
- Monounsaturated fatty acids: oleic acid or omega 9 (olive oil)
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids: linoleic acid, omega 6 and derivatives, alpha-linoleic acid, omega 3 and derivatives (EPA, DHA found in fatty fish, which ensure proper brain function).
- Hydrogenated (trans) fatty acids: refined oils and margarines.
Fatty acids are more difficult to process than glucose. They are oxidized in the heart of the cells (in the mitochondria) of the liver, heart, kidneys, muscles and brain.
They are transformed by the Krebs cycle to become usable by the organism.
Lipids play a role in the structure of cell membranes. They are found in very large quantities in nerve cells and make up more than half of the solid part of the brain (70% of brain lipids are omega 3). At the heart of the cells, in the mitochondria, lipids participate in the production of sex hormones.
The body can’t synthesize lipids. So they all come from our diet.
My advices to choose good lipids
Prefer oils rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3, 6 and 9), and check that they are virgin and first cold-pressed.
Examples include rapeseed, olive, walnut, hazelnut and wheat germ oils.
Eat fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel, red mullet, salmon or tuna. Remember to check that they come from fair fishing. Beware, oily fish are the ones that also contain the most heavy metals. Choose them small and don’t eat them too often.
- sunflower and soybean oil;
- fatty meats, difficult to digest;
- industrial milk and cheese, prefer local producers ;