What Are Lipids?

WHAT ARE LIPIDS?

Lipids is the term used to describe the group of fats and oils.

WHAT FOOD GROUPS SUPPLY LIPIDS?

There are six main food groups that supply lipids.

WHAT ARE THE 6 MAIN FOOD GROUPS THAT SUPPLY LIPIDS?

1. Nuts. 2. Seeds.

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3. Fish. 4. Seafood. 5. Meat. 6. Dairy produce.

WHAT OTHER FOODS OR FOOD GROUPS SUPPLY LIPIDS?

1. Seed, grain, legume and vegetable oils. 2. Avocado, olives.

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3. Margarine. 4. Fried foods, 5. Takeaway foods. 6. Snack foods.

ARE ALL LIPIDS BENEFICIAL?

No. Lipids that are heated or chemically altered are not beneficial.

WHAT EFFECT DOES COOKING HAVE ON LIPIDS?

Lipids that are heated undergo a chemical change in their molecular structure. Oxygen, which is naturally attached to the lipid structure, becomes oxidated during frying, cooking or intense heat. These ‘oxidated molecules’ release from the lipid structure and become ‘free radicals’. These free compounds attach to other nutrients within the blood, in search of more oxygen and nourishment, such as vitamins, causing them to become oxidised and to deteriorate. Free radicals damage skin cells and other body cells. Refer to section entitled as Why are cooked oils harmful? For more details on the problems with cooked oils.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT AGAINST ‘FREE RADICALS’?

The simple answer is to restrict the intake of deep-fried foods and cooked oils and to use methods of cooking such as steaming, boiling and shredding to prepare most meals. Other methods such as baking and roasting can reduce the need for added lipids. Ideally, the balanced diet requires 75% fresh foods and 25% cooked foods.

Vegetables can be either steamed or baked without added fats, and once the meal is served add fresh cold-pressed oils olive, flax, canola, sunflower or walnut oil, or tahini or butter to provide that flavour-enhancing benefit without the free radical problem.

Chicken is an overconsumed food, and even though it is a low-fat food when roasted, deep-fried chicken is full of harmful fats within the crumbed coating.

Eggs can be boiled or poached.

NOTE: All amounts in this blog are measured in milligrams (mg) per 100 grams, unless stated otherwise.

Barbecues are another common cooking method and barbecued sausages especially are a real concern with their enormous supply of saturated fats and free radicals, when overconsumed. In summary, it is possible to avoid over 90% of common cooked lipids.

Factors such as an increased intake of vitamin E foods like tahini, almonds, hazel nuts or wheatgerm oil, and selenium-rich foods such as Brazil nuts can also provide protection from the free radical problem, as they promote cell life and protect against rapid oxidation. The ideal diet must also include foods that provide the essential fatty acids omega-

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3 and omega-6, as they are vital for numerous body functions.

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