Nutritional Importance of Lipids:
Lipids play three major biochemical roles:
- As a storage form for metabolic energy (triglycerides)
- As components of membranes
- As messengers ( prostaglandins, steroid hormones)
A major role of liquid in nutrition is to provide energy since unsaturated, saturated and trans fats all provide about 9 calories per gram compared to carbohydrates or protein with 4 calories per gram. Even though it is high in calories, fat does not necessarily cause weight gain if you monitor your total intake. Our body also needs fat from your diet to be able to absorb and use fat-soluble essential nutrients such as vitamin A, Vitamin D and Vitamin E.
Some nutrients are essential in our diet because we need them for good health but our body cannot produce them. The essential lipids are polyunsaturated fats called omega-6 and omega-3 fats. We need these fats for hormone synthesis, cell membrane structure, and healthy brain and vision, and they may help lower our blood cholesterol levels. We can get omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils and nuts. Omega-3 fatty acids are also in flaxseed, walnuts and fatty fish.
Non- Essential Lipids:
Monounsaturated fatty acids are not essential in the diet because our body can synthesize them, but they may help reduce our risk of heart disease. They are in olive oil, peanuts, and avocadoes. We do not need to get saturated fat, trans fat or cholesterol in our diet, and these lipids raise bad cholesterol levels in our blood.
- Saturated fat is in fatty meats and cheese, palm and coconut oil, and butter.
- Trans fat is in partially hydrogenated oils in processed and fried foods.
- Cholesterol is fatty animal foods.
More Functions of Lipids:
Nervous system organization;
Increases and assures a normal function of the skin;
Good function of endocrine glands(thyroid);