Lipids are fatty acid molecules in your body that include fats, sterols, waxes, fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K), monoglycerides, diglycerids, phospholipids, and more. The primary functions of lipids fatty acids are energy storage, forming the membranes around your cells, and regulating metabolism as hormones. Lipids, linked with carbohydrates and proteins, make up the structural material of living cells.
The word lipid is often used as a synonym for fats because fats are a subgroup of lipids called triglycerides. Lipids also encompass fatty acid molecules. Some essential lipids cannot be produced by your body, and they must be included in your diet.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are isoprene-based lipids, and are essential nutrients stored in your liver and fatty tissues with a variety of functions and benefits.
Building Blocks of Lipids
Fatty acids are known as the building blocks of lipids, and the fatty acids can be saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fatty acids are solid at room temperature, while unsaturated fatty acids are liquid.
Triglycerides, which are energy-storage molecules, are formed by connecting three fatty acids. The three fatty acids combined together contain energy from calories. Fat is packed with calories that can be used for energy. Excess triglycerides end up as flabby cells filed with triglycerides on your body in the form of cellulite.
Lipids from Food
Most lipids from food are in the form of triacylglycerols, cholesterol, and phospholipids. Minimal dietary fat is required to absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Your body also requires certain essential fatty acids including omega 6 and omega 3. Good sources include:
- green leafy vegetables
- sunflower seeds
- fish oils
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Medical studies have proven that omega-3 fatty acids, which are unsaturated, provide positive health benefits in the areas of infant development, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and various mental illnesses such as depression, ADD, and dementia.
However, it has also been proven that trans fats from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, a source of fatty acids, can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Be selective and careful about your healthy fat intake for optimal health benefits.