Polyunsaturated fat

Polyunsaturated fats have many double bonds (implied the name, since ‘poly’ means ‘many’), making them just about the most healthy of all the fats because they are so flexible, which is particularly beneficial for our cell membranes, cells to function optimally. Unlike saturated fat and monounsaturated fat there are certain polyunsaturated fats which cannot be made by the body and therefore have to be consumed in the diet to avoid a deficiency – hence why they are termed ‘essential’. The description ‘essential’ doesn’t relate to the physiological benefits they bestow, although they do independently have important roles in our health. Indeed it is their longer-chain relatives which are most important for health, but these are not termed ‘essential’ because they can in theory be manufactured by the body (in reality this process is not terribly efficient).

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