We often discuss fats when we are planning a diet to lose weight. Fats and some other substances are the various forms of lipids whichour body requires. People having dry skin are often advised to use skin lotions that consist of natural or synthetic lipids which keep the skin softand moist.
What are Lipids?
Four main groups of organic moleculesare there which our body requires for properfunctioning. One of these four groups is lipids that are made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygenelements. Carbon, hydrogen and oxygenelements are also found in carbohydrates, but hydrogen atoms in lipids are more in number as compared to oxygen atoms. Lipids cannot be dissolved in plain water. They are very important for us and help in energystorage. Thisstored energy can be used later at the time of an insufficient intake of carbohydrates. Lipids also have a role insome other functions in our body, such as in making cell membranes and hormones.
Types of Lipids
There are different types of lipids found in the human body. But all these lipids are divided into four major groups: fats, phospholipids, steroids and waxes. Thesefour types of lipids are discussed belowin detail:
Fat is one of the most known types of lipids. There are many people who consider fats as bad ingredients in our diet since it can increase a person’s weight. Butto remain healthy,fats are one of the necessary components in the body. However, if we eat too much of fat, it can cause a few problems, e.g., obesity, clogging of arteries. Generally, fats are made of fatty acids and glycerol, and comprise three common elements like other lipids (e.g., carbon, hydrogen, oxygen). Fats can be categorisedinto two typesaccording to their chemical make-up: saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats generallyremain in the solid state under normal conditions, e.g., butter,cheese. Eating these fats in higher quantities is not very good since there are some risks associated with them, e.g., high cholesterol, clogging of blood arteries. On the other hand,unsaturated fatsare considered good for healthand remain in the liquid state.
Phospholipids are also known as glycerophospholipids. These are similar to fats in many ways but they differ in their chemical composition. These lipids are used in the cell wallsand help in metabolism. In addition, in our brain,the neural tissues also comprise phospholipids in good quantities.
Steroids are the lipids which include chlorophylls in plants, hormones and cholesterol found in our bodies and in animals. Steroids, such as cortisol and cholesterol, are needed by our body to some level to function in a proper way. However, it is bad to take too much cholesterol for the health of the heart and arteries.
Most of us are familiar with the term ‘wax’since ourears consist of plenty of wax to protect from infections. In animals and humans,wax also helps to prevent the moisture from evaporation. At normal room temperature,it is a soft solid substance but at higher temperatures, itmay become liquid.
Honeybees prepare their honeycombs from the wax.Wax protects the comb from raining also.
There are a number of vitamins that need fats to be able to stay in our body and for absorption. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are some of these vitamins.
When water is mixed with an alkali, e.g., dishwashing soap, it can dissolve the fats.
Fats cannot be dissolved in water, but they float on the water whenwe mix them.