Human milk is related to the physiological and nutritional welfare of newborns, providing the necessary dietary energy, physiologically active compounds and essential nutrients for breastfed babies. Human milk fat has an important position as energy source, structural and regulatory functions, being one of the most important components of breast milk. It provides approximately 50–60% of the energy of the human milk, and its composition in fatty acids defines its nutritional and physico-chemical properties. Furthermore, human milk contains the long-chain polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (LCPUFA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is important for appropriate development of baby’s organs, tissues and nervous system. This chapter will address the benefits associated with the consumption of human milk (health, nutritional, immunological and developmental benefits) as well as the analysis applied to determine the lipid quality of this powerful food.
Part of the book: Biochemistry and Health Benefits of Fatty Acids