I recently had a friend of mine call me. She is concerned about her dietary fat intake. She wondered if she was getting enough fat...and the best type of fat. I thought it would be good to review this not only for her...but for me.
Is there such thing as GOOD FATS...and what are they?
Should I have FAT in my diet...and how much?
What type of FATS should I avoid?
We as a nation eat too much fat- but more important than that...
we eat too much of the WRONG FATS and not enough of the GOOD FATS.
Quick FAT Dictionary:
SATURATED FAT - Naturally occurring fats found mainly in meat, fowl, eggs and dairy. Coconut and palm oil are largely saturated fat. This fat significantly causes heart disease and cancer.
POLYUNSATURATED FAT (corn soybean, safflower oils) MONOUNSATURATED FAT (olive, canola and peanut oils) - Eating unsaturated fats lowers cholesterol when substituted for saturated fats, but excessive amounts may promote cancer. They are better than saturated fats...but not considered a HEALTH FOOD.
HYDROGENATED FAT - This FAT is processed in such a way that it hardens and it's shelf life is extended so the oil can be used over and over again without going bad. It is a man-made fat called TRANS FAT. This FAT acts the same as SATURATED FAT. It is both cancer and heart disease causing. AVOID THIS TYPE OF FAT!
CHOLESTEROL - This is a waxy fat produced by our bodies. We do not need to eat ANY cholesterol...our bodies make our own. But when we eat animal- we consume excess cholesterol and it raises our own blood cholesterol which we know causes disease.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (EFAs). Our bodies cannot manufacture these fats, but they are ESSENTIAL for growth and development AND for disease prevention.
There are 2 primary EFA's: OMEGA-6 and OMEGA-3
Optimal HEALTH depends on the proper balance of these EFA's in the diet.
Here is the issue:
The standard American diet gives us TOO MUCH Omega-6...and not enough Omega-3.
Let's talk about Omega-3
When we eat the right amount of Omega-3...our bodies produces DHA. Our body manufactures sufficient amounts if adequate omega-3 fats are consumed (flax, walnuts, soybeans, leafy green vegetables).
We all hear about DHA and how wonderful it is for our bodies. Without enough DHA- we are at risk for Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Autoimmune diseases, and CANCER.
Because DHA is so good for us...we need to make eating OMEGA-3 FATS a priority. We should all try to eat 1 - 2 grams of omega-3 daily!
||1 1/2 cup
||1 1/2 cup
Most of the time when you hear information about consuming DHA- you also hear FISH OIL. In short, one problem with fish oil is that much of the fat has already turned rancid. If you do take a FISH OIL supplement, try cutting open the capsule and try tasting it. There is a good chance it will taste rancid (I have tried this and it was gross!). It is very hard to keep FISH oil fresh after it has been processed. Also- Fish these days are full of toxins like mercury. I prefer to use a Vegan-DHA supplement a couple times a week for me and my family. It is made from microalgae and it provides a pure form of DHA without rancidity, mercury or other toxins. It actually tastes pretty good. I also like that you don't need very much (100 mg a day) when most FISH OIL supplements provide 1000 mg a day. (Go HERE for Dr. Fuhrman's DHA product).
Issues with OMEGA-6
When your diet is too high in OMEGA-6 fat, your body makes even less DHA fat.
High amounts of OMEGA-6 FATS and low amounts of OMEGA-3 FATS are found in:
vegetable oils and animal products.
QUESTION: IS OLIVE OIL GOOD FOR YOU?
OLIVE OIL shows signs of being "healthy" when it is used in place of more dangerous fats (saturated and hydrogenated). BUT- it should not be considered a HEALTH food. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. states: "Olive oil is NOT cardiac protective...but it is not as cardiac damaging."
No matter what oil you look at, it contains approx. 120 calories per TBS...and oil is VERY LOW IN NUTRIENTS. (Most American's consume over 300 calories from oil a day- which equals a pound a week).
Wouldn't it be great to have a WHOLE FOOD that provides the right amount of EFA's AND is HIGH IN NUTRIENTS?
Say hello to raw NUTS & SEEDS!
I cannot say enough about the health benefits of consuming NUTS and SEEDS on a daily basis!!!
The scientific research on the benefits of these power foods are never-ending!
NUTS & SEEDS are critical for optimum nutrition!!!
"Study after study shows that raw nuts and seeds not only lower cholesterol, but also extend lifespan and protect against common diseases of aging. They also provide a good source of protein, which makes up about 15 to 25 percent of calories. Raw nuts and seeds, not the salted or roasted variety, provide the most health benefits." Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
- Nuts and seeds had the most dramatic effect on increased lifespan than any other food.
- Eating nuts and seeds on a daily basis reduce your risk of HEART DISEASE by 45%.
- Eating nuts and seeds lowers your bad cholesterol and raises your good cholesterol.
- SEEDS are more nutrient dense than NUTS....seeds should be consumed daily!
- Did you know that SUNFLOWER seeds- 22% of their calories come from protein? (same as meat)
- Did you know that SESAME SEEDS have the highest amount of calcium than any other food found in the world?
- MY FAVORITE FACT: RAW NUTS AND SEEDS HELP PREVENT OVER EATING! (This definitely works for me!) They promote weight loss!
"It's important to note- while nuts and seeds have a great health benefit- they are high in calories and fat compared to vegetables, beans, and fruits so they should be consumed in smaller amounts. Nuts and seeds contain about 175 calories per ounce- which is about a handful. Unless you are thin and exercising frequently, do not eat more than 2 ounces a day." Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Here are some ways Whole Food Mommies eat their Nuts & Seeds:
FLAX SEEDS in our green smoothies
Our homemade GRANOLA BARS
Our cashew cream based soups
On top of our oatmeal
Raw Nuts and Seeds
(I've noticed that I like the taste of them more
when I purchase them refrigerated)