Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Don't Fear Fats...Consume the Right Kinds of Fats for Better Health and Wellbeing

Did you know that American eat too LITTLE fat? Too little of the right kinds of fats, that is.

Fat is a nutrient, just like protein, carbohydrates, minerals and water, and is a part of every cell in the body. Without adequate fat intake, our bodies can’t assimilate vitamins A, D, E and (known as the fat-soluable vitamins). Fat also helps the body regulate temperature, while insulating and protecting internal organs.

Eating too many foods rich in saturated fats has been associated with the development of degenerative diseases, including heart disease and even cancer. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, however, are actually good for you.

Studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association  indicate that Omega-3 fatty acids—a type of polyunsaturated fat found mainly in cold water fish—not only promotes cardiac health, but also helps with mood disorders such as depression.

Omega-3s  are termed Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) because they are critical for good health. However, the body cannot make them on its own. For this reason, omega-3s must be obtained from food, thus making outside sources of these fats "essential."

Omega-3 fatty acids are also natural blood thinners, reducing the "stickiness" of blood cells (called platelet aggregation), which can lead to such complications as blood clots and stroke.
Studies of large groups of people have found that the more omega-3 fatty acids people consume, the lower their overall blood pressure level is. 

Foods that are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids:

Atlantic salmon, herring, sardines, bluefish, tuna and mackerel. Fresh fish oil capsules can also be substituted.

Flaxseed oil, ground flax seeds, walnuts, and leafy green vegetables such as kale are excellent sources. * Be sure to check expiration dates of any oils you purchase as out of date oils or rancid oils can be potential carcinogens.

Fat contributes to feelings of satiety and satisfaction. That means it can lead to fewer food cravings. And fats also help keep us on an even energetic keel by providing concentrated, slow-burning calories, especially important during the cold weather months. So next time you think fats aren't good for you, be sure to consider how essential the right kinds of fats are.

Fat Facts and Myths:

Fact: The brain is 60% fat

Myth: Using body lotions containing fat can make you gain weight

Fact:  The average American consumes almost 40% of his/her calories from fat

Fact:  A Starbucks Grande Caramel Frapuccino has nearly as many calories and saturated fat as a McDonald’s double cheeseburger.

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