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Eat Healthy Fat

Eat Healthy FatEat Healthy Fat

It is recommended to eat healthy fat for normal nerve and immune cell function, and to make food taste good. The unsaturated fats in olive oil, canola oil, avocados, flaxseeds, nut oils, fish and some legumes (alfalfa, peas, lentils, soybeans, peanuts, etc) have healthy fats.  Real chocolate has cocoa-butter that is metabolized in the body into healthy fat.  The recommended amount of healthy fat to aim for in your diet is about 25 percent of calories from unsaturated fats.  The healthiest fats are in olive oil, canola oil, fish oils, nut oils, flaxseed and avocados.

To give a sense of scale, one whole avocado can be as much as one third of your daily fat allowance, with as much as 20 grams of fat.

Tip: The order in which you eat fat during meals can actually cause you to consume fewer calories.  Try to eat a little bit of fat at the beginning of a meal.  It will slow the rate at which your stomach empties and make you feel full faster.  The optimal amount is about 60 to 75 calories which is about one-half tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil, six walnuts, twelve almonds, twenty peanuts – or just try a little whole grain bread dipped in olive oil.

Here’s the skinny on fats:

There are four major types of fat: saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat.  The first three occur naturally.  Trans fat is an artificial version of saturated fat.  The two types of unsaturated fats are the good or “healthy” fats.  They are called “unsaturated” because they do not contain the maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms and usually remain liquid at room temperature.

Polyunsaturated Fats: These appear to neither enhance nor detract from longevity.  The following sources have polyunsaturated fats in high proportion: fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, sardines and fish oil supplements.  Walnuts and flax seed oil are also good sources.

Monounsaturated Fats: These can help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood and raise the amount of good cholesterol (HDL).  Olives and olive oil are the best sources of monounsaturated fat.  The following sources have monounsaturated fats in high proportion: avocados, canola oil, most nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc) and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin.

Saturated and trans fats are the unhealthy fats.  Nutritionists recommend keeping your daily intake of them to below 20 grams per day.  Eating more correlates with arterial degradation.   Although it is not fully understood, a number of studies show a strong link correlation between saturated fat consumption and cancer – especially breast cancer and prostate cancer.  Also, saturated and trans fats tend to immediately drain your energy.

Saturated Fats: These are the worst of the fats and adversely affect longevity.  Saturated fat is found in red meats, full-fat dairy products, palm and coconut oils and, to a lesser extent, poultry.  Studies have repeatedly found a strong correlation between cardiovascular disease and the consumption of saturated fats.  Also, saturated fats promote the process that increases (lousy) LDL cholesterol.

Tip: Eat meat as a condiment, not as the main course.

Trans Fats: Trans fat is produced by hydrogenating (combining with hydrogen) unsaturated fats.  Trans Fat is also called trans fatty acid.  This chemical process causes fats that would normally be liquid at room temperature to become solid (think margarine).  Here’s a good rule to remember – if it is solid at room temperature, it is probably bad for you.

Consume all fats cautiously, they are still fattening.


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