The Wonders of Healthy Fats: A Simple Guide

Byline: Lynn Louise Wonders

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All the science around the different kinds of fats in your diet might leave your head spinning! Never fear!

I am going to simplify all that science so we can get you on your way to greater health and well-being. Let’s chew the fat on fat, shall we?

You’ve probably heard a lot about good fats and bad fats right?

Let’s talk in terms of healthy vs. unhealthy instead.

And, while we’re at it, let’s also consider something called ratio and, of course, moderation.

The only really unhealthy fat to always avoid is hydrogenated fat or trans fat.

I must warn you, we just can’t trust the labels on commercial foods that claim “no trans fats.”

Sadly, companies are allowed to make that statement if the levels are below a certain number. The truth is if the ingredients label lists the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”,  trans fats are likely lurking in that food item. Best to skip that one.

Omega 3s, 6s and 9s…oh my!

Both omega-3 and omega-6 are considered essential fatty acids (EFA). They are essential to the health of our bodies BUT we have to get these healthy fats through foods or supplements. And in the right RATIO.

Let’s begin with Omega 3

Some of the benefits science tells us we get from consuming Omega 3s are:

  • Lower elevated triglyceride levels
  • Decreased inflammation for arthritis or other autoimmune disorders
  • Helps with ADHD
  • May help prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease

Fish has the most easily absorbable source of healthy Omega 3s.

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But hold on…

It is really important we get our fish and/or our fish oil supplements from clean, non-toxic fish sources. 

Access a list of fish healthy to eat and those to avoid by clicking HERE. 

There are other kinds of Omega 3s we can derive from walnuts, flax seeds, expeller pressed canola oil, wheat germ and soybeans.

But before you run out and gnosh on a whole lot of nuts and edamame, make sure your walnuts are raw and fresh. If they have an odor… bad news…the oil in them has gone rancid.  As for soybeans, well, only eat them in moderation, make sure they are certified organic and check with your doctor because too much soy (or sometimes any at all) can affect hormone levels.

What about Omega 6?

Omega 6 essential fatty acids are easily and readily found in a variety of foods. In fact, the typical American diet is far too heavy on Omega 6s causing health problems including obesity. You’ll find omega 6s in all sources of animal protein, most nuts, and eggs. The key here is ratio. Americans are typically way out of balance. You can fix your ratio though!

And Omega 9s?

Omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated fats. Omega 9s also offer a lot of health benefits. They are important for heart health and blood sugar control and can be obtained in the diet through foods such as expeller pressed canola oil, nuts and avocados.

So how do we find balance? The right ratio.

The easiest  way to be sure your healthy fats ratio is a good one is to eat the following foods regularly:

  • Raw (preferably organic) nuts and seeds, such as fresh organic flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts
  • Fish that are sourced from clean waters and found on the list of sustainable seafood
  • Organic grass-fed or pasture-fed butter
  • Organic eggs from pastured, free-range hens are rich in beneficial omega-3s
  • Meat from animals that are free ranging and/or grass fed, which are higher in beneficial omega-6s
  • Unprocessed organic oils such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and avocado oil
  • Coconut oil, (though not an omega-3 or omega-6 fat)- is a MOST beneficial dietary fat with benefits for heart health, metabolism, immune system, skin and thyroid
  • Avocados are a source of omega 9 and they have special properties in their fat content that have been shown to have all kinds of health benefits

The gifts of healthy fats

Healthy fats derived from clean, healthy sources in combination with your whole foods diet rich in phytonutrients from veggies and high fiber fruits help your body to run like a well-oiled machine. Healthy fats in the right ratio aid in reducing inflammation, improve brain functioning, assist in having healthy skin, provide lasting energy and much more.

Eating healthy fats will NOT make you fat!

Let’s dispel myths and get the facts straight here.

Dietary fat IS high in calories whether it’s unhealthy or healthy fat, yes. Too many calories consumed with not enough activity can results in weight gain, absolutely.

But the quality of the fats you are consuming in moderation, proper ratio and in addition to your healthy whole foods diet makes all the difference in how your body assimilates and utilizes those nutrients.

Eating just the right ratio of healthy fats will help your metabolism to operate more efficiently! The key is to consider portions and moderation when adding healthy fats to your larger portions of vegetables throughout the day.

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Leptin is a special hormone. Its job is to communicate to your brain how much fat your body has and how much your body needs.

As women, in particular, grow older, we sometimes develop resistance to leptin. In order to address our leptin resistance, Science is finding that eating significant portions of protein and healthy fats in the morning, as soon after waking as possible can really help signal a sense of satiety and build a health leptin connection.

 Weave Healthy Fats Into Your Diet: Tricks and Tips

  •  Add a scoop of chia seeds and a scoop of organic pea protein to your green smoothie
  • Scramble some organic, free-range eggs in a tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Chop raw walnuts and sprinkle a tablespoon over a big green salad
  • Make your own salad dressings with expeller pressed walnut oil, canola oil and extra virgin olive oil
  • Nibble on pistachios and raw almonds instead of buttered popcorn at the movies (small servings will suffice!)
  • Buy a coffee grinder to be used for flax seeds ONLY – grind flax seeds and mix into your smoothies and drink right away to get the benefits into your body
  • Shop for sustainable fish and aim for 4-5 servings each week
  • If you eat chicken, beef or other meats, opt for grass-fed and free-range only

May your relationship with healthy fat be long-lasting! Here’s to your health!

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Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S, CPCS, E-RYT is s holistic psychotherapist, yoga teacher, nutrition enthusiast and wellness coach providing programs and all natural, organic products to support health weight loss and wellness for women over 40. Lynn has studied nutrition and whole health in-depth with qualified nutrition experts and sources her information from the latest research and scientific findings. You can read more and connect with Lynn at www.wonderswellness.com

 

 

 

Why Eat Fruit?

This is a guest post by Angelina Ignatova and she answers “why eat fruit”.

Maybe you’re just not a fruit person, or you’re wondering why eat fruit when you’re not sure you’re even eating enough vegetables? We’ll address both why eating fruit is important, but also how to eat fruit at the right time to avoid the side effects.

Why eat fruit?

Why do we eat food? It’s a rhetorical question, isn’t it? One can say it’s in order to survive and this would be almost right. Let’s close our eyes to the fact of breatharians’ (prana eaters) existence and move the attention to the delightful world of healthy food.

The most important aspect of a daily diet composition is nutrition – and why eat fruit is precisely because fruit is a big part of this rich palette of choices, called a healthy eating pyramid. Scientists say that if you eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day you may lose weight and also keep the right blood sugar level.

So let’s first understand how our digestion works during the day. When we swallow food, the first stop is our stomach. The gastric juice, containing a small amount of acid, starts to transform the food into the perfect consistency for the next step.

This is a very important part of the process; when a delicious apple or a nut cluster turns into a “smoothie”, because only in this form can all the nutrients be easily absorbed by our intestine.

Imagine that you ate, say, two pieces of toast and some fruit. When the fruit is ready to move to the intestine, the bread (which is more difficult to digest) blocks it and restrains it from moving on.

Gastric juice continues to digest the bread, while the fruit also continues to react with the acid and the mixture “fizzes” even more than it should.

That’s why sometimes when a person eats fruit after a meal they experience bloating, belching and a feeling of heaviness. Fruit is a rich source of fructose, vitamins and fiber. If you eat them properly, they will significantly benefit your body.

Why eat fruit if you’re not eating it at the right times?

Here are some tips to help you take full advantage of fruit:

Do not eat fruit when your stomach is full! You can do it at any time, but not after a meal.

After you eat some fruit, wait about 30 minutes before you eat anything else.

The best time to eat fruit is before the afternoon. They gradually increase the blood sugar level and awake the digestive system after night.

Why eat fruit when you’ll get a stomach ache? Try not to eat fruit with foods that are hard to digest.

Bananas and avocados are very heavy, so it’s better not to eat them in the evening. Take a banana or an avocado salad as an afternoon meal when the digestive system is ready for it.

If possible, prefer fresh fruit to frozen and canned ones because the processed fruit contain lots of sugar and, most likely, artificial preservatives, thus losing most of their nutritional value.

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If you used to eat fruit as a dessert and then suffered from unexplained stomach-ache, try to follow this advice and see what happens. You can also find more healthy eating tips and information on this site – http://www.eatinghealthy.org. Stay fit and nature-friendly and don’t forget to wash all the fruits and veggies before enjoying them!

Angelina is a vegetarian and a yoga addicted writer from Aliso Viejo, CA. Her biggest goal is to make everybody be healthy and live happily. Follow her on Twitter at @_eatinghealthy and get more tips that answer why eat fruit!

7 Fascinating and Educational Fruit Facts

This is a guest post by Ingela Johansson.

Fruit facts are great, not just because of their fascinating nature, but also because learning more about fruits will inevitably lead to a life with more energy, better sleep, and more joy.

Fruits are natures own multivitamins, they usually contain a lot of vitamin C, dietary fiber and different minerals and antioxidants. I’ve heard a lot of people say that fruits are bad and they’ll do this and that to you if you eat too much of them. Usually these statements aren’t backed up by any solid scientific evidence at all. Now, I’m not saying that consuming only fruit is recommended. We still need variety in our diet (hello vegetables!)

With all that said: let’s look at some quick fruit facts.

#1 – Apples

There are 7,500 varieties of apples worldwide, that’s more than you’d think, isn’t it? 2,500 of these are grown in the U.S.

Apples have been proven to support heart health, protect against certain cancers, alleviate asthma, speed up weight loss and lower cholesterol. This is amazing, all these benefits just from eating apples! I personally like the green ones the best, because they taste sour.

#2 – Avocado

Some say that Avocado is a vegetable, but I personally think that it is a fruit.

Avocadoes are higher in fat than most fruits, because of this it can increase your absorption of carotenoids from vegetables. Just add some avocado to your salad! Avocados also promote heart health by lowering cholesterol.

Because avocados are a rich source of healthy fatty acids, it has been shown to offer significant protections against breast and prostate cancer. I personally don’t like eating avocadoes by themselves, so I mix it into things like salads, smoothies and other yummy recipes.

#3 – Bananas

There are many different varieties of bananas, as to how many, it seems that people disagree on that part. Something they do agree on is their health benefits! Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium.

Potassium is a very important mineral that helps your body maintain a normal blood pressure and heart function. A banana therefore may prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis.

Bananas are also effective in soothing ulcers because of their antacid effects. I like to use bananas and sparkling water whenever my stomach is feeling off balance, don’t ask me why, that mix just seems to work.

Bananas also help against constipation and I am living testimony to this because whenever I am feeling a bit blocked down there I make a big banana smoothie and things just start flowing ;).

#4 – Blueberries

Mmm, blueberries are delicious. I always sneak back home after summer when my mother has gathered a few buckets of blueberries from our summer cottage. I go in quietly, steal them and sit in the corner and devour them.

Blueberries are supercharged with antioxidants that stop free radicals from damaging your body. Free radicals cause damage to your cells and tissues, which can lead to problems such as glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, ulcers, heart disease and even cancer.

Blueberries have also been shown to improve night vision, how cool is that?

Blueberries help protect your brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. There are too many benefits of blueberries to list here, but let’s do one more.

No, let’s do two, I’m in a good mood today! Blueberries also keep your intestines healthy and protect your colon against cancer.

#5 – Grapes

Grapes are one of my favorite fruits, but you have to make sure you get organic grapes, because non-organic grapes can be heavily sprayed with all sorts of chemicals, and since you do not peel grapes, you get more of those chemicals in you.

Grapes keep your heart and lungs healthy, and grapes also fight cancer. Red grapes also contain something called resveratrol, which is believed to be one of the reasons the French live so long even though they eat a bad diet.

#6 – Oranges

Oooh, oranges, squeezing your fresh orange juice, have you ever tried it? If not, I think you should, it is better than candy, cakes, pizzas and any other unhealthy (but potentially yummy) food in the world!

Oranges contain a lot of vitamin C, which protects against some cancers, may lower cholesterol and keeps your stomach healthy because of all the fiber it contains.

#7 – Strawberries

Eating strawberries with raw unheated honey is a good snack that I enjoy in the summer time when strawberries are plentiful here in Sweden. In the winter they come from other countries and are pretty expensive, so I don’t really eat them.

Strawberries protect your body from oxygen damage, rheumatoid arthritis, improve your eyes, decrease the risk of developing cancer and much more that hasn’t been discovered yet!

That’s my list. I know I’ve left many fruits out, but these are my favorites and it is good to not get too overwhelmed if you’re relatively new to fruits.

Remember to buy your fruits organic if you can and wash them gently before you put them in your mouth.

Start eating more fruit today, your body will thank you!

Ingela Johansson is in love with natural skin care. If you want more natural anti aging tips, you can visit her blog, where you will find topics ranging from how to prevent oily skin to finding the best anti wrinkle cream.