Holistic Approach to Wellness

Fats

Fat is not all bad so stop that low fat dieting and let us guide you in choosing the right fats for optimal health. Bad fats increase cholesterol and your risk of certain diseases, while good fats protect your heart and support overall health. In fact, good fats—such as omega-3 fats you find in salmon and some nuts—are essential to physical and emotional health. Omega’s are also important in fighting inflammation. Make sure you check out the positive info on coconut oil at the bottom of the page. I know most of you are either using it or staying away from it for the wrong reason.

Types of Oil (Fats)

There are three types of fats: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and very stable. They resist oxidation so they can often tolerate higher temperatures.

Types of dietary fat: Good fats vs. bad fats

To understand good and bad fats, you need to know the different types. Keep in mind organic is best as some can be GMO (genetically modified).There are four major types of fats:

  • monounsaturated fats (good fats)
  • polyunsaturated fats (good fats)
  • trans fats (bad fats)
  • saturated fats (bad fats with the exception of coconut oil)

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.

GOOD FATS

Monounsaturated fat

Polyunsaturated fat

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Nut Butters
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk (Non GMO)
  • Tofu (Organic)

Saturated fats and trans fats are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease.

Saturated fats and trans fats tend to be solid at room temperature (think of butter or traditional stick margarine), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid (think of olive oil).

BAD FATS

Saturated fat

Trans fat

  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Palm and coconut oil (benefits outwaited)
  • Lard
  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
  • Candy bars

General guidelines for choosing healthy fats

If you are concerned about your weight or heart health, rather than avoiding fat in your diet, replace trans fats and saturated fats with good fats. This might mean replacing beef or chicken with wild caught salmon, eat more vegetarian foods such as beans and legumes. Use olive oil rather than butter.

  • Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet. Check food labels for trans fats. Avoiding commercially-baked goods goes a long way. Limit processed foods and fast food.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats by cutting back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods. Try replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and switching from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower fat versions or almond milk. Dairy is problematic for a lot of people.
  • Eat omega-3 fats every day. Good sources include fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, hemp seeds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds and olive oil. For some a quality omega supplement is needed.

How much fat is too much?

How much fat is too much depends on your lifestyle, your weight, your age, and most importantly the state of your health. Health conditions such as removal of the gallbladder (laparoscopic) require different requirements with fat intake. The USDA recommends that the average individual:

  • Keep total fat intake to 20-35% of calories
  • Limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your calories (200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet)
  • Limit trans fats to 1% of calories (2 grams per day for a 2000 calorie diet)

Trans fat: eliminate this bad fat from your diet

When focusing on healthy fats, a good place to start is eliminating your consumption of trans fats. A trans-fat is a normal fat molecule that has been twisted and deformed during a process called hydrogenation. During this process, liquid vegetable oil is heated and combined with hydrogen gas. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil, which is very good for food manufacturers—and very bad for you. Once again, man getting in the way of nature’s perfection.

No amount of trans fats is healthy. Trans fats contribute to major health problems, from heart disease to cancer.

Sources of trans fats

The primary source of trans fats in the Western diet (Standard American Diet – SAD) comes from commercially prepared baked goods and snack foods:

  • Baked goods – cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, and some breads like hamburger buns
  • Fried foods – doughnuts, French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, and taco shells
  • Snack foods – potato, corn, and tortilla chips; candy; packaged or microwave and movie popcorn
  • Solid fats – stick margarine and semi-solid vegetable shortening
  • Pre-mixed products – baking mixes such as pancake and cookie

Be a label reader

  • When shopping, watch for “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients. Even if the food claims to be trans-fat-free, this ingredient makes it suspect.
  • Not a fan of margarine but if you need to buy it, choose the soft-tub versions, and make sure the product has zero grams of trans fat and no partially hydrogenated oils.
  • When eating out, skip fried foods, biscuits, and other baked goods. Great for overall health!
  • Avoid fast food. Most states have no labeling regulations for fast food, and it can even be advertised as cholesterol-free when cooked in vegetable oil. We all know fast food is not healthy in so many ways!
  • When eating out, ask your server what type of oil your food will be cooked in. If it’s partially hydrogenated oil, ask if your food can be prepared using olive oil, which most restaurants have in stock.

Saturated fats: reduce this bad fat

Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products such as red meat and whole milk dairy products. Poultry and fish also contain saturated fat, but less than red meat.

Simple ways to reduce saturated fat

  • Eat less red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and more fish, chicken or turkey. If you eat red meat buy grass fed.
  • Go for lean cuts of meat, and stick to white meat, which has less saturated fat.
  • Bake, broil, or grill instead of frying. Stir fry is a great way to have organic chicken.
  • Remove the skin from chicken and trim as much fat off of meat as possible before cooking.
  • Avoid breaded meats and vegetables and deep-fried foods.
  • Choose low-fat milk and lower-fat cheeses like mozzarella whenever possible; enjoy full-fat dairy in moderation if tolerated. Again, a lot of people can’t handle cow dairy. Try goat milk, cheese and yogurts.
  • Use liquid vegetable oils such as olive oil instead of lard, shortening, or butter.
  • Avoid cream and cheese sauces, or have them served on the side.

Sources of Saturated Fats

Healthier Options

Butter Olive oil
Cheese Low-fat or reduced-fat cheese
Red meat White meat chicken or turkey
Cream Low-fat milk or fat-free creamer
Eggs Egg whites, an egg substitute (e.g. Eggbeaters), or tofu (organic)
Ice cream Frozen yogurt or reduced fat ice cream
Whole milk Skim or 1% milk
Sour cream Plain, non-fat yogurt

Getting more good fats in your diet

Okay, so you realize you need to avoid saturated fat and trans fat… but how do you get the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in the diet?

The best sources of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish.

  • Cook with olive oil. Use olive oil for stovetop cooking, rather than butter, stick margarine, or lard. For baking, try Grapeseed oil. It’s very neutral.
  • Eat more avocados. Try them in sandwiches or salads or make guacamole. Along with being loaded with heart and brain-healthy fats, they make for a filling and satisfying meal.
  • Reach for the nuts. You can also add nuts to salads or use them instead of breadcrumbs on chicken or fish.
  • Snack on olives. Olives are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. But unlike most other high-fat foods, they make for a low-calorie snack when eaten on their own. Try them plain or make a tapenade for dipping. Watch for the salt content if you have high blood pressure.
  • Dress your own salad. Commercial salad dressings are often high in saturated fat or made with damaged trans-fat oils. Create your own healthy dressings with high-quality, cold-pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil, or sesame oil.

Rancid fat: When good fats go bad

A good fat can become bad if heat, light, or oxygen damages it. Polyunsaturated fats are the most fragile. Oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats (such as flaxseed oil) must be refrigerated and kept in an opaque container. Cooking with these oils also damages the fats. Never use oils, seeds, or nuts after they begin to smell or taste rank or bitter.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Super fats for the brain and heart

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. While all types of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, omega-3 fats are proving to be especially beneficial. A good reason to get off the low fat diets!

We’re still learning about the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but research has shown that they can:

  • Prevent and reduce the symptoms of depression
  • Protect against memory loss and dementia
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer
  • Ease arthritis, joint pain, and inflammatory skin conditions
  • Support a healthy pregnancy

Omega-3 fatty acids and mental health

Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain. Research indicates that they play a vital role in cognitive function (memory, problem-solving abilities, etc.) as well as emotional health.

Getting more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help you battle fatigue, sharpen your memory, and balance your mood. Studies have shown that omega-3s can be helpful in the treatment of depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and bipolar disorder.

There are several different types of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • EPA and DHA – Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have the most research to back up their health benefits. Both are found in abundance in cold-water fatty fish.
  • ALA – Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) comes from plants. Studies suggest that it’s a less potent form of omega-3 than EPA and DHA. The best sources include flaxseed, walnuts, and canola oil.

Fish: The best food source of omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fats are a type of essential fatty acid, meaning they are essential to health, but your body can’t make them. You can only get omega-3 fats from food.

The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon (wild-caught king and sockeye), herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines, or high-quality cold-water fish oil supplements. Canned albacore tuna and lake trout can also be good sources, depending on how the fish were raised and processed.

If you’re a vegetarian or you don’t like fish, you can still get your omega-3 fix by eating algae (which is high in DHA) or taking a fish oil or algae supplement.

What to do about mercury in fish

Fish is an excellent source of protein, and its healthy oils protect against cardiovascular disease. However, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury, a toxic metal, and some seafood contains other pollutants known as POPs. As small fish are eaten by larger fish up the food chain, concentrations of mercury and POPs increase, so that large, predatory deep-ocean fish tend to contain the highest levels. That makes it best to avoid eating these large fish, such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel.

Because a diet rich in seafood protects the heart and benefits neurological development, fish remains an important component of a healthy diet. Keep in mind you can get tested for heavy metals with a simple hair analysis.

Recommendation: Most adults can safely eat about 12 ounces (two 6-ounce servings) of a variety of cooked seafood a week as long as they avoid the large predatory ocean fish mentioned above and pay attention to local sea- food advisories.

For women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and children ages 12 and younger, caution is needed to avoid potential harm to a fetus’s or a young child’s developing nervous system. The same amount, 12 ounces, is considered safe with these additional guidelines:

  • Eat up to 12 ounces (two average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
  • Another commonly eaten fish, albacore (“white”) tuna, has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your fish and shellfish, eat no more than 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.
  • Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish from local waters, but don’t consume any other fish during that week.
  • Follow these same recommendations when feeding fish and shellfish to your young child, but serve smaller portions

Choosing the best omega-3 supplement

With so many options it’s best to buy through a healthcare provider. Karmic Health carries high grade nutraceutical supplements. Our fish oils are molecularly distilled and filtered to ensure purity and to maximize the removal of heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, PCBs, and other contaminants. Check out our marketplace to learn more. *** grant, plug in the link: http://karmic-health.com/store/store/products/omegavail/

How much omega-3 do I need?

The American Heart Association recommends consuming 1–3 grams per day of EPA and DHA (1 gram = 1,000 milligrams). For the treatment of mental health issues, including depression and ADHD, look for supplements that are high in EPA, which has been shown to elevate and stabilize mood. Aim for at least 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per day. Work with a practitioner to determine your needs.

The truth about dietary fat and cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance that your body needs to function properly. In and of itself, cholesterol isn’t bad. But like anything else, when you get too much of it, it can have a negative impact on your health.

Cholesterol comes from two sources: your body and food. Your body (specifically, the liver) produces some of the cholesterol you need naturally. But you also get cholesterol directly from any animal products you eat, such as eggs, meat, and dairy. Together, these two sources contribute to your blood cholesterol level.

Good vs. bad cholesterol

As with dietary fat, there are good and bad types of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is the “good” kind of cholesterol found in your blood. LDL cholesterol is the “bad” kind. The key is to keep LDL levels low while, conversely, low HDL can be a marker for increased cardiovascular risk. High levels of HDL cholesterol may help protect against heart disease and stroke, while high levels of LDL cholesterol can clog arteries, increasing your risk.

Research shows that there is only a weak link between the amount of cholesterol you eat and your blood cholesterol levels. The biggest influence on your total and LDL cholesterol is the type of fats you eat—not your dietary cholesterol. So instead of counting cholesterol, simply focus on replacing bad fats with good fats.

  • Monounsaturated fats lower total and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).
  • Polyunsaturated fats lower triglycerides and fight inflammation.
  • Saturated fats may raise your blood cholesterol.
  • Trans fats are the worst types of fat since they not only raise your bad LDL cholesterol, but also lower the good HDL cholesterol.

An Important Note about Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil Contains a Unique Combination of Fatty Acids With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated . Many massive studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth when it comes to coconut. The good far outweighs the bad. Coconut oil is considered a superfood and we at Karmic Health love it!

Coconut oil doesn’t contain your average saturated fats like you would find in cheese or steak. They contain  Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length. Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

Bottom Line: Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.

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