Fat is vi­tal to your over­all health

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - ERNIE SCHRAMAYR Med­i­cal Ex­er­cise Spe­cial­ist Ernie Schramayr helps his clients man­age med­i­cal con­di­tions with ex­er­cise. You can fol­low him at ernies­fit­ness­world.com; 905-741-7532 or ernies­fit­ness­world@gmail.com.

One of my favourite ways to teach healthy eat­ing strate­gies is to break foods into their three macronu­tri­ent groups: pro­teins, car­bo­hy­drates and fats. Pro­teins can be thought of as the ma­te­ri­als for build­ing lean mus­cle tis­sue while car­bo­hy­drates are the body’s prime source of en­ergy. Fat also plays an im­por­tant role in hu­man nu­tri­tion worth ex­am­in­ing. It is needed for brain func­tion and cell growth and even plays a role in re­duc­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease risk.

Like “good” and “bad” pro­tein and car­bo­hy­drate choices, there are fats we should eat of­ten and oth­ers we should be eat­ing in­fre­quently, if ever. The fats we con­sider to be healthy are mo­noun­sat­u­rated and polyun­sat­u­rated. They are found in fish, plants, nuts, seeds and eggs. Be­sides pro­vid­ing sup­port for brain and cell growth, they help to re­duce the kind of choles­terol that clogs ar­ter­ies and may have an ef­fect on blood sugar, in­sulin lev­els and di­a­betes.

The “un­healthy” fats to be avoided are listed on nu­tri­tion la­bels as “par­tially hy­dro­genated veg­etable oil.” They are called “trans fats” and are considered to have no ben­e­fit to hu­man health. They lower the good choles­terol in blood ves­sels while in­creas­ing the bad, cre­at­ing a higher risk of stroke and heart dis­ease and are as­so­ci­ated with a higher di­a­betes risk. These fats are ar­ti­fi­cially pro­duced and ap­pear mostly in pack­aged snack foods in­clud­ing pas­tries, frozen pizza, dough­nuts, cook­ies, crack­ers and stick mar­garines.

Sat­u­rated fats (an­i­mal fats that are solid at room tem­per­a­ture) have tra­di­tion­ally been lumped in with the bad fat group, al­though cur­rent re­search has been ques­tion­ing the idea that eat­ing them ac­tu­ally leads to dis­ease. Ac­cord­ing to The Lancet (a weekly peer-re­viewed med­i­cal jour­nal), a healthy diet can in­clude an­i­mal fats and that mod­er­a­tion is the most im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion when choos­ing what to eat with all food groups.

With an un­der­stand­ing of the ben­e­fits found in reg­u­larly con­sum­ing heart-healthy, nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring fats, it be­comes easier to make more in­formed choices when planning meals and snacks.

Here are six foods to eat fre­quently to add bet­ter fat to your daily diet.

1. Av­o­cado. Try eat­ing av­o­cado sev­eral times per week. Not only do they taste great, they can re­place less healthy fats in a va­ri­ety of ways. My favourite is to spread about 1/5 of an av­o­cado on a sand­wich to re­place may­on­naise or but­ter. Also, diced into a salad or onto your chili tastes fan­tas­tic.

2. Nuts. Use wal­nuts, al­monds and pecans chopped and added to your break­fast ce­real or oat­meal. They also can make a mixed salad a lot more in­ter­est­ing when used in place of crou­tons. Have about a ¼ cup daily.

3. Olives and olive oil. Snack on 5 to 10 olives a few times per week (I like to have them as a side to my sand­wich at lunch with some baby car­rots) or use a cou­ple of ta­ble­spoons of olive oil for cook­ing or when mak­ing salad dress­ing.

4. Fish. Cold wa­ter fish like salmon and tuna are high in the type of fat known to boost heart health. Eat about 12 ounces spread over two meals per week. You can choose fresh or canned. In my home, we love mix­ing in the canned va­ri­eties with gar­den salad, some shred­ded cheese and olive oil/ bal­samic vine­gar dress­ing.

5. Seeds. Chia, sun­flower or flax. Choose one or all three to use as a top­ping for yogurt, ce­real or even on a mixed salad. A serv­ing of 1 to 2 ta­ble­spoons would be per­fect. (Ground flaxseed is a bet­ter choice than whole seeds.)

6. Eggs. A great source of pro­tein, eggs are ver­sa­tile and packed with nu­tri­ents. They may con­tain 5 grams of fat, but only a small amount is sat­u­rated fat. En­joy them a few times per week for break­fast or hard boiled as an “on the run” snack.

Cut­ting fat com­pletely from your diet should not be your goal if you want to be health­ier. A bet­ter strat­egy is to make sub­sti­tu­tions for the fats you con­sume with health­ier ones as of­ten as pos­si­ble.

Eat ev­ery­thing in mod­er­a­tion, with the ex­cep­tion of trans fats, which should be avoided when­ever pos­si­ble.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.