Healthy Fats

Why Fat is Good For You

Sugars and fats have been under scrutiny for what seems like forever. For the last 40 years, the idea that fats had a bigger impact on health compared to sugar was the consensus, until recently. We now know that fat is very healthy, and is actually necessary for optimal health.

Now that fats have gained much earned popularity, there should be more of a discussion about what is a good fat versus what is a bad fat. This is truly important because our bodies need fat, but not all fats are equal. Certain classes of fats can be unhealthy. Trans fats can contribute to a buildup of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the bloodstream, the kind that can contribute to heart disease. Also, fats like canola, corn and soybean oil have been shown to contribute to inflammation so you want to avoid these at all costs. Certain healthy saturated fats play a role in keeping healthy levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol and decreasing the risk of heart disease.

These beneficial fats include:

Avocado Oil / Avocados
Walnuts
Almonds
Macadamia nuts
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Pasture raised beef and poultry
Organic, pasture raised eggs
Wild caught salmon, sardines, and herring
Chia seeds
Hemp seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Flax seeds / Flaxseed Oil

All of these foods have a healthier fat content, naturally. Good quality nuts, seeds, and animal proteins should come from healthy sources using sustainable and organic methods. It is also important to eat organic whenever possible because these foods have higher nutrient profiles and grow without the use of harmful pesticides, antibiotics, GMOs or steroids.

Olive and avocado oil, both omega-9 fatty acids, are common cooking and dressing oils that are among the healthier fats. Their monounsaturated fat content has been shown to help with reducing inflammation and supporting heart health. These oils are great for sautéing at medium heat and for creating dressings for salads and vegetables. Avoid frying at high temperatures with these because it can destroy all the beneficial nutrients they have. Always look for extra virgin and organic.

Flaxseed oil, derived form flax seeds, is a wonderful source of plant based, omega-3 fatty acids. It boasts a plethora of benefits contributing to healthy skin and hair, and aiding in the reduction of inflammation. Flaxseed oil is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is the only omega-3 that is found in plants. Other plant sources of ALA include hemp seeds, flax and walnuts. Always choose organic and cold pressed. This oil should only be used cold, never heated.

Like olive and avocado oil, coconut oil is high in compounds that can lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. It is rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCT) and high in beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. It’s one of the best for high temperature cooking because it tolerates heat well and the nutrients don't oxidize as easily, making it very stable. Coconut oil, taken in its raw form by the teaspoon, can be a quick source of energy for your body. It contains anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, as well as anti-viral. Coconut oil can be used as a great skin and hair moisturizer, too. When purchasing coconut oil, look for organic and extra virgin.

Humanely raised meats come from animals that are raised and fed properly, on pastures, without the use of steroids or antibiotics. This creates a much healthier animal. Animals that are raised in stressful environments have altered metabolisms because of the stress hormones that their bodies consistently produce. This changes the nutrient profile of the meat, including the fat. Sustainable farming practices where animals are allowed to roam freely creates a more natural environment for the animal to grow and develop before harvesting.

Consuming good fats and vegetables as a large part of your diet is vital for good health. In addition to the benefits mentioned, fats play a very important role in hormone production and metabolism. So it turns out that eating fat doesn't make you fat after all. All the more reason to add these delicious and healthy options to your daily diet and lifestyle.


Vegetables

Why You Should Always Eat Your Veggies

Cruciferous vegetables have some amazing qualities that can contribute to your ultimate health. Cruciferous is the word used to describe vegetables that are related to the cabbage family.
They are loaded with soluble fiber, vitamin C, several minerals and phytochemicals. In addition to vitamins K, A and C, they also contain higher amounts of folic acid, when compared to many other classes of vegetables.

The cabbage family includes:
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Bok choy
Kohlrabi
Arugula
Brussels sprouts
Mustard greens
Collard Greens
Kale
Choy sum
Turnip root
Rutabaga
Mizuna
Chinese cabbage
Napa cabbage
Komatsuna

Cruciferous vegetables are nutrient dense foods, but some are higher in certain minerals and vitamins than others. But all cruciferous vegetables share similar health benefits. As with many leafy green veggies, cruciferous vegetables have alkalizing effects on the body. These veggies make it difficult for inflammation to thrive in the body, thus, reducing the risk and symptoms associated with chronic diseases and certain types of cancer.

There are many different ways that toxins can enter the body and be stored. Because of this, the body had to evolve to develop ways to rid it of these dangerous chemicals. Cruciferous veggies play a supportive role in that they have nutrients that act as regulators of detoxification. This allows the body to get rid of toxins in a balanced manner, not overcommitting limited resources while ignoring the dangers of another toxin.

For both women and men, cruciferous veggies promote hormonal balance, especially for estrogen. The key is because of the chemical compound called indole-3-carbinol. This compound is able to alter estrogen metabolism, aiding in the balance of estrogens while hindering abnormal cell growths that lead to cancer.

The detoxification process is so very important because of our consumption of certain processed foods and also our exposure to the plastic bottles that we drink from. Plastics, especially softer plastics, have been shown to contain chemicals that mimic the body’s natural hormone process, which can lead to a dangerous overload of estrogens in the body. These overloads, without proper detoxification, have been a major concern and risk factor for both breast and prostate cancers.

Even though consuming these “super veggies” is wonderful, some research does show that overloading on cruciferous vegetables can actually hinder thyroid function for some individuals. So, of course, as with everything, balance is key and too much of one thing can be, well, too much. Including a variety of colorful vegetables in your daily diet is your best bet for better health.