Health & Fitness: Fats in a Nutshell

By Ashley Aragona on October 30, 2012 from Health & Fitness via Connect-Bridgeport.com

I recently celebrated my five year anniversary at Disney World because well I LOVE DISNEY WORLD!
 
The dates that we decided to go fell during Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival; see where I am going here? Let me just say, “Wow.” If you are a “foodie” this festival is a must, because there are foods from all different countries, and these are legit, I’m talking escargot from France and lamb from Morocco.
 
I feel that before I get into the bulk of this story, I need to preface it by letting you in on a little secret.
 
My Eating Rule. It’s the 80/20. I strive to eat 80% of my meals for the week as CLEAN meals and 20% not so clean. Now, what I mean by not so clean isn’t full fat, covered in lard food. I’m talking a dessert with dinner, or a cheese appetizer; you get my point.
 
I believe WHOLE HEARTEDLY in living a healthy and active lifestyle but do you know why I believe it’s so important to do that? So you can LIVE your life! Life is about enjoying it, and every so often, indulging! Now with that being said, I am DEFINETLY not condoning a lifestyle of overindulgence. You won’t get a lollipop from me after completing a Zumba class and I’m not going to give you a hot dog to show you my appreciation as a member; although I have to say that would be great job security, but I digress…
 
So, now that you know how I switched my rule around a little, let me explain what happened because this is what is so cool about living a healthy lifestyle. I got this cute little book you could get stamped at each destination. I believe there were around 50 and I intended to try them all.  After all, I was there like 4 days.  Here’s what I found, even though these were tapas size dishes (small portions, basically bite sized to taste) I was satiated after a few places! In addition to that, my favorites were what I could tell were lean meats, that were simmered in rich sauces and fresh herbs. Africa’s braised beef with sweet potato mash was one of my favorites of the event!
 
My point of this setup here is that not all “naughty food” is bad. You just have to really limit yourself and most likely you’ll find that when you do, something in your body takes over to where when you break and do indulge, a little goes a long way.
 
So with that being said, let’s look at that horrible word “fats” and see if we can’t find the good in them as well.
 
Fats- Fat supplies energy and transports nutrients. There are two families of fatty acids considered essential for the body: the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are required by the body to function normally, so obviously they aren’t the completely evil guy we make them out to be. They can be obtained from canola oil, flaxseed oil, cold-water fish, or fish oil, all of which contain omega-3 fatty acids, and primrose or black currant seed oil, which contains omega-6 fatty acids.
 
Now, you’ve probably heard the terms: saturated, unsaturated and trans, so let’s look at those.
 
  • UnsaturatedThese are the good fats. I think of it this way:
I can UNderstand why you need UNsaturated fats
 
These fats are found in vegetable oils, salad dressings and margarines made from vegetable oils, avocadoes, ground flax seeds, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel
 
  • Saturdatedfound in high fat cuts of beef and pork, full fat dairy products, butter, and snack foods, such as cookies, pastries, and doughnuts
 
  • Trans fatsfound in some margarines, deep fried food, and snack foods, such as chips, crackers, pastries, and doughnuts
 
Now, I’m gonna make this SO simple.
 
  • Unsaturated- Eat in moderation and go for healthy types, almonds, avocados, and fish.
 
  • Saturdated- Try to stay away from. I’m not saying to NEVER eat this, but definitely use care and A LOT of moderation. These are the guys that raise total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, they may also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. So tread VERY carefully.
 
  • Trans- STAY AWAY FROM! These should have a warning sign that says “Warning, HIGHLY processed ahead” At least that is the case for most trans fats because while some occur naturally in food, most are made during food processing through partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fats. This process creates fats that are easier to cook with and less likely to spoil than are naturally occurring oils. These trans fats are called industrial or synthetic trans fats. Research studies show that synthetic trans fat can increase unhealthy LDL cholesterol and lower healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. And if that’s not enough, the fact that they are known as “industrial” should tip you off that you really don’t want to be putting these in your body.
 
So, there you have it. Fats in a nutshell. My experience from Epcot’s food and wine festival just solidified my belief that “a little goes a long way.”  Some fat is essential for our bodies survival, but the ones that aren’t essential; also the ones that have a tendency to taste so good, aren’t completely a never have. Take a tip from the Food and Wine festival and try “just a bite.” If you are eating a healthy, clean diet, you’ll realize that just a bite is all it takes to satisfy your hunger for something naughty.
 
Until next week,
Yours in Health and Fitness
Ashley



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