The Skinny on Fats (continued)

skinny on fatsThe Good Fats
In the past decade, research has repeatedly shown that the healthy fats in fish, olives, nuts, seeds, and avocados deliver potent disease-fighting nutrients. Much of the research has looked at fish consumption or fish oil supplementation, and the findings have been so encouraging that the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association now recommend that most people eat fish two or three times a week (best choices include salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna, and rainbow trout). If you have elevated triglycerides, or if you have established cardiovascular disease, you may benefit from going one step further. Talk to your doctor about supplementing with fish oil capsules.

Fish contains two types of omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) that have shown, among other health benefits, clear cardiovascular improvements that help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Another type of omega-3 fat (ALA) is found in flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil, soybeans, and dark, leafy greens. A small amount of ALA is converted into EPA and DHA, and it also appears to have impressive cardiovascular benefits of its own.

A Problem of Proportion
Many experts today feel that at least some of our diet-related health problems stem from an imbalance in our intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. We get omega-6 fats primarily from vegetable oils, and omega-3 fats mostly from fish. It has been estimated that early humans consumed these two types of fats in a ratio of 1 to 1. Today, that ratio is almost 10 to 1 in the typical American diet, with our consumption of vegetable oils far outweighing our consumption of fish oils. To improve your ratio and your health, follow these bottom line tips:

  • Eat a variety of (non-fried) fatty fish and seafood two or three times a week. (If you don't like fish, talk to your doctor about supplementing with fish oil capsules and also look for foods enriched with omega-3, such as eggs and margarines.)
  • Eat a greater variety of plant foods, including nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and soy foods.
  • Add ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil, walnuts, and dark, leafy greens to your weekly repertoire.
  • Limit your consumption of "junk" and processed foods (which almost always contain vegetable oil).


Reviewed by Susan Weiner, R.D., M.S., C.D.E., C.D.N. 3/08



 

Page: 1 | 2

Last Modified Date: July 03, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

Sign up for FREE dLife Newsletters

dLife Membership is FREE! Get exclusive access, free recipes, newsletters, savings, and much more! FPO

Congratulations!
You are subscribed!
Congratulations!
You are subscribed!
Congratulations!
You are subscribed!
128 Views 0 comments
by Nicole Purcell
I had a bad one last night. A scary low bloodsugar that reminded me just how tenuous diabetes makes my existence. I hate those. I hate the feeling that I'm anything less than a strong, capable woman. Diabetes, like a sledge hammer to the knees, has a way of hobbling the confidence I have in my health, strength and well-being. It is both frustrating and disheartening. It's 2:00 am and a good friend called from their third shift job because they needed someone. Just...