Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Healthy fats and Omega-3's

If you, like me, have spent the last 10-20 years of your life thinking all fats are bad and the secret to weight loss is to slash all fat... you're doing yourself a major disservice.

In fact, all fats are not created equal. It's true that some fats are hazardous to your health (such as the dangerous trans fats that are working their way out many foods), but we need some fats to survive. In fact, some kinds of dietary fat (like mono-unsaturated fat or poly-unsaturated fat) actually energize our bodies, like protein and carbs do.

No doubt you have heard the words "omega-3"s by now. Now here is an example of a healthy fat! This powerful fat can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as reduce symptoms of ADHD, joint issues, some skin issues, depression, hypertension.... and there is research showing how it can help protect us from Alzheimer's. All by its ability to encourage all the body chemicals that help keep inflammation under control- in your joints, your bloodstream, your muscles.

So why aren't we getting enough omega-3's? A lot of us don't know where to find it. We can get it in many cold-water fish, like salmon and anchovies. But after the FDA started warning us about mercury in fish, people started to freak about eating fish. The good news is- a couple of servings of salmon a week will do ya'. And two 4 oz servings of salmon is certainly well under the 12 oz limit the FDA wants us to eat... so DO NOT BE AFRAID! Fish = good.

If you're not a fish person, here are some other ways to get your omega-3's in:

* WALNUTS: Just a handful of walnuts will pack about as much as a 3.5 oz serving of salmon.
* FLAXSEED: You can find flaxseed just about anywhere these days, but I can attest to the deliciousness of Meijer brand organic flaxseed bread.
* EGGS: Not all eggs... but Meijer organic brown eggs and Eggland's Best both have omega-3's added by way of feeding their chickens flaxseed.
* VEGGIES/FRUITS: cantaloupe, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, grape leaves... all sources of omega 3's.
* BEANS: Beans are a superfood for a lot of reasons, but kidney beans will help you out with some omega-3's.

Just don't go crazy and go out and buy a bunch of fish oil capsules. We rely too heavily on supplements, which the body just does not absorb as effectively as real vitamins from real food. It's not that hard to get a couple of servings of these omega-3's in, just a few tweaks to your shopping list!

If you'd like more info on healthy fats and omega-3's, check out this "healing foods pyramid" from U of M.

until later....

Lois: So doctor, is Peter healthy?
Doctor: My goodness, you'll be dead within a month.
Peter: What?
Doctor (revealing comic he was reading): Oh, Hagar the Horrible, if you keep up that lifestyle of pillaging and eating giant turkey legs, you'll be dead within a month. Now, onto you.
Peter: So, what do you think? Pretty healthy, eh?
Doctor: Well, Mr. Griffin, let's take a look at your physical results. Argh! There's a spider in here. Now, here we go. Mr Griffin, you're going to expire in a month.
Peter/Lois: Argh!
Doctor: This is your driver's licence, isn't it? Now, unfortunately, I'm afraid you're going to die...
Peter: Argh!
Doctor: ...when you watch these Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts.
Lois: Will you just tell us how Peter's health is?!
Doctor: Ah, Mr. Griffin, I'm not quite sure how to say this. Kim Bassinger? Bass singer? Bassinger? But now, onto the cancer.
Lois: Oh my goodness!
Doctor: You are a Cancer, right? You were born in July? Now onto these test results. My, they're much worse than I thought.
Peter/Lois: Oh!
Doctor: My son got a D minus on his history test. Now Mr Griffin, that liver's got to come out.
Lois: What?!
Doctor: It's been in the microwave for three minutes, it'll get dry. Now-
Lois: Please, please, we can't take any more schtick.. Please just tell us, is Peter healthy?
Doctor: Oh, yeah, he's fine, he's just really fat.

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