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All In Moderation

New findings may explain the advantages of polyunsaturated fat

Written by Coach Connie,

Lifestyle Health Mentor

 

When we think of the word “fat”- We remember back to our parents and grandparents using lard for everything they made or putting a huge slab of butter on bread. Back then, we didn’t think anything of it when we were eating fat, whether it was good or bad for us. We just thought it was part of our diet.

Today, no matter where you look – you see news reports saying eat this fat but don’t eat this fat. We’re always trying to find the lowest fat diet. It almost seems as if we all need to be scientists just to figure out what should we eat. So let’s take a look at what polyunsaturated fat is, why it’s good for us and what should we consume to achieve the full benefits.

So, what is polyunsaturated fat and how does it affect our health? It is found in animal and plant foods, which is known as one of the healthier fats, together with monounsaturated fat. The biggest thing to remember is that we want to add in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, which will be replacing saturated fats, commonly found in red meat, butter, cheese, and ice cream; and trans fat, which are unhealthy fats found in partially hydrogenated oil, that could increase health problems such as risk for heart disease. When you reduce the red meat and butter intake, substitute them with fish, beans, nuts, and healthy oils rather than refined carbohydrates. That’s why adding polyunsaturated fats into your diet can help lower your bad cholesterol (LDL), which causes your arteries to become blocked or clogged. It can contribute vitamin E to your diet, which is an antioxidant. By adding more of this healthier fat into our diets, it can boost your overall body, mind and soul, along with your waistline. Now isn’t that a bonus.

This type of fat includes omega-3 and omega-6 fats (EFA’s), which are essential fatty acids that helps our brain function and cell growth. We need to supplement these EFA’s through our food, since our body does not produce this on its own. They protect our heart because they contain EPA and DHA. They lower the risk of fatal heart attacks and sudden cardiac death caused by electrical problems that occur in the heart. By consuming fish, it may reduce the risk of stroke too and keep in mind, it contains vitamin D, healthy proteins, selenium, and other nutrients. It is recommended that you consume at least two 3-4oz servings of fish and seafood, including one serving of oily or dark meat fish per week. As for vegetable oils, it is recommended that you consume 5-6 teaspoons per day, which includes oil found in foods.

Lately, all you hear about is coconut oil or palm oils. Are they really better for you? Well, according to the AHA, there is no real known evidence as of now so, they recommend to stick to vegetable oils, because of the overwhelming evidence they are good for the heart.

So, how does the omega-3 and omega-6 fats work to our benefit?

  1. Lower triglycerides and lowers the risk of having an irregular heartbeat, known as arrhythmia.
  2. Cuts down the buildup of plaque in our arteries and decreasing our blood pressure
  3. It can regulate our blood sugar and lower our diabetes risk
  4. Lower inflammation and contains beneficial phytochemicals from the oil seeds

There are several foods that are recommended as part of the polyunsaturated fat category:

  1. Fish, including salmon, herring, trout, albacore tuna, anchovy, sardines, bluefish, mussels, halibut, bass, oysters and mackerel
  2. Vegetable, Safflower, Corn, Flax, Olive, Canola and Soybean oil
  3. Sunflower, poppy, chia and flax seeds
  4. Eggs and avocado
  5. Walnuts, soybeans, almonds, pine and brazil nuts
  6. Fresh, raw pork sausage, pork, roasted turkey, roasted chicken wings and duck
  7. Quinoa, toasted wheat germ, raw oat bran, dry chickpeas, millet, tahini and firm tofu

So, what if you don’t care for fish or have a fish allergy? According to the American Heart Association, you may want to supplement with over the counter fish oil capsules. Keep in mind, they are not regulated by the FDA. Most capsules carry about 200-400 mg of EPA plus DHA, which should be sufficient for most people. As always, consult with your doctor on a higher dose requirement. Some capsules leave an aftertaste or cause burping, so it’s best to choose the burp free option when choosing the right fish oil capsule.

Please note: As I always say, all in moderation, because eating too much of this type of fat can lead to weight gain, which contains 9 calories per gram. Carbohydrates and proteins carry half of that amount of calories, so just be aware of your consumption amount.

So, how does this compare to my daily healthy plate regimen? It is recommended to allow no more than 25%-30% of fat in your daily calories, of which should be from the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated groups. Keep in mind, limit the other fats, such as saturated fat to less than 6% of your daily calories.

Should we really have to read every label to see what type fat is in the product? Yes, because as stated, there are good and bad fats, so by knowing what to look for when purchasing the product will only benefit your health in the long run. Of course, keep in mind, that when food manufacturers lower fat, they usually substitute it with carbohydrates from sugar, refined grains, or other starches. These are digested faster in our bodies, which affects our insulin and blood sugar levels. This can result in weight gain and diseases.

As always, consult your health professional on any health concerns or questions.

I hope this article finds you in good health.

Sources:

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000747.htm

https://healthyforgood.heart.org/Eat-smart/Articles/Polyunsaturated-Fats

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-fats.htm

http://www.anneshealthykitchen.com/top-30-foods-high-in-polyunsaturated-fat/

https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition/fats-and-cholesterol/monounsaturated-and-polyunsaturated-omega-3-and-omega-6-fats

What is the “Zone” Diet and is there a comparison to the “Mediterranean” Diet?

Written by Coach Connie,

Lifestyle Health Mentor

 

Did you know there are over 100 dietary theories out there and that’s just the ones that have been referenced or documented? When we look back on our ancestor’s daily meal habits, we most likely seen meat, potatoes, vegetables and occasionally the dessert daunting us to have a piece. There are so many ways to get our nutrients and diets are the focus of society’s outtake on living healthy.

So what is the right “diet”?  There’s a reason there are so many “diets” in reach, but what does each do and how do we know what works and doesn’t. As someone who has been in the health industry for years, I’ve been there. I felt like I was my own test subject to figuring my body out. That’s why no diet works for everyone, we all are different, but knowing what we can have and what our body needs is half the battle.

I started with the “Zone Diet” and then switched to the “Mediterranean Diet” due to changes in my exercise routine and metabolic changes. Once I achieved my goal weight, I wanted to ensure that I would recover more rapidly from exercise by controlling my levels of inflammation, and doing this in a way that allows me to perform at my highest possible level.

Dr. Barry Sears wrote the book on the “Zone Diet” and then almost 20 years later, wrote the book titled, “The Mediterranean Zone”.  It has very similar attributes, but unlike the Mediterranean diet, the Zone Diet shifts on view on the healthy eating plate. The Zone diet contains 40% of the calories as carbohydrates, 30% of the calories as protein, and 30% of the calories as fat. This improved protein-to-carbohydrate balance means decreased insulin levels and decreased cellular inflammation. A Mediterranean diet shifts the carbohydrates to 50%, protein goes down to 20% and the fat remains at 30%. That’s why it’s been highly recommended for weight loss and cardiovascular health.  Technically, they both have benefits that tie together. Again, depending on our inflammation and metabolic factors and how it affects our insulin responses.

To ensure the best results, time out your meals to help stabilize blood sugar levels and add in physical activity at least three days per week.

An example of a daily meal plan:

  • 7am: breakfast (should be eaten within 1 hour of waking)
  • 12pm: lunch (eaten no more than 5 hours later)
  • 5pm: a mid-afternoon snack
  • 7pm: dinner (2-3 hours after snack)
  • 11pm: a late night snack right before bed to balance blood sugar levels in the brain while sleeping

The Zone Diet states that a 1/3 of the plate (about 3oz for women and 4oz for men) should be made up of protein, and the remaining 2/3 should be fruits and vegetables – with a dash of monounsaturated oil to finish off the meal.

So let’s clarify, what are the some examples of the right foods and ones to avoid and the pros & cons to the Zone Diet:

Foods to include:

  • Skinless chicken
  • Fish
  • Egg whites
  • Tofu
  • Legumes
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Olive oil
  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Turkey
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Soy meat substitutes

Foods to avoid:

  • Trans-fats
  • High sugar fruits and veggies like corn and bananas
  • Breads
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Fruit juices
  • Tortillas
  • Bagels

Pros:

  • Discourages the consumption of trans-fats
  • Promotes consistent eating habits
  • Recommends adequate intake of fruits and vegetables

Cons:

  • Zone products are processed
  • Excludes certain plant based foods

The Mediterranean diet consists of natural, whole foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, nuts, dairy, and pure oils, and excludes processed and refined foods. The diet includes an abundance of extra virgin olive oil and seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as whole, unprocessed grains. It’s recommended that wine consumption remain at 1-2 small glasses daily, and coffee is consumed moderately for pleasure and mental stimulation.

Now let’s take a look at some of the examples of the right foods and ones to avoid and the pros & cons to the Mediterranean Diet:

Foods to include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grain
  • Fish
  • Meats
  • Dairy
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil

Foods to avoid:

  • Processed foods
  • Refined foods

Pros:

  • Moderate, flexible approach
  • Considers primary food
  • May become a sustainable lifestyle approach

Cons:

  • Some may require firmer guidelines to feel their best
  • Some may not react well to wine and coffee
  • Some may not have the willpower to moderate rich foods

 

To put things in perspective, the zone diet is the evolution of the Mediterranean diet. There is no “one–size fits all” diets, but reviewing both methods shows very comparable methods, but unique when comparing our overall dietary guidelines.

Find what works best for your body type and always consult your health professional. I hope this article finds you in good health.

 

Sources:

Get started with the Mediterranean Diet www.mediterraneandietforall.com

Mediterranean Diet www.health.usnews.com

Mediterranean Diet www.mediterraneandiet.com

The Zone Diet. webmd.com. 6 February 2009

What is the Mediterranean Diet and The Zone Diet? www.Zonediet.com? 21 March 2011

2017 Integrative Nutrition, Inc. Learning Center under Dietary Theories

3 Tips for All Ages on Getting Better Sleep

Written & Submitted by: Julia Merrill

3 Tips for All Ages on Getting Better Sleep

 

According to Neil Howe at Forbes.com, we are a sleep-deprived nation, spending too much time at night gazing at computer or tablet or smartphone screens, over-caffeinating ourselves and our kids, staying up too late to catch who’s on our favorite TV shows, then getting jolted awake five hours later to start the next day. Not only does lack of sleep cause us to feel grumpy and tired much of the time, it affects us in so many other ways, including increased blood pressure and a weakened immune system. In addition, it also affects our release of insulin as well as our balance and coordination.

 

Adults aren’t the only ones affected by sleep deprivation. It affects our children too. They can be harder to wake up in the mornings (more so than usual), become more accident prone, and can have difficulty focusing and applying themselves at school. Clearly, lack of sleep affects everybody, not only the ones who are sleep-deprived but also employers (from a lack of worker productivity or accidents on the job) and educators (students falling asleep in class or getting behind in their schoolwork), just to name a few. With so many sleep-deprived people, it’s no wonder there seem to be coffee shops on every street corner.

 

Clearly, lack of sleep is a problem for everyone. Here are some ways you can make sure everyone in your family gets plenty of quality sleep, which can give children a boost of energy to do well in school and adults plenty of energy to make it through the workday.

 

  1. Improve Your Mattress and Pillows

According to The Huffington Post, new beds can result in a significant decrease in stress levels. If you’re still sleeping on the same mattress you had when you moved into your first apartment, it’s time to change. Invest in a quality mattress and box spring set. You can save money in the long run by purchasing a platform bed so that you only need to purchase a mattress. When you test drive a mattress at the store, check its firmness and notice how it supports pressure points on your hips and your back. Pillows are a matter of personal choice and comfort, but if yours is as flat as a table, it’s time to replace it. The Sleep Doctor states that the best type of pillow supports your head, neck, and shoulders, and matches the feel of your mattress.

 

  1. Darken the Bedrooms

 

Having lots of windows to let in the light is a great thing for a house – during the day. At night, you don’t want glow from streetlights or headlights of cars, or from your neighbors’ houses coming into your bedrooms. To prevent that, invest in a set of blackout curtains or heavier blinds. Be careful, though. Blackout curtains can prevent natural sunlight from coming in as well, and that can upset your body’s natural circadian rhythm. So be sure to separate them enough to let in daylight

 

  1. Minimize the Distractions (and the Caffeine)

Make a household rule that all phones, tablets, laptops and TVs  must be turned off two hours before bed. If the adults are taking online classes or have important work deadlines, consider extending that by an hour. All of these devices emit what’s called “blue light,” which our brain interprets as daylight. If you need to, keep all household cell phones in one location during “device curfew.” Keep one available for emergency only. If you use your phone as your alarm clock, keep it away from your nightstand but loud enough so you can hear the alarm. Also, try to avoid caffeinated beverages approximately six hours before you go to bed. That might put a crimp in your normal caffeine intake, but it also might help you sleep better.

 

If we minimize distractions, cut back on our caffeine intake, and improve our bedding and bedrooms, we can become more restful, healthy, and energetic people.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

Julia Merrill Bio:

Julia Merrill has many years of experience in the medical field and runs the site BefriendYourDoc.org.
Julia’s mission is to close the gap between medical providers and their patients, and aims to provide tips on finding the right medical care, health insurance, etc.

 

Mindful Eating by Turning Meals into Meditation

Follow this ten-step plan for mindful eating when you are feeling stressed about food or unable to cope with cravings.

 

LHM Coach Facebook Page

 

Tackling Vitamin Deficiency

A healthy diet can provide all a growing body needs, but the reality of our busy lifestyles and sometimes finicky eating habits can lead to vitamin deficiency. Knowing what to look for is part of the battle. In this article we’ll try to help you detect nutritional deficiencies. Also note that symptoms are actually better indicators of nutritional deficiency than signs (In medicine a sign is objective while a symptom is subjective).

 

 

LHM Coach Facebook Page

http://positivemed.com/2013/05/20/detecting-nutritional-deficiencies/