By Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac.
"I don't eat no ham & eggs 'cause they're high in cholesterol.
Yo, Fife do eat em?
Tip, do ya' eat em?
Uh-uh! Not at all!"
- From the song "Ham and Eggs" by A Tribe Called Quest.
Many fats are high in calories which increase weight gain. And reducing cholesterol intake is necessary for good health, especially good cardiac health. But are all fats bad?
Despite the fact that many Americans have been on decidedly low fat diets, we have gained weight of epidemic proportions and heart disease remains our number one cause of death.
Newsflash! There are good fats and bad fats.
You can brighten up that bland fat free diet with beneficial fats.
Get fat into your diet -
just make sure you chose the right kinds of fat.
|Monounsaturated Fats: Monounsaturated fats lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increase the HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).|
Polyunsaturated Fats: Polyunsaturated fats also lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Omega 3 fatty acids belong to this group.
|Saturated Fats: Saturated fats raise total blood cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol).|
Trans Fats: Trans fats raise LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and lower HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
|Monounsaturated fats and Polyunsaturated fats found in:|
Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, hemp)
Flax seed oil
|Saturated fats and Transfats AKA Transfatty acids AKA Hydrogentated fats found in:|
Red Meat and Poultry (focus on eating lean cuts of meat)
Skin of poultry and pork
High-Fat Dairy products (20% or more fat per serving) such as cheese.
Palm kernel oil
Cakes & cookies baked in the above
Fried foods (including fish and vegetables)
Avoid fast foods, and most convenience foods like potato chips, other fried vegetable chips, etc. Always read the Nutrition Facts label.
(For more info on Fats Read This)
|Fats are considered a Low-GIycemic index food which means they do not raise blood sugar levels. IIn fact, fats can slow down sugar metabolism when we eat them with carbohydrates. So the next time you have a slice of Italian bread, dip it in olive oil.|
|Fats help us feel full and satiated. Incorporating healthy fat with your meal may help you reduce portion size and thus reduce weight gain. So make some fresh avocado guacamole this summer!|
REDUCE "BAD" FAT INTAKE WITH THESE TIPS
Regular cardiovascular exercise is key to burning fat. Cardio exercise creates heat to melt fat. Think of what happens when you cook a fatty piece of meat - all that congealed fat within the muscle melts off. The American Heart Association recommends cardiovascular exercise 4 times a week for 40 minutes (non-stop). Make sure to meet your target heart rate. Check out this link to find yours.
- Before cooking, always remove visible fat from meat including the skins, and avoid deep-frying.
- Try out un-fried recipes, or steam, stir-fry, broil or grill meats instead. I highly recommend the George Forman indoor grill.
- Avoid soups and stews and gravy cooked with high fat meats.
- High fat red meats look marbled because the white marbling is the fat distribution through the meat. The less white marbling through the meat means the fat content is lower. Trim fat from the edges of the cut.
- Buy low fat dairy products like reduced fat milk and yogurt products or replace with soy, rice or almond milk products.
- To fry, choose safflower oil, sunflower oil, soy oil or canola oil as these oils have higher smoke point. It is best not to fry with olive oil as its smoke point is only about 190C/375F.
- Confused about the difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol levels? Try to remember HDL=HEALTHY and we want to keep LDL LOW.
Some people have chronic pain syndromes which preclude them from the usual cardio exercises such as elliptical machines or aerobic classes. Start by walking five minutes a day, even if you walk inside your home. Slowly build your energy and strength. Consult with an exercise expert such as your doctor, physical therapist or fitness trainer to help design an exercise routine to fit your needs. Be careful not to overdo it and cause more pain which can lead to a set back. Take it one step at a time.
Dairy and fatty meats or foods containing high levels of saturated fats (like all the fats in the AVOID column of the chart) could be classified according to Chinese medicine as foods which are damp, cold, or that which create damp heat. These foods can stagnate the free flow of qi movement throughout the body. There is a saying in Chinese Medicine: Where there is pain there is no free flow. Where there is free flow there is no pain. Stagnation could cause pain. The dampness may block the channels along which the qi and blood are supposed to move freely. If you are having pain in your body - headaches, menstrual or back pain etc. - try eliminating or reducing bad fat and eat foods which circulate the qi like the ones listed in this article. Foods which produce damp heat such as greasy, oily and fried foods tend to stagnate the Liver qi. This could lead to acid reflux, stomach ulcers, constipation, irritability, and could even make one easy to anger.
Modern nutritional research shows that overeating foods containing saturated fats, like those found in high fat meats and high fat dairy, contributes to high cholesterol and that many patients with high cholesterol also have high blood pressure. Both high cholesterol and high blood pressure are comorbidity factors of over weight and obesity. The single Chinese herbs Shan Zha (Fructus Crataegi) and Ji Nei Jin (Gigeriae galli Endothelium Corneum) treat food stagnation due to overeating rich foods, meat, fats and dairy. Both of these herbs have been found to lower cholesterol levels, and Shan Zha has been shown to lower blood pressure. We also use Ji Nei Jin to treat kidney and gall stones. Modern research confirms that gall stones are often related to overeating saturated fats and/or a history of obesity and that kidney stones are often related to gout. According to Chinese medicine, high blood pressure, stone conditions and gout are often classified as liver gallbladder damp heat conditions. We also find that eating rich foods can cause or aggravate liver gallbladder damp heat conditions. Therefore, it is wise for patients with this pattern to avoid foods high in saturated fats to heal the liver gallbladder imbalance, clear heat and consequentially lower LDL cholesterol.
Over-eating fatty, greasy, fried and oily foods can lead to indigestion. If this happens to you, then avoid alcohol, greasy, fried, oily and hard to digest foods. In general, avoid overeating. Eat easy to digest plain food, such as potato or chicken noodle soups or oats until the food stagnation passes. Eat papaya, pineapple or malt to aid digestion. Drink ginger and lemon tea or orange peel tea to settle nausea. If you have constipation, eat an apple or drink aloe vera juice. After eating, take a 20 minute leisurely walk which will move qi stagnation and aid digestion. Always wait at least 30 minutes to lie down after eating.
As you can see, there are many compelling reasons to change your sources of dietary fats.
For more information about food, diet, healthy weight loss and acupuncture weight loss read:
Chinese Medicine & Healthy Weight Management:
An Evidence-Based Integrated Approach
By Juliette Aiyana
And, visit www.AmericanHeart.org for tons of information.
"Juliette is an extremely knowledgeable and intuitive practitioner of the healing arts; including acupuncture, massage and nutrition, plus so much more! I highly recommend her high integrity, creativity, and health results for women, children, and families!"