Fats Back ~ Weight Loss
...but before you order that double cheeseburger, read this;
Earlier this year, when you heard news reports that a major study found that a low-fat diet doesn't prevent breast or colon cancer or heart disease in women, did you want to run out and order Fettuccine Alfredo?
A pint of Häagen-Dazs Triple Fudge?
Trouble is, those reports left us with the wrong impression.
The study by the Women's Health Initiative, the largest health assessment ever of postmenopausal women, treated all fats as though they were the same.
So, for the purposes of research, adding avocado slices to a salad or snacking on a handful of almonds was considered roughly the equivalent of eating a fatty roast beef sandwich or noshing on pork rinds.
That's like comparing, well, almonds and pork rinds.
Not all fats are created equal though.
Maybe a low-variety diet isn't the way we need to eat, but getting the right kind in your diet is.
Like other animal products, pork rinds contain the saturated variety, which is linked to increased risk of both heart disease and cancer.
The "right" types mainly come from plants and fish.
The mono-unsaturated fats in almonds and avocados, the poly-unsaturated type in soy and seeds, the omega-3 acids in walnuts (and fish), and the omega-6 acids in nuts and seeds and their oils.
Studies have shown that they may lower your odds of a multitude of conditions, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, and depression.
And though all fats, healthy or otherwise, contain a fair amount of calories (about 9 per gram), a little bit may keep you from getting ravenous between meals.
As a diet food?
Sure, as long as you keep your fat calories to no more than 30% of total calories, or roughly 57 g. a day for women.
To put that in perspective, one large container of fast-food fries supplies about 28 g., add a steak (23 g. in 6 oz.) and that piece of cheesecake (18 g. per slice), and you've blown it.
So go ahead, follow your initial impulse and fatten up your diet.
But make sure you do it with these good foods.
Eat them because;
They contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
Monos help lower total and "bad" LDL cholesterol.
Some studies suggest that a high-mono diet may even protect against breast cancer.
Recent research at Ohio State University found that when avocado was added to salads and salsa, it helped increase the absorption of specific carotenoids, chemicals linked to lower risk of heart disease and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
Avocados are packed with other heart-protective compounds, such as soluble fiber, vitamin-E, folate, and potassium.
Avocados aren't just for guacamole anymore.
Start a summer meal with a refreshing bowl of chilled avocado soup (puree an avocado in a blender with 2 Tbs. of plain yogurt and a dash of lime juice and hot sauce, thinning the soup to taste with reduced-sodium chicken broth).
Mash a quarter of an avocado to use in place of a tablespoon of mayonnaise on deli sandwiches of turkey or lean ham; you'll slash total fat (the avocado has 7 g., full-fat mayo has 11 g.) and add beneficial monounsaturated fat, which you won't get by switching to fat-free mayo.
Nutrient Profile; 1/5 avocado: 4.6 g. fat (2.9 g. monounsaturated, 0.6 g. polyunsaturated, 0.6 g. saturated), 50 calories
*Fat breakdowns are approximate.
Olives & Olive Oil
Eat them because;
Olives and their oil are one of nature's most abundant sources of beneficial monos.
But that's only the beginning.
They also contain phytochemicals like polyphenols.
These protective compounds may prevent both cardiovascular disease and cancer and reduce inflammation that can lead to chronic illness.
A recent Spanish study found that among 755 women in the Canary Islands, where the breast cancer rate is higher than in the rest of Spain, those who consumed the most olive oil, more than 8.8 g., or about a third of an ounce a day, were least likely to get the disease.
Skewer pitted olives among grilled shrimp, peppers, and onions, or stir chunks into spicy putta-nesca sauce and serve over pasta or fish.
Swap mayo for flavorful store-bought olive paste (called tapenad and a teaspoon will do) on sandwiches or salads.
Olive oil is an excellent butter substitute on steamed or grilled veggies:
Drizzle 1 or 2 tsp. over grilled asparagus or steamed broccoli and lightly dust the veggies with grated cheese and a grind of black pepper.
Choose extra virgin olive oil, as it contains the highest level of healthy phenolic compounds.
Five large olives: 2.4 g. fat (1.7 g. monounsaturated, 0.2 g. polyunsaturated, 0.3 g. saturated), 25 calories.
1 Tbs. oil: 13.5 g. (9.9 g. monounsaturated, 1.4 g. polyunsaturated, 1.9 .g saturated), 120 calories
Peanuts & Peanut Butter
Eat them because;
Five of the largest epidemiological studies in the United States found that eating nuts reduces the risk of heart disease.
In the Nurses' Health Study at Harvard, eating at least 5 oz. of nuts a week lowered cardiovascular disease risk by 35%.
Peanuts and peanut butter pack a lot of calories, 170 per ounce of nuts, 94 for 1 Tbs. of peanut butter.
But Pennsylvania State University research found that among more than 14,000 people, those who were regular peanut and peanut-butter snackers actually had a lower body mass index, a measure of obesity, and lower cholesterol intake than those who didn't eat peanuts.
Peanuts also contain beta-sitosterol, a plant chemical that blocks cholesterol absorption from foods and appears to inhibit tumor growth in the colon, prostate and breast.
Crush them and sprinkle a few tablespoons over coleslaw, rice dishes, shrimp or chicken salad, or a tropical fruit salad.
Peanut butter isn't married to jelly.
Spread 2 Tbs. of your favorite brand on whole wheat bread and add sliced apples, pears, or bananas.
Mix 1/4 c. of peanut butter with 1 Tbs. each of reduced-sodium chicken broth and soy sauce to create a rich, exotic sauce for grilled chicken, noodle dishes, or salad.
28 peanuts (1 oz.): 14 g. (7 g. monounsaturated, 4.5 g. polyunsaturated, 2 g. saturated), 166 calories. 1 Tbs. peanut butter: 8.1 g. (3.8 g. monounsaturated, 2.2 g. polyunsaturated, 1.7 g. saturated), 94 calories
Eat them because;
Though recent studies have cast doubt on soy's ability to independently lower your risk of heart disease, it's a great substitute for meat in your diet, and that can help lower your cholesterol.
A multicenter study, published in the March issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that a diet that substituted soy products for meat and contained specific kinds of fiber (such as that in oats), almonds, and plant-sterol-enriched margarine, lowered cholesterol as much as statin drugs (more than 20%) for one-third of the participants.
Keep a bag of frozen, pre-cooked soybeans (edamame) on hand and add 1/4 c. to stir-fries, vegetable stews, or whole wheat pasta dishes to boost poly-unsaturated fat and protein.
Toss them with some corn for an unusual succotash.
Use them to replace meat in a stir-fry of broccoli, bok choy, and asparagus.
Or substitute them for chickpeas in hummus.
1 c. cooked edamame: 11.5 g. fat (2.2 g. monoun-saturated, 5.4 g. polyunsaturated, 1.3 g. saturated), 254 calories
Eat them because;
You need to get linoleic acid in your diet.
Your body can't make it (as well as other essential type acids), and requires it to help synthesize other types.
Bonus: It's great for your heart.
In the Nurses' Health Study, women who had the highest intakes of linoleic acid had a 23% lower risk of heart disease than women who had the lowest intakes.
Add 2 or 3 Tbs. of these delicately flavored seeds to granola, trail mix, or hot cereal.
Or lightly toast and sprinkle them and dried cherries on top of a spinach salad dressed with a citrus vinaigrette.
Use a Tbs. as a topping for an open-faced tuna, egg salad, or hummus sandwich on crusty pumpernickel bread.
Storage tip: Sunflower seeds easily become rancid, causing them to lose their nutritional benefits and develop off flavors, so store them in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
1/4 c. sunflower seeds: 15.9 g. fat (3 g. monounsaturated, 10.5 .g polyunsaturated, 1.7 g. saturated), 10.5 g. linoleic acid, 186 calories.
Eat them because;
Hands down, walnuts have the highest level of omega-3's of any nut.
In fact, walnuts are one of the few plant sources of this healthy type that may protect against inflammation, heart disease, asthma, and arthritis and improve cognitive function.
"Just one small handful [14 walnut halves] supplies 2.6 g. of omega-3's, which surpasses the minimal daily amount recommended by the Institute of Medicine for optimal health."
These fragrant nuts lend themselves to both sweet and savory dishes.
They're suited to crisp oatmeal cookies or a rich banana bread, but they also add spark and crunch to a butternut squash risotto, roasted Brussel sprouts, or mashed sweet potatoes.
To stave off hunger, add 2 Tbs. of crushed walnuts to your morning cereal, or mix a tsp. of chopped walnuts with six dried apricot halves for an on-the-go snack.
14 walnut halves (1 oz.): 18.5 g. fat (2.5 g. monounsaturated, 13.4 g. polyunsaturated, 1.7 g. saturated), 185 calories
Eat it because;
Flaxseed is famous for its omega-3s, but it's also an outstanding source of lignans, a type of fiber that acts like a weak form of estrogen in our bodies and may help fight some types of breast cancer.
Researchers at the University of Toronto and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, who analyzed tumor tissue, found that tumor growth slowed significantly and cancer cell death increased by as much as 30% in recently diagnosed postmenopausal breast cancer patients who ate a muffin containing about 3 Tbs. of flaxseed daily for about a month before surgery.
Its nutty flavor makes flaxseed a natural addition to baked goods and breakfast foods.
You must grind the hull from the seed to release all of flax's nutrients.
Add 1/4 c. of ground seeds to pancakes, muffins, cookies, and quick breads (but watch baking times as flaxseed can cause food to brown more quickly).
Add a Tbs. or two to cereal, yogurt, soups, or fresh-fruit smoothies.
Flax is best stored in the refrigerator, and ground flaxseed must be used promptly because it spoils more quickly than the whole seed.
2 Tbs. ground flaxseed: 5.9 g. fat (1.1 g. monounsaturated, 4 g. polyunsaturated, 0.5 g. saturated), 75 calories
Eat them because;
They'll do your heart good.
In a study at the University of California, Davis, researchers substituted almonds and almond oil for half the fat in the diets of their volunteers: slightly more than 2 1/2 oz. of almonds (about 48 nuts) and nearly 1 1/2 oz. of almond oil daily.
At the end of 6 weeks, the 22 men and women had lower total cholesterol (a drop of 4%), lower LDL levels (a drop of 6%), and significantly lower triglycerides (a 14% drop), while their HDL levels went up by 6%.
Sprinkle a Tbs. or two of slivered almonds over whole wheat couscous or steamed jasmine rice with peas.
Tuck them into beef or poultry dishes or use them to top a curried vegetable stew or carrot soup.
For a light summer dessert, sprinkle a tablespoon of crushed almonds over grilled figs, nectarines, or peaches drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
For a twist on an old favorite, use almond butter on your PB&J.
23 almonds (1 oz.): 14.4 g. fat (9.1 g. monounsaturated, 3.5 g. polyunsaturated, 1.1 g. saturated), 164 calories
Many plant oils, such as walnut, olive and sunflower are excellent sources of the healthy types but don't supply the fiber and some of the nutrients of the whole foods they come from
Here's an excellent recipe that we've made numerous times and I like it a lot!
Grilled Tilapia & Avocado Tostada
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
4 flour tortillas (10" diameter).
3 Tbs. olive oil.
1 lb. tilapia fillets.
1/2 tsp. sea salt.
1/2 sm. red onion, thinly sliced.
1 heart romaine lettuce, thinly sliced crosswise
2 med. tomatoes, chopped.
1/4 c. cilantro leaves.
4 red radishes, thinly sliced.
1 avocado, quartered, skinned, pitted, and thinly sliced lengthwise.
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges.
1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
2. Brush tortillas with 1 Tbs. of the oil.
Grill, flipping once or twice, until crisp, about 2 minutes each.
3. Brush Tilapia on both sides with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of the salt.
Grill, flipping once, until cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Let rest 4 minutes and pull into chunks with fork.
4. Place each tortilla on a plate.
Scatter on onion, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, and radishes.
Lay Tilapia pieces on top.
Fan sliced avocado quarters over Tilapia and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 Tbs. oil.
Serve with lime wedges.
Makes 4 Servings
26 g. Protein,
31 g. Carbohydrates,
19 g. Fat,
3.5 g. Saturated Fat,
55 mg. Cholesterol,
5 g. Fiber,
660 mg. Sodium
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