When it comes to fats, it’s hard to keep it too simple. You need to have a basic understanding of a few terms:
Lipids – fats and oils. If it’s solid at room temperature, it’s a fat. If it’s liquid at room temperature, it’s oil. Lipids are a collection of molecules called triglycerides.
Triglycerides – a molecule comprised of three fatty acids attached to a glycerol.
Fatty Acid – carboxylic acids (COOH for you chemistry junkies) with carbon chains running 2-24 carbons long. The most abundant fatty acids in food are 16-18 carbons long.
Saturated Fatty Acid – a fatty acid in which all the links between carbons on the chain are single bonds, leaving no free electrons to potentially share with something else. This is the most stable form of a fatty acid and is generally solid at room temperature.
Unsaturated Fatty Acid – fatty acids with one or more double bond between carbons. If there is only one double bond, it is a monounsaturated fatty acid; two or more and it is a polyunsaturated fatty acids. The fatty acids in the families of omega-3, omega-6, omega-7, and omega-9 fall into this category. These are not as stable as saturated fatty acids, which is why they are liquids at room temperature. Note that this is why we suggest cooking with Coconut Oil (Saturated Fat = more stable). Cooking with Olive Oil (Monounsaturated Fat) has carcinogenic characteristics with heated.
Trans Fatty Acid – an unsaturated fatty acid that has undergone the process of hydrogenation or partial hydrogenation. The fatty acid is bombarded with hydrogen atoms until those double bonds are broken up and the resulting free electron is shared with a hydrogen. These are really weird fats that look saturated, but the body generally doesn’t know how to work with them. There are some naturally occurring trans fats in ruminant animal fats, but these are different than the redheaded stepchildren coming from the hydrogenation process.
Melting Point– the temperature at which a lipid goes from solid to liquid.
Smoke Point – the temperature at which a lipid begins to break down to glycerol and free fatty acids. This is a bad place for fats as they can potentially turn into very toxic substances from here. http://www.clovegarden.com/ingred/oilchart.html.
3) what we want to make sure we get in our diet, what we want to avoid.
- Corn oil
- Soy oil
- Canola oil
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower oil
How to get back to a 1:1 ratio?
1) As stated above, avoid oils that have high concentrations of omega 6 by avoiding most processed foods that are covered in these oils. (look at ingredients)
2) Eat foods rich in Omega 3: Coldwater Fish such as Salmon (wild caught), Tuna, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines. Here is a LINK for amounts of EPA/DHA in each fish
Other sources of omega-3s include broccoli, cantaloupe, spinach, grape leaves, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, walnuts, and macadamia nuts which are also packed with n-3 and one of my favorites!
“About an ounce — or one handful — of walnuts have about 2.5 grams of omega-3s,” says an Registered Dietician from WebMD. “That’s equal to about 3.5 ounces of salmon.”
Besides getting more omega-3s, you can also help your heart by replacing some omega-6s from cooking oils with a third fatty acid known as omega-9 (oleonic acid). This is a monounsaturated fat found primarily in olive oil. If cooking with Olive oil, get the “light” and not “Extra virgin” and cook on very low heat. Use it on your Salads along with Vinaigrette. (my favorite!)
“Factors found in olive oil can also help boost the good cholesterol, which can also help your heart,” says Magee, another RD from WebMD.
3) Supplement with Omega 3 Fatty acids from Fish oil or Krill Oil (new preferred type) Why? Krill Oil has phospholipids which aid in transport of EPA/DHA because they are water-soluble and more bioavailable.
These are great sources:
– Progenex Krill Oil – http://www.progenexusa.com/Shop.aspx?afid=NEA10
– SFH Fish oil – http://www.sfh.com/products/omega_3-oil
Some notes of caution when taking these: (Talk to your physician before taking high dosages of Fish oil – 7 or more grams a day) – Taking high dosages can thin your blood and cause you to bruise and even worse “bleed out” if you were fatally wounded (God forbid). Be sure to refrigerate your fish oils and krill oil to ensure they don’t spoil.
Here is a list of Fish Oil/Krill oil Benefits for your enjoyment:
Fish oil helps:
- Promote healthy heart beat
- Moderate growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque
- Naturally balance triglycerides, an important heart health marker
This is why the American Heart Association recommends that you take 1000 mg of Omega-3 everyday.
Omega-3 is a powerful anti-inflammatory for your joints.
- Reduces joint discomfort
- Reduces morning stiffness
- Helps reduces the amount of painkillers needed
- Reduces enzymes that destroy cartilage
- Increases grip strength
- Enhances walking pace
More than half the fats in the brain is Omega-3 DHA. And the lining of the nerve cells in the brain is lined with Omega-3. So, brain performance & function (cognition) is strongly influenced by the amount of Omega-3 in your diet.
Increased levels of Omega-3 helps:
- Enhance memory
- Support thinking speed
- Increase overall cognition
- Manage age-related brain decline
EPA Omega-3 is crucial in maintaining mood health. In several studies, EPA has been found to be as effective as prescription anti-depressants.
Several studies have shown that persons with depression have low Omega-3 levels and high Omega-6 levels.
The other fats you want to avoid are the trans fats. Trans fats are formed when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil during food processing in order to make it solidify. This process, known as hydrogenation, makes fats less likely to spoil, so foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and also have a less greasy feel. The end result of the hydrogenation process is a completely unnatural fat that causes dysfunction and chaos in your body on a cellular level……your body doesn’t know what to do with it.
Here is an interesting piece from the Agriculture and Commerce sites.
Interestingly, our health issues from these to time periods are dramatically different! Chronic diseases that we deal with now were mostly non-existant during the late 19th century.
FOR THOSE OF YOU AT THE 1st NUTRITION CLINIC AT NO EXCUSES CROSSFIT: 1) We challenged everyone to get veggies in EVERY meal of the day. Increase you veggie intake.
Something I do to help ENSURE I get the needed amount of micronutrients and phytonutrients in my diet everyday, I take Juice Plus. Click HERE for more info on this product.
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