Friday, September 17, 2010

"Fats can Heal and Fats can Kill"

Many people are shocked to find out that eliminating fat from your diet altogether can be very bad for your health.  Advertising and media agendas often try to oversimplify the fat story by painting it as an "all or nothing" deal.  You might become convinced that all fats are bad and that low-fat and no-fat alternatives are better for you.  But what is well known in the nutritional and medical literature is how important the right balance of fats are in normal cell function and after all, our bodies are gigantic piles of cells!

The title of today's blog was taken loosely from a book title Fats that Kill, Fats that Heal by Udo Erasmus, Ph.D., ( one of the leading authorities on fat and nutrition.  A excellent title to have on the shelf especially for those in the health care field.  Another great resource that might lend itself more to the lay person is Know your Fats by Mary Enig, Ph.D. 

If you eat avacodos regularly, kudos to you!  If not, let me encourage you to give them a try.  They provide very nutritious fats, including mono-unsaturated fats and contain and many vitamins and minerals.  They are higher in protein and fiber than most fruits. They contain good amounts of manganese, phosphorous, iron, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, Beta-carotene, thiamin, and riboflavin.

Here is a great blurb on the healthy fats found in Avacados taken from WebMD:

High in the Good Fat

The avocado's image first took on some polish with a 1996 study by researchers at the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social in Mexico (Archives of Medical Research, Winter 1996) that looked at the health benefits of daily avocado consumption. The 45 volunteers who ate avocados every day for a week experienced an average 17% drop in total blood cholesterol. Their cholesterol ratio also changed in a healthy way: Their levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or "bad fat") and triglycerides, both associated with heart disease, went down. Their HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or "good fat") levels, which tend to lower the risk of heart disease, climbed.
Researchers have also discovered that avocados are rich in beta-sitosterol, a natural substance shown to significantly lower blood cholesterol levels. In a review article published in the December 1999 issue of the American Journal of Medicine, researchers pointed out that beta-sitosterol was shown to reduce cholesterol in 16 human studies.

Guacamole is a popular spread/dip that is made primarily of avacados, red onion and lemon or lime juice, simple to make, and tastes good on just about everything, especially on anything mexican!

I like to slice a ripe avacado and put it on toast or an English muffin, with a little sea salt.  It's has the smooth buttery texture that I crave sometimes and when mixed with salt is one of my favorite things to eat.

Look for avacados in the grocery store that aren't quite ripe yet.  This will ensure that they are bruised and you can allow them to ripen at home on a counter top or in the refrigerator where they won't get roughed up.

Let me know what you think about one of my favorite foods!

-Dr. Darin

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