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A Big Fat Lie: The Skinny on Fat

A Big Fat Lie: The Skinny on Fat | Bewegen en gezondheid |

The craze for low-fat diets has swept far and wide. This phenomenon has got to be right up there on the scoreboard for one of the worst fads out there.

Dietary fats supply some of the best, and most stable sources of energy. So if you want to keep that appetite at bay and those energy levels up, you need to make sure you are getting enough fat, and the enough of the healthiest types.


The body needs fat just to function properly, as minimum amounts of fat are required for proper hormone production. If hormone production is off, your ability to preserve muscle and lose fat will be too. Hormones regulate many things in the body, including your ability to build and maintain muscle tissue, which impacts on the speed of your metabolism.  Also, as we all know, hormones are responsible for our moods, and a low-fat diet does a grumpy cow make…


Now we’ve established that you need fat in your diet, what types of fat are there, and how should you be incorporating them in your diet? The healthiest sources of fat are natural sources that comprise of mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These should make up the majority of your dietary fat intake. You may have heard them described as ‘good fats’ or ‘healthy fats’. I abstain from categorising any food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, because whilst some options are less nutritious than others, they’re not going to do you any harm, as part of an overall healthy diet.

Some common ‘healthy fat’ sources are: oily fish (salmon, herring, mackerel), flaxseed, avocado, whole eggs, nuts, natural nut butters (no additives), seeds, dark chocolate (over 70% cocoa content), olive oil and coconut oil.


Saturated fat has a particularly bad reputation within the diet industry; however, moderate amounts are actually required for optimal hormone function. That said, this type of fat (such as animal and dairy fat) should represent a smaller portion of your fat intake. Again, that’s not to say it’s ‘bad’, simply that it should be consumed in moderation. The official guidelines recommend that saturated fat should not comprise less than 10% of your total daily calorie intake, though this depends on the overall fat content of the diet that works best for you.

The only fats that are categorically unhealthy, and should be minimised in your diet, are hydrogenated and refined oils. Many processed and fast foods contain these, so always check the label. Watch out for the term ‘trans fats’ in the nutritional information, and also check the ingredients list for ‘hydrogenised’ or ‘partially hydrogenised’ oil. Again, small quantities as part of what’s largely a healthy diet aren’t going to do you any harm, but it is something to be aware of.

Now we’ve got the fat facts straight, I leave you with one final pointer: Whilst fat is an essential part of your diet, bear in mind that it is calorie dense, and should be consumed in a manner that allows you to remain within your calorie target. Eating your egg yolks is good. Downing a bottle of olive oil is excessive. It’s all a case of finding that balance. But once you’re au fait with how to include dietary fat, and embrace it’s delicious, goody goodness, you’ll look and feel one Hell of a lot better.

Vera van Randwijck's curator insight, August 16, 2013 8:38 AM

Amerikaans artikel over vetten. Ze zijn onterecht in het donkere hoekje van 'slecht eten' terecht gekomen en moeten gerehabiliteerd worden...

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13 Foods that Fight Pain

13 Foods that Fight Pain | Bewegen en gezondheid |

While many foods taste great, they are also powerful healers in a vibrant multicolor disguise. The best healing remedies also taste fabulous (I can’t say that about any prescription medications). Plus, foods won’t cause the nasty common side effects that most drugs cause.


1. Cherries Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, professor of natural products and chemistry at Michigan State University, found that tart cherry extract is ten times more effective than aspirin at relieving inflammation. Only two tablespoons of the concentrated juice need to be taken daily for effective results. Sweet cherries have also been found to be effective.


2. Blackberries

3. Raspberries

4. Blueberries and

5. Strawberries

Dr. Nair later found the same anti-pain compound in berries like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries


6. Celery and Celery Seeds James Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy, found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and celery seeds, including a substance called apigenin, which is powerful in its anti-inflammatory action. Add celery seeds to soups, stews or as a salt substitute in many recipes.


7. Ginger Ginger reduces pain-causing prostaglandin levels in the body and has been widely used in India to treat pain and inflammation. A study by Indian researchers found that when people who were suffering from muscular pain were given ginger, they all experienced improvement. The recommended dosage of ginger is between 500 and 1,000 milligrams per day. If you’re taking medications, check with your health practitioner for possible herb-drug interactions.


8. Turmeric Turmeric (curcuma longa) is the yellow spice commonly used in Indian curries. In research it has been shown to be a more effective anti-inflammatory than steroid medications when dealing with acute inflammation. Its main therapeutic ingredient is curcumin. Research shows that curcumin suppresses pain through a similar mechanism as drugs like COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors (without the harmful side effects). Choose a standardized extract with 1500 mg of curcumin content per day.


9. Salmon

10. Mackerel and

11. Herring

Many fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring also contain these valuable oils. Omega-3s convert in the body into hormone-like substances that decrease inflammation and pain. According to Dr. Alfred D. Steinberg, an arthritis expert at the National Institute of Health, fish oil is an anti-inflammatory agent. Fish oil acts directly on the immune system by suppressing 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines, compounds known to destroy joints. Many other studies also demonstrate that eating moderate amounts of fish or taking fish oil reduces pain and inflammation, particularly for arthritis sufferers.


12. Flax Seeds and Flax Oil Freshly-ground flax seeds and cold-pressed flax oil, contain plentiful amounts of fatty acids known as Omega-3s. Do not cook with flax oil otherwise it will have the opposite effect-irritating the body’s tissues and causing pain.


13. Raw Walnuts and Walnut Oil Raw walnuts and walnut oil also contain the same powerful Omega-3 fatty acids that fight pain and inflammation in the body.

When it comes to pain, food really is the best medicine.

Via Lichtpuntje, Vera van Randwijck
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