• Dr. Julie McLaughlin

How "good" fats can Help your Heart!


We have long been told that diet is all about choosing low-fat options rather than high-fat ones. Therefore, you may be seriously confused about all this talk of healthy fats. That was the 90's this is 2017 and through many mistakes we know sooooo much more!

Perhaps the most famous healthy fat is the avocado, which is great for guacamole lovers everywhere. Olive Oil is also a hugely healthy fat, which makes sense since the Mediterranean Diet is considered one of the healthiest lifestyles in the world.

The healthy fats don’t stop there. . . .

there are plenty of healthy fat options that serve your heart, blood sugar, pain and inflammation well and can easily be worked into a healthy diet.

Before we dive into the best healthy fat foods,let's take a look at what a "healthy" or "good" fat really means. Generally speaking, it’s a phrase attributed to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They’re healthy because they contribute to a healthy heart by reducing bad cholesterol and promoting good cholesterol. They extinguish the flame of inflammation that contributes to chronic disease, pain and Type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Reducing the risks of these terrible condition is HUGE and puts you on the road to better health. Monounsaturated fats are anti-inflammatory which largely reduces the risk of heart disease. The Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids fall under the branch of polyunsaturated fats and these are essential for cell growth and brain function.

Walnuts

Walnuts are an incredible source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, perhaps more specifically they omega 3 alpha linoleic acid (ALA), which is found some plants. A study on walnuts discovered that enjoying just a small handful every day was enough to lower bad cholesterol while improving the function of blood vessels Check out the study - (Njike, et al, http://drc.bmj.com/content/3/1/e000115.full). Furthermore, there has long been research (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15945135) with regards to the effect nuts have on reducing blood clots that lead to heart attacks.

Salmon

Wild caught fatty, oily fishes are another excellent source of Omega 3's and the likes of

salmon (as well as trout, sardines, and mackerel) are known to improve heart health. These fish are one of the most efficient ways to get essential fats. According to the American Heart Association, you should be enjoying two servings of fish every week (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp#.WC_nN5MrKRs).

Flaxseed

Flaxseed is incredibly high in "good" fat, and it’s the unsaturated fat. The best part, though, is you don’t need to eat much of it to enjoy the benefits. Just a tablespoon or two is sufficient to provide you with healthy, inflammation fighting Omega 3 Fatty Acids, it’s also a great option for anyone who doesn’t love fish, or is a vegetarian/vegan.

Not to mention it’s high in lignins, which are antioxidants that can prevent cancer. Of course, flaxseed is also high in fiber so while it promotes heart health it will also reduce cholesterol and leave you feeling fuller for longer. It’s easy to enjoy, too, just add it to a smoothie, or a handful of grainless granola will go a long way.

Eggs

Eggs are awesome! They’re an excellent protein source and they’re inexpensive. In fact eggs are the most "perfect" protein there is! You’ll also find that eggs of chock full of choline, which belongs to the Vitamin B Complex family and boosts brain health, as well as helps in regulating the cardiovascular system.

Avocado

Of course, we can’t forget this majestic fruit, which is essentially the A-List Celebrity of Healthy Heart Fats. These green fruits are excellent at increasing the good cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. They’re also high in potassium and packed with antioxidant cancer fighters. You can enjoy one with a spoon, or make your own guacamole!

Now that you know all the health benefits of the "good" fats, I bet you are wondering "how do I know if I am getting enough or even too much? That is a very good question!

The best way to find out if you have adequate levels of Omega 3 and Omega 6 is through a simple blood test. In fact this blood test will not only look at the total amount of Omega 3 and 6 it will also look at your saturated fats, Monounsaturated fats, Polyunsaturated fats. This test will actually give you the breakdown of how much EPA and DHA you have that together makes up the Omega 3s. This helps your doctor direct you to the best form, ratio and dose of fish oil you need to take if you are deficient.

If you are interested in preventing chronic disease, getting rid of pain and inflammation, lowering your cholesterol or reversing diabetes check contact one of our doctors who "Begin with Wellness" to find out how to start!


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