Tag Archives: omega 6

Flax and its Powerful Effects

Jul 8 2010

Flaxseed oil is a common essential fat that you see in several healthy balanced nutritional programs. Flaxseed has many healthful benefits including: reducing inflammation, lowering blood cholesterol, minimizing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, preventing the clotting of blood platelets, fighting depression, reducing muscle and joint pain, protecting your eyes from age-related diseases, improving complexity of skin, hair and nails, increasing digestion and many more….

The flax plant has been around for quite some time (over 4000 years), originating in Mesopotamia. Flaxseed has several uses but the the most valuable are its nutritional value, containing high amounts of fiber and lignans, essential fatty acids and amino acids, and tons of vitamins and minerals.

Three quarters of the lipids found in the flaxseed are healthy polyunsaturated fats. The flaxseed’s most unique feature is the high ratio of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, an omega-3 lipid) to linoleic acid (an omega-6 lipid). Both these lipids are referred to as Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) as humans can only obtain them by ingesting them. Because the typical Western diet is high in omega-6 fatty acids, it is recommended to replace some omega-6 fatty acids with omega-3 fatty acids to improve the dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. As a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, this makes Flaxseed an excellent replacement. The only way we can get enough of Omega-3 is by eating plenty of fish, flaxseeds and now we have learned more about the amazing Chia Seed.

Eating too little fat has never been a problem for most people. But eating too little of the essential Omega-3 fat has certainly contributed to many health problems. Several people eat a lot of Omega-6 fats, primarily from various vegetable oils, such as corn, sesame, safflower, cottonseed, and sunflower. Omega-3s from seafood and flaxseed are eaten in small amounts and without consistency. This imbalance makes the body vulnerable to different irritants causing inflammation and slowing blood flow in the body. On the other hand, eating slightly more Omega-3 fats helps to reduce and prevent inflammation and improve circulation.

Omega-3 fats are used in production of anti-inflammatory hormone-like molecules, while other fats produce pro-inflammatory hormone like molecules. Like aspirin, omega-3s have power to help reduce blood clotting, lessen the risk of heart disease, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and migraine headaches. The Omega-3 fatty acids also have the ability to construct healthy cell walls, transport oxygen to all the cells in the body, and serve as the number one energy source for the heart muscle.

Eating flaxseed on a regular basis have shown to lower cholesterol. After just four weeks of daily supplementation with 50 grams of flaxseed, it has been shown in a recent study, that a woman’s LDL cholesterol has dropped 18 percent while total cholesterol levels were reduced by nine percent!! Similar studies have shown the cholesterol-lowering power of flax by eight percent in less than 4 weeks! These significant changes are huge in lowering the risks of heart disease.

Complexion and color of your skin reveals the health of your body and requires consistent proper care. Dry and oily skin, acne, rash, blackheads and whiteheads and easy scaring all reveal under-nutrition of some and over-nutrition of other elements. Several nutrients, all found in flaxseed, have shown to protect and repair your skin. Carotene, Vitamins A, E and C, selenium, zinc, and sulphur which decrease the skin damage from free radicals of UV sun rays, help repair tissue and promote the growth of new skin cells. Additionally, flaxseed’s oil rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) will moisturize the skin from within creating a smooth velvety complexion. With aging and sun exposure, the skin becomes dry and prone to wrinkles. While creams and lotions may help preserve the superficial skin layer, nutritious diet with plenty of EFAs will stimulate the production of natural moisture protective coating, making the skin more resistant to the environmental damage and help construct new healthy-looking skin. EFA’s will improve the skin’s integrity from the inside out!

Loaded with essential Omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed can reduce the risk an eye disease that destroys vision by damaging nerve cells in the eye, called macular degeneration. While people with a high intake of other fats (Omega 6’s) from various vegetable oils were more likely to develop macular degeneration, those who eat more Omega-3 were less likely to have the disease. Flaxseed is also good for combating dry eyes due to an insufficient oil layer. Fatty acids help the oil glands in lubricating and coating of the surface of the eyes thus keeping them moist.

KEEP IN MIND
—Keep the oil in the dark bottle in the refrigerator as it spoils quickly when exposed to light!
—Better to add your flax oil and seed to dishes after cooking, as they spoil quickly when exposed to heat.

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Some info on fish…maybe we should rethink tilapia!

Mar 30 2010
  1. Large predatory fish. Shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and white (albacore) tuna may have high levels of mercury. Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of contaminants, and should avoid these species. (Small-catch tuna is OK, as it has high levels of omega-3s with less risk of contaminants.)
  2. Omega-6 rich fish. Farm-raised tilapia is one of the most highly consumed fish in America, yet it has very low levels of beneficial omega-3s and very high levels of potentially detrimental omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, and inflammation is known to cause damage to blood vessels, the heart, lung and joint tissues, skin, and the digestive tract.
  3. Farmed salmon. Avoid farmed salmon (also called Atlantic salmon), which is what you typically find in supermarkets, restaurants and fish markets. While less expensive than wild salmon, farmed salmon has a less favorable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats and may contain residues of antibiotics and other drugs used to treat diseases in fish farming pens. What’s more, levels of PCBs and other contaminants in some farmed salmon have been found to be much higher than those found in wild salmon.

Maybe we need to reconsider our most common fish, Tilapia….  Please do keep this in mind and opt to switch out different types of fish you eat! Once again, change is key!

-g

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The skinny on Fats

Jan 23 2010

The Skinny on the Different Fats:
-Saturated Fats
These fats have all of their carbon atoms filled (saturated) with hydrogen. Saturated fat is primarily found in high-fat cuts of meat, poultry with the skin, whole and 2 percent dairy products, butter, cheese, and tropical oils: coconut, palm, and palm kernel. Our body needs a small amount (about 20 grams) of saturated fat each day, but the typical American diet usually exceeds that amount. Too much saturated fat may cause a person’s bad cholesterol (LDL) to rise and may also increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer. You can look for the amount of saturated fats in a serving of food on the nutrition label, under the heading “Saturated Fat” below the larger heading of “Total Fat.”

-Monounsaturated Fats
These fats have one space missing a hydrogen atom, instead containing a double bond between two adjacent carbon atoms. Monounsaturated fat is found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and in most nuts and nut butters. This type of fat does not cause cholesterol to increase. When a person substitutes monounsaturated fat for saturated fat, it helps to lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and protects the good cholesterol (HDL) from going down. The amount of monosaturated fats (and polyunsaturated fats, see below) is only sometimes listed separately on the food label, but if not, you can calculate it by subtracting the saturated and trans fats from the total fat.

-Polyunsaturated Fats
These fats have more than one hydrogen atom missing in the carbon chain and therefore contain more than one double bond. The two major categories of polyunsaturated fats are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 means there is a double bond in the third space from the end of the carbon chain. These fats are extremely healthful in that they protect against sudden death from heart attack. They can also help people lower their triglycerides. Omega-3s are used by the body to produce hormone-like substances with anti-inflammatory effects. The best sources of Omega-3s are fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and rainbow trout, among others. Canola oil, walnuts, and flaxseed also contain some Omega-3s.

Omega-6 fats have a double bond in the sixth space from the end of the carbon chain. These fats are found in oils such as corn, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, and safflower. Omega-6 fatty acids are used in hormone-like substances that promote inflammation. Replacing saturated fats with Omega-6 fats may reduce levels of total, bad, and good cholesterol. Many health experts suggest that the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids should be 4:1 for optimal health.

The other type of fat that is found in food, but isn’t natural, is:

–Hydrogenated Fats (also known as Trans Fats)–BAD FATS!
These are manufactured by adding hydrogen to a polyunsaturated fat, making it solid at room temperature. However, instead of having the qualities of a polyunsaturated fat, it takes on some of the traits of a saturated fat. In the past, trans fats were widely used in foods as a replacement for saturated fats. Then it was discovered that trans fat was even worse than saturated fat in terms of its effects on health. In addition to raising LDL cholesterol, as saturated fat does, it also decreases the level of HDL cholesterol.

the amount of trans fats in a food must now be shown on the nutrition label. Be aware that products containing half a gram or less of trans fat per serving are allowed to report zero grams of trans fat on the nutrition label. The best way to check for trans fat is to read the ingredients label; if you see the words “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” in front the word oil, the food probably has a small amount of trans fat. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat the food, but you should limit the amount you eat — a little can add up to a lot. Some foods contain small amounts of naturally-occurring trans fats, but these fats, unlike man-made trans fats, probably do not increase the risk of heart disease and other conditions. Moreover, some manufacturers are now replacing trans fat with saturated fats, so be sure to check the nutrition label to keep your total intake of unhealthy fats in check.

Bear in mind, though, that the calories from fat can add up fast since they are more concentrated in fat than in protein or carbohydrate. Also, as mentioned above, consuming too much saturated and trans fat may result in negative health consequences in some people. The secret is not to AVOID FATS BUT TO EAT THE RIGHT KIND!

Fat — both on our bodies and in our diet — gets an undeserved bad rap and is actually essential for our survival. Body fat is found in places you may not even think about when you’re considering its role in our health. It’s part of:

* every cell membrane
* some hormones and prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) which regulate many body functions
* nerve sheaths (nerve coverings)

Body fat is categorized as either essential or storage fat; both types play a vital role in our functioning. Essential fat is found in bone marrow and lipid rich tissues throughout the body. Storage fat is located around internal organs and under the skin (subcutaneous). These two types of body fat play important roles in keeping our bodies healthy. For example:

* A layer of fat surrounds each organ (such as your heart, liver, kidneys, etc.), protecting and cushioning it against impact during sports or accidents,
* Fat helps maintain normal body temperature.
* Fat provides us with a supply of stored energy, which can sustain us if food is not available.

Dietary fat is the fat found in a variety of foods and is a concentrated source of energy for the body. It is dangerous to eliminate all fat from your diet. Certain fats, essential fatty acids, can only be obtained from foods. These are incorporated into regulators of specific body processes such as blood pressure and even help us maintain healthy skin. Dietary fats are also required to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. These nutrients are vital to our vision, bone formation and maintenance, blood protection and clotting, nerve development, and can act as a defense against oxidation.

Tips on choosing the right fats:
Follow these tips to choose the right fats:

* Strictly limit full-fat dairy, deep-fried foods, fatty red meats and poultry skin.
* Limit processed foods, and check labels for trans and hydrogenated fats.
* Use olive or canola oil for cooking.
* Snack on small amounts of nuts or seeds, or add to low-fat yogurt or whole-grain cereal.
* Spread avocado or natural peanut, almond or cashew butter on toast instead of margarine or butter.
* Add a handful of olives, walnuts or diced avocado to your salad and use a drizzle of olive oil instead of a fatty ranch dressing.
* Choose fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna or mackerel at least twice a week.
* Consider an omega-3 supplement (essential)!!!!

Two primary essential fatty acids an Omega-6 fatty acid and Omega-3 fatty acid. These two fatty acids cannot be made in the body so we HAVE to get them from our diets. If you are not getting these fats in our diets, you are setting yourself up for fat storage, nutrient cravings, joint problems, depression, injuries and so many more negative issues. Be sure to get in your EFA’S everyday as they are KEY to your overall well being and to help you reach your fitness goals!

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