Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Skinny Fats

Skinny Fats: Your New BFF
May 3rd, 2011

Stay trim with omega-rich oils.

Walnuts…macadamias…pistachios…pumpkin seeds…avocados. Wouldn’t you love to start eating these “forbidden foods” again, and get off the dieting merry-go-round once and for all? Well, you can—and actually lose weight while you’re doing it.

Focus on the amazing omega fats—that not only brim with flavor, but are bursting with health benefits. Besides revving up your metabolism to help you lose weight, omega fats have been shown in numerous studies to help lower the risk of heart attacks, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, breast cancer, and even menstrual irregularities from PMS to perimenopause and beyond.

The truth is, the trimmest and healthiest people throughout the world enjoy cuisines that are far from fat-free. Take a look at the Greeks, Turks, Italians, French, or Spanish, for instance. Their Mediterranean diet—rich in omega oils—is actually considered to be the world’s healthiest cuisine. And yet it is full of olive oil, seeds, nuts, and fatty fish (such as sardines), as well as fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables. Even though they consume a diet that contains 40 percent fat, these populations are slim and boast the lowest rates of heart disease in the world.

Clearly, it’s not the amount of fat, but the type of fat that counts. As a matter of fat, about 6 grams of omega-3’s (a little over 1 tablespoon of liquid fish oil), can even target that hard-to-lose tummy fat which has the most adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels.

Another type of fat that I’m a fan of is coconut oil. Though not an omega fat, it does contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are much easier to metabolize than other saturated fats. Though coconut is full of saturated fat, it doesn’t really harm your heart health. That’s because much of its saturated fat consists of lauric acid, which is both antiviral and antimicrobial. Research shows it’s one of the fats that boost your good HDL cholesterol—the type that helps keep arteries clear of blockages.

We humans love the taste of coconuts, but food-borne pathogens don’t. Researchers have found that the lauric acids in coconut oil can wipe out a variety of problematic bacteria—including staph and strep—without ever encountering any resistance.

In the digestive track, lauric acid is converted into what is called mono-laurin, a substance that can kill viruses, pathogenic bacteria, and protozoan parasites. Coconut oil has been shown to kill Candida albicans, chlamydia, and H. phylori. As if this weren’t enough, lab experiments have also shown that coconut oil can increase enzyme activity—which gives you more energy. By activating these enzymes that burn fat, it may even help you lose weight!

Coconut oil is made not just from the milk inside the coconut, but results from pressing oils from the meat of the fruit. When buying coconut oil, read the label to make sure it is virgin and not hydrogenated, since hydrogenation adds toxic trans fats.

Pumpkinny Plum Dressing
How about going omega tonight? Try this smoky recipe for plum dressing. It’s great on raw or cooked veggies and is a terrific dip for your gluten-free crackers.

-Makes 1 Cup

1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup filtered water
2 umeboshi plums
2 tablespoons flax oil

Wash and dry pumpkin seeds, then dry roast them in a skillet over medium heat until they puff up and pop. Place roasted seeds in a blender and grind to meal-like consistency. Add water to the blender and continue mixing. Add plums and oil, blending until desired taste is reached.

-Edge on Health, Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman