low-fat, healthy heart, low fat mexican food recipes

Low Fat Diet =
Heart Healthy Diet


Following a low fat diet is an excellent way to prevent heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

However ... simply eliminating or reducing all fat will not provide heart healthy benefits.

You need to reduce the amount of "bad" fat, but your body also needs "good" fat to stay healthy.


 

Start your low fat, heart healthy lifestyle today.  Your arteries will thank you!

Contents

Related Low-Fat Low Carb Articles


Good Fat, Bad Fat

There is a great deal of conflicting information these days on whether a low fat diet or a low carb diet is healthier in general, and even more opinions on which diet will help you lose weight and keep it off.  Depending on which diet guru you listen to, we should either:
  • Eliminate all fats from our diet and eat lots of carbohydrates, or
  • Eat lots of fat and eliminate carbohydrates from our diet.

Setting aside the question of whether excess body fat is caused by dietary fat or unburned carbohydrates, excess consumption of fatty foods has other dangerous health consequences such as arteriosclerosis, heart disease, and adult Type II diabetes.

Confused? You don't need to be - you just need to understand a few fat facts.

Bad Fat
  • Saturated fat ... this one is a no-brainer.  Heart surgeons and dieticians agree that reducing saturated fat has immense health benefits. This type of fat - found primarily in meat, milk, and dairy products, remains solid at room temperature. 

 Coconut and palm oils are also high in saturated fats.  Health issues include raised cholesterol levels in the blood and clogging of the arteries (arteriosclerosis).

  • Trans fat ... Also known as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fats are abundant in many margarines and shortenings.  Like their cousins saturated fats, trans fats remain solid at room temperature and cause similar health problems.

 Although these fats do occur naturally in some foods, trans fats are primarily found in processed foods.

Good Fat
  • Monounsaturated fat ... These oils are liquid at room temperature but will become thicker when refrigerated. Olive and canola oils are the most commonly used monounsaturated fats.
     
  • Polyunsaturated fat ... These remain liquid at most temperatures.  Most other vegetable oils, nuts, and high-fat fish are good sources of polyunsaturated fats. The most beneficial - documented to prevent heart disease - are Omega 3 essential fatty acids.
     
  • Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) ... are very important for normal brain development, nervous system function, and eyesight.  Our bodies can't create or store these omega 3 fatty acids so we have to get them from foods we eat.
  • Cold-water fish - salmon, tuna, and herring - are the best sources of omega 3, but most fish contain this essential fatty acid.

    Learn more health benefits of fish on the heart healthy fish recipes page.

Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats reduce cholesterol when substituted for saturated fats in your diet.


My Body Actually Needs Fat?

Your body needs some dietary fat so that it can function properly.  Fats supply energy and are essential for transporting the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K from the digestive tract to the circulatory system. 

Our brains are lined with fatty tissues, nerve cells have high essential fatty acid content, and we need fat to produce hormones.

The fat layer underneath the skin provides insulation against extreme hot and cold temperatures and protects vital organs from damage, just like that bubble wrap you use for mailing fragile items. 


How Much Fat Is Healthy?

That's the $64,000 question.  Doctors, nutritionists, and scientists have conducted hundreds of studies trying to answer this very question - with dozens of varying results and recommendations.

Although there is no definitive best answer, some generally accepted guidelines have emerged. Choose foods that are low in saturated fats and low in cholesterol, eat  in moderation, and don't forget to get some exercise so you can burn off calories.

Excessive consumption of foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol has been demonstrated to significantly increase dangers of heart disease, obesity, and obesity-related diseases (e.g. diabetes). 

Many doctors and public health agencies recommend that you limit your total fat to 30 percent of daily calories and saturated fat to 10 percent.  Recent studies and research also suggest that low carbohydrate, high protein diets also reduce the risk of heart disease.


Low-fat & Heart-Healthy Recipes

  • South American Low Fat Recipes
  • - Low fat doesn't have to be low taste!   A complete low-fat meal with appetizer, main course, & dessert.  Traditional recipes from Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Panama, El Salvador, & Columbia.
     
  • Mediterranean Diet - This diet from the Greek island of Crete was developed by Australian researchers who found that native islanders had the lowest rate of heart disease in a study of seven Mediterranean countries.
     
  • Low Fat Dessert Recipes
 

Reference

  • Blood levels of long-chain omega 3 fatty acids and the risk of sudden death.  C. Albert, H. Campos, M. Stampfer,  et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 2002, Vol. 346, pp. 1113--1118

  •  
  • Fish and omega 3 fatty acid intake and risk of coronary heart disease in women. F. Hu, L. Bronner, W. Willett, et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002, Vol. 287, pp. 1815--1821
     
  • A prospective study of dietary glycemic load, carbohydrates and risk of coronary heart disease in US women.  S. Liu, W. Willett, M. Stampfer et al., Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal, Vol. 12, A 260
     
  • My Fat, Your Fat, and Trans Fat.  L. Binkley, Kudzu Monthly, August 2003.
     
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
     

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