Tag Archives: omega 3 fatty acids

7 Fatty Foods That Are Good For You

Fatty foods that are good for youAre you having eaters’ remorse after indulging in a tasty Easter meal this past weekend? You may be worried that you consumed too many fatty foods. But you may have actually eaten good fats.

In addition, eating more fat – instead of less – can be key to helping you reduce your calorie intake. You won’t feel deprived like you do when you eat all low-fat foods or turn to carbohydrates to feel full.

We recently blogged that fatty foods may not be as bad for us as we once thought. It’s about more than just the amount of fat you eat. It’s the types of fat you eat that really matter.

Trans fats are still to blame for many of the unhealthy things that all fats get blamed for – heart disease, weight gain, clogged arteries and more. Trans fats are also called hydrogenated oils and are made from unsaturated fat that has been chemically altered to keep food fresh longer. Your body has no use for these fats.

On the other hand, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can be good for you. They can help raise good HDL cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol, and protect against the build up of plaque in your arteries.

You should still keep an eye on how much fat you eat. The USDA recommends that you keep your total fat intake to 20-35% of daily calories. You should limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your calories. Limit trans fats to only 1% of your calorie intake.

Here are 7 foods that are packed with healthy fats:

Olive oil
Olive oil is often used in a Mediterranean diet. It is a healthier choice over vegetable or palm oil. It may help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancers. Olive oil has 100 calories per tablespoon, so you should still use it in moderation.

Eggs
Eggs are a great source of protein. We have been told that egg whites are the healthier part of the egg because they have less fat. While the egg yolk has some fat, it also has important nutrients. The yolk contains choline, a B vitamin that helps regulate the brain, nervous system and cardiovascular system.

Dairy
Cheese is packed with protein and fats that help keep you full. It’s great for a snack and for eating on the go. Milk and yogurt that are fortified with omega-3 fatty acids are a source of good fat. While sour cream has a bad reputation as a fatty food, at least half of its calories come from saturated fat. In fact, it has half the calories of a tablespoon of mayonnaise.

Seeds and nuts
Pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds are good for you. Flaxseeds are also a good source of omega-3s. Nuts are a great monounsaturated fat. Grab a handful of almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans or cashews.

Fish
Fatty fish, including salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines, are a good source of healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends eating two 3-ounces servings of fish each week.

Avocados
Avocados are high in fat, but it’s the monounsaturated, hearty-healthy kind that is good for your cholesterol. In addition, when you eat avocados with other food, they can help your body better absorb nutrients. Add avocado slices to a sandwich or substitute avocados for butter or cream cheese.

 Soy foods
You may be surprised how many foods you can buy that are made from soybeans. You can try tofu, miso, tempeh, soy milk and edamame. Soy products have many health benefits including the plant-based fatty acid ALA. You can even snack on roasted soybeans.

The key to healthy eating is creating a balanced diet with a variety of good food choices. It also helps to create healthy eating habits.

Advertisements

11 unexpected causes of depression

Surprising causese of depressionAbout six months ago, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. It’s a condition that is characterized by abnormally low thyroid hormone production.

I had decided to go to the doctor because I had no motivation to do anything and was extremely fatigued. Some days, I was taking two or three naps a day. I didn’t even want to do the things I enjoy doing. In addition, I had a weird bald spot in my hair, lack of appetite and severe mood swings.

I really thought my doctor was going to tell me I was depressed. It seemed like I had many of the typical symptoms. I have since discovered that there are several things that trigger depression, or even mimic depression.

Depression can be brought on by ongoing difficulties, such as a major trauma, grief or serious life-changing events. Often, a combination of events or personal factors will build up and lead to depression. A change in the chemicals in our brains is also believed to contribute to depression.

Here are 11 unexpected, and maybe even surprising, causes of depression:

Genetics
If you have an immediate family member who has suffered from depression, you have a three times higher chance of being depressed than someone who doesn’t have a family history.

Lack of sunshine
Seasonal affective disorder or SAD is more than just wishing for warm weather during the gloomy winter months. We need sunshine to help keep our body’s internal clock functioning like it should. Daily exposure to just 15 to 20 minutes of sunshine can be enough to reap the benefits.

Omega-3 deficiency
If you don’t eat enough omega-3 fatty acids, you can be at an increased risk for depression. To get your omegas, just eat fatty fish – like salmon, sardines and tuna – as well as canola oil or walnuts.

Poor sleeping habits
Chronic lack of sleep can desensitize your brain to the effects of serotonin, a chemical that helps control your mood and feelings of well-being. Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to help stave off depression.

Too much social networking
People who are addicted to the Internet are more likely to become depressed. They spend too much time in chat rooms or using social media sites like Facebook. These sites serve as a replacement for real-life socializing. Get out and talk to real people! Looking up health information online can also lead to an increased focus on health problems and contribute to depression.

Medications
Depression is a side effect of many medications. Be sure to check the side effects of any new medications you take. You should also check with your doctor when combining more than one medication to see if there are risks. Even oral contraceptives can contribute to depression in women. Talk to your doctor if you notice symptoms of depression when taking a new medicine.

Worrying too much
The habit of mentally dwelling on your problems can lead to depression. I am guilty of doing this. If I have an argument with someone or feel like I may have said something to hurt another person’s feelings, I will play that conversation over and over in my head until I have blown it out of proportion. I have to work at distracting myself to break the cycle and realize that I am usually creating stress out of nothing.

Poor relationships
You may have friends or co-workers who are a negative influence on you. Over time, the negative attitudes of others can wear off on you. Depression can even be contagious. Spending time with a depressed person can lead to similar depressive symptoms in you. Find a few upbeat friends who can outweigh the negative emotions that might be swirling around you.

Financial troubles
Tough economic times will bring anyone down. Going through a particularly rough financial patch, such as unemployment, a home foreclosure or bankruptcy, can be extremely stressful. It is not surprising that these trying financial events could lead to depression.

Being overweight
Adults who are overweight have an increased risk of being depressed. We are under so much pressure in our society to look a certain way, and thinness is considered the ideal. It’s more important to focus on creating healthy habits, including eating right and exercising regularly. No matter what your weight, you feel better about yourself if you know you are working at being more healthy.

Underactive thyroid
The link between an underactive thyroid and depression has been documented. Up to 50% of people with hypothyroidism will have some depression-like symptoms. It’s worth having your thyroid hormone levels checked if you are feeling depressed, along with other symptoms such as fatigue, dry skin, cold sensitivity or hair loss.

By taking thyroid medicine every day, my hormone levels have returned to the normal range. While it means taking a pill every morning, I happy to say that I feel like my old self again!

9 foods to help you concentrate

Wild blueberries help you focus and conentrateI just read an article that says cognitive decline – or our ability to reason and remember things – can start to affect our brains as early as age 45. As someone who is rapidly approaching my mid-40s, I have to say this concerns me.

I have been on a journey this past year to live a healthier lifestyle and find more balance in my life. There are always challenges to maintaining a healthy balance. I get stressed out by the demands of work and family. I fall back into unhealthy eating habits or neglect my exercise routine. I sacrifice sleep to get more done.

The last thing I need is to have a sluggish brain and poor concentration while I’m trying to achieve more and live a balanced life. After doing some research, I found that there are several foods that can help me focus and improve my ability to concentrate.

Add these 9 super foods to your diet to help maintain a healthy brain:

Coffee
Caffeine has been shown to slow the aging process and improve short-term memory. While coffee isn’t necessarily going to make you smarter, it can boost your performance and make you more alert. As a huge fan of the benefits of drinking coffee, I am happy to learn that it can also help me concentrate.

Chocolate
Dark chocolate also provides a caffeine boost and contains powerful antioxidants that can help enhance your focus. Plus, chocolate just makes you feel good.

Berries
Berries have been shown to protect the brain from free radicals and help reduce the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and make a good snack. You can also add them to your cereal or oatmeal for a healthy breakfast.

Whole grains
Whole grains, such as oatmeal, cereal, quinoa and barley, contribute to your daily intake of fiber. Whole grains also contain B-vitamins that are used to break down carbohydrates to give your brain energy.

Fish
Fish are a great protein source and give your brain a boost. They are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function and development. These healthy fats have amazing brain power. Salmon and other fatty fish like tuna and mackerel contain an important fat for brain health called DHA. Salmon is a good source of protein, which can also help you stay focused. To reap the benefits, add fish to your diet two or three times a week.

Leafy greens
Leafy greens, including spinach, kale and arugula, contain nutrient compounds that help the brain stay young. They also provide the antioxidant lutein, which can prevent cognitive decline. Try to eat two servings of leafy greens a day.

Nuts and flaxseeds
Nuts, especially walnuts, give your body magnesium, which helps your body function more efficiently and fights off fatigue. Flax is the best source for alpha-linolenic acid – a healthy fat that improves the workings of your brain.

Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba has been used for thousands of years for both concentration and memory. It is thought to boost blood flow and oxygen to the brain and improve function and memory. Ginkgo biloba can be added to your diet as a supplement.

Gum
While gum is not a food, it has been shown in studies to help people be more alert while performing tasks. So, if you want to improve your concentration, chew a piece of gum!

Eating a healthy, balanced diet helps you get the essential nutrients you need to focus. If you eat too much or too little, that can also interfere with your ability to concentrate. For the best brain benefits, eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber and protein.