By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH
The good guys are unsaturated fats: monounsaturateds (MUFAs), found in foods like olive oil and avocados, and polyunsaturateds (PUFAs), found in sunflower and corn oils, among others, and in the omega-3s in salmon and walnuts. Both types the “good ” title because they’ve been shown to lower blood cholesterol and the risk for heart disease.
The villain, we’ve long been told, is saturated fat. The conventional wisdom, which dates to the 1950s, is that saturated fat, which is present in meat, dairy, and some plant products, increases our total cholesterol and chance for heart disease and stroke. Trans fat, the staple fat that dominates packaged goods and fast food, is another very bad guy: It not only gooses up our LDL cholesterol but also lowers our HDL cholesterol (the kind that helps sweep bad cholesterol out of the body). The American Heart Association recommends limiting your intake of saturated fat to less than 7 percent of your total calories (if you eat 2,000 calories a day, that’s 16 grams, roughly the amount in a chocolate milk shake) and of trans fats to no more than two grams a day. Safest idea is to have NO trans fats per day.
What you can do immediately is swap animal fats for vegetable oils — for instance, using soybean oil or olive oil instead of butter because studies have shown these lower LDL cholesterol levels and disease risk. “Be careful not to replace saturated fats with refined carbs or your triglycerides can go up and your good HDL cholesterol can go down,” explains Alice H. Lichtenstein, the director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University. High triglycerides and low HDL are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and criteria of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health problems linked to heart disease and diabetes.
Across the world, the excessive consumption of sodium–hiding in breads, soups and snack foods and beckoning from salt shakers everywhere–is the cause of some 1.65 million deaths by heart disease and strokes yearly, including roughly 667,000 “premature” deaths–those before the age of 70–says a comprehensive new study .
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state: ” We all need a small amount (e.g., between about 180 mg and 500 mg per day) of sodium to keep our bodies working properly. But the average daily sodium intake for Americans age 2 years and older is 3,436 mg.”
High sodium consumption raises blood pressure and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the nation’s first and third leading causes of death, respectively.
Research shows when salt intake is reduced, blood pressure begins decreasing for most people within a few days to weeks. Populations who consume diets low in salt do not experience the increase in blood pressure with age that is seen in most Western countries.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..
– Kac Young has earned three doctorate degrees: a Ph.D in Natural Health, a Doctorate in Naturopathy and a Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy. She is a spiritual counselor, a teacher, and a licensed Religious Science minister. Her books: “21 Days to the Love of Your Life”; “Discover Your Spiritual Genius”; “Dancing With the Moon,” “Feng Shui the Easy Way,” “Gold Mind,” “Heart Easy,” “The Path to Fabulous,” “Cheese Dome Power,” “The Quick Guide to Bach Flower Remedies,” and “Supreme Healing,” are designed to give the reader tools for self improvement.