Healthy Fats Tuesday

Happy Healthy Mardi Gras!

Tuesday March 4, 2014 marks a day of debauchery for some, but I’d like to use it as an opportunity to create a new meme of discussing Healthy Fats! Yes! Healthy Fats Tuesday!

I wish I could say that it’s common knowledge how important Omega 3 fatty acids and other healthy fats are in the diet, but my clinical work experience reminds me that it still seems a secret. Not only are there many research studies that show the heart health benefits of cold water fish and fish oil (EPA, DHA) in the diet, but it even lowers triglycerides and raises HDL (the “good” cholesterol).  Supplementing 1800mg EPA a day even helps lower high blood pressure and decrease belly fat. Now there’s an approach that should be a standard in health care!

Other healthy fats include Tocotrienols, a type of vitamin E, that lower serum cholesterol level.

Plant fats are beneficial too. Phytosterols are plant sterols that can inhibit absorption of cholesterol. These are part of the recommended “diet and lifestyle changes” that people with elevated cholesterol levels need to explore with their physicians.

Stephen and I delight in using healthy fats in our cooking. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which can be derived from coconut fats, are available bottled and ready to add to recipes. Not only do we add MCTs to our Kick-Start shake (see The Metabolic Makeover: It’s All About Energy! by Stephen Cherniske and Natalie Kather, MD, Chapter 7)

and pre-work out shakes, but also add it to soups and salads.

Stephen uses it to make Super Soup:

Steam beets, cauliflower, kale or chard, carrots. Then blend these with an organic raw apple. Add  1/8 cup MCTs and Yum! This creamy soup is nutrient-packed and a great way to start a meal. If you want it as a snack, then don’t forget to add 8- 10 gram protein intake with it (we don’t want unopposed carbs).

These MCTs are converted in the body to ketone bodies, which are instant energy!  The brain loves these ketone bodies. When the body makes ketones (known as ketosis) the brain functions better. Because of this, a ketosis-oriented diet in the diet-of-choice for people with seizure disorders.

Now, new research shows that MCTs and this diet approach is also beneficial in improving cognition for those with Alzheimer’s dementia.

Best Wishes in Health!

Natalie Kather, MD

 

References:

J Cardiol. 2007 Oct;50(4):243-51. Effects of eicosapentaenoic acid on visceral fat and heart rate variability: assessment by power spectral analysis. Matsumura K.

Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2010 Jul;3(4):406-12. doi: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.109.896159. Epub 2010 Jun 15. Blood eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids predict all-cause mortality in patients with stable coronary heart disease: the Heart and Soul study. Pottala JV1, Garg S, Cohen BE, Whooley MA, Harris WS.

Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 May;59(5 Suppl):1117S-1123S. Diet and coronary heart disease: beyond dietary fats and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol. Fraser GE

Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2014 Jan 9. [Epub ahead of print] Role of Medium Chain Triglycerides (Axona(R)) in the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease. Sharma A1, Bemis M, Desilets AR.

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