It’s time for my yearly checkup with the doctor and I’ve been thinking about my health. I worry about preventing stroke – which seems to run in my family.
They (health and nutrition authorities) keep telling us, “Cut down on the amount of fat in your daily diet.” What does this mean exactly? Our bodies need some fat to function. Fat is important to brain health, among other things. What fat do I cut out?
According to the health care authorities, we should cut out or severely limit solid fats and trans-fat.
Trans-fat is essentially man-made fat that has been found to contribute to the risk of heart attack. Researchers estimate 6 to 19 percent of heart attacks and related deaths per year could be avoided by eliminating trans-fat.
Doctors talk about good fat and bad fat. Food fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. These fats are liquid at room temperature and are found in fish, nuts, and vegetables.
Monounsaturated fats are found in:
· Olives and olive oil
· Canola oil
· Peanut oil
Polyunsaturated fats are found in:
· Safflower oil
· Cottonseed oil
Saturated fat is found in:
· Whole milk
· Ice cream
· Red meat
· Coconut milk
· Coconut oil
Trans-fat is found in:
· Most margarine
· Vegetable shortening
· Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
· Deep-fried chips
· Many fast foods
· Most commercial baked goods
I can see that more planning is needed to change my way of eating, beginning at the grocery store. I’ll read labels and be sure that low fat items don’t compensate by adding more sugar or salt. I’ll focus on fruits, vegetables and 100% whole grain products. I’m told if I change my eating habits for the better my chances of becoming a stroke victim will diminish.
Dietary guidelines call for anywhere from five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetable a day depending on your calorie intake. So the mid-line is nine servings every day. That’s four and one half cups.
These healthy habits were suggested:
Always eat breakfast. This is the meal that many people skip when trying to lose weight but they shouldn’t. A healthy breakfast gets your metabolism going – helping to start burning calories. Choose whole grain cereal – not the sugared kind! – with fruit or low fat yogurt.
It is permissible and even suggested that you eat a couple of small, healthy snacks between meals. This helps to keep you from over-eating at mealtime.
Losing weight comes from consuming fewer calories than you use during the day.
Portion control is of utmost importance. Plan ahead. Don’t prepare more than you need or don’t put it on your plate.
Eat slowly. Always sit while eating.
Drink water or unsweetened ice tea with your meal for a fuller feeling.
Exercise. Start an exercise routine so that you are burning more calories. You can start with as little as a 20 to 30 minute walk every day.
Lynne Chapman served as Hair Site Editor of BellaOnline.com for fifteen years. She is a professional stylist and colorist of more than forty years.