Did you know that eating "GOOD FATS" can help you lose weight? That's right folks, GOOD fats can get rid of BAD fat! Although fat used to get a bad rep, it's finally getting it's due! The fact is: we all need fats.
We now know that some fats, specifically the omega fatty acids (also known as Essential Fatty Acids-EFA's) are vital for health.
The king of the EFA's are the omega-3 fats: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic aicd (DHA). Unfortunately, although DHA is also an omega-3 fatty acid, it is NOT found in the other fats, so you have to find it elsewhere. (see below)
Plant sources of omega-3's include nuts and seeds, especially flaxseed oil or ground flaxseeds. they are also found in lesser amounts in legumes, whole grains and green leafy vegetables. Coldwater fish like wild salmon are a great source as well. The adequate intake guideline developed by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day, and that women consume 1.1 grams daily. (unless pregnant or lactating, see below)
DHA's and Pregnancy
During pregnancy, developing babies rely on their mothers to get needed DHA. Since DHA is derived from the foods we eat, the content of DHA in a mother's diet determines the amount of DHA passed on to her developing baby. Unfortunately, the majority of pregnant women in the U.S. fail to get the recommended amount of DHA in their diets and DHA is not found in most prenatal vitamins. The good news is leaders in maternal health are beginning to educate women about the importance of DHA and some food manufacturers are starting to come up with creative ways to help people - pregnant and non-pregnant- get the DHA they need.
Current research suggests adequate levels of DHA may help increase a developing baby's cognitive functioning, reduce the risk of pre-term labor and decrease the risk of postpartum depression.
Why do pregnant and lactating women, who so critically need DHA, find it difficult to get the recommended amount of this crucial nutrient in their diets? There are two primary reasons. First, during pregnancy the daily requirements of DHA increase from 220 mg to somewhere between 300 and 1,000 mg (depending on which expert you consult). Second, DHA isn't easy to get in your diet, especially when you are pregnant. Significant amounts of DHA are found in animal organ meats and fatty fish.
My advice? Get a good DHA supplement from your doctor or from a health foods store. According to Dr. Barbara Levine, associate professor of nutrition in medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, "the purest source of DHA is not the fish itself, but rather what fish consume: the ocean's vegetarian plant algae." Taking DHA supplements produced from marine algae is therefore a safe way for pregnant women to boost their fatty acid stores. (like the spirulina which is inside Green Dream powder!)
Another good fat: Coconut Oil
Organic coconut oil is an unrefined, non-hydrogenated plant oil that's produced from fresh coconut kernel without the use of harmful chemicals. The production process retains a maximum amount of the active medicinal compounds in this organic oil, including lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid. Modern research studies have found that these coconut oil compounds provide a number of benefits.
Possible Weight Loss
Coconut oil can be a healthy source of dietary fat when you're trying to lose weight, according to Bruce Fife. In his book “The Coconut Miracle,” he writes that it contains fewer calories than most oils and has no toxic trans-fats. Furthermore, the saturated fats in coconut oil are in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are more easily metabolized than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) and are less likely to get stored as body fat.
My girlfriend, who had a baby the same time as I did, couldn't lose the last few pounds 6-9 months after having her baby girl. She tried everything. She connected with me about the stubborn last pounds, so I asked her what she was eating each day, when, and what her activity level/exercise was like. Everything seemed fine. She was breast feeding, so that should be doing the trick. After I was stumped, I said, "just as an experiment, try having 1-2 Tablespoons of coconut oil each day in addition to the rest of the stuff you're eating/doing. Don't change anything else, only the coconut oil each day." She DID, and 2 weeks later she reported in that she had lost that last 5-7 lbs!!! With NO other change but the coconut oil. Yeee! Love success stories!
Improves Immune Function
Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a compound that supports immune function, according to Jon J. Kabara, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University. He writes that when you take coconut oil, the body converts the lauric acid in this oil into a compound called monolaurin. Kabara reports that monolaurin is a potent immune system stimulant that can also be obtained from human breast milk. It helps nursing babies to fight off infection while their immune systems are developing.
According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil is classified as a functional food because it provides a number of benefits beyond those provided by its nutritional content (also known as a superfood). Fife notes that more than half of the fatty acids found in coconut oil are in the form of lauric acid and capric acid, two compounds that have potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoal properties that aid in treating genital herpes, influenza, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and gum disease.
My son AND my dog LOVE coconut oil. They will eat it by the spoon full, which is the best way to consume it. If you (or your family) don't love it that way too, no biggie, just add it to any smoothie or substitute it for other oils when cooking. You'll fall in love, trust me!
and the majority of my desserts contain coconut oil, check out those recipes, too!
references and for more info:
The Coconut Miracle, Bruce Fife, 2004
Jon J. Kabara, Ph.D: Health Oils From the Tree Of Life
The Coconut Research Center: http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/