Insane medicine – Telomere length in your chromosomes and your aging are related: diet affects this!

Insane Medicine - Telomeres and aging. Telomeres and their proteins protect chromosomes from degradation and recombination.
Insane Medicine – Telomeres and aging. Telomeres and their proteins protect chromosomes from degradation and recombination.

telomeres and aging Telomere

Telomeres, the ending portion of the chromosome that protect against degradation, have been found to be shortened in humans with poor aging. Premature shortening of telomeres results from oxidative stress in the body and inflammation. This causes premature aging and early death.  So, the longer your telomeres are, the healthier you are overall. However, inflammation triggers T-cell activity that results in telomere shortening. There is an association in humans between shorter telomeres and age-related illness such as cancer and heart disease. Chronic stress and depression can lead to shorter telomeres. Higher omega-3 polyunsaturated fat levels (EPA and DHA)  in the blood is associated with decreased inflammation. The bests test to predict effective diet against telomere attrition ( and hence poor aging) is the n-6:n-3 Polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) ratio. The bottom line is to decrease n-6 PUFAS and increase your intake of n-3 PUFA’s (such as fish) to allow your chromosomes telomeres to lengthen.

Also of note , intake of multivitamins may be associated with longer telomeres as well, especially vitamin C and E intake.  This may result in healthy aging.

Insane Medicine – Meal replacement for weight loss and diabetes control

Insane Medicine - meal replacement shakes
Insane Medicine – meal replacement shakes

Meal replacement, in the form of shakes or bars, help take the guesswork out of calorie counting for a meal. They are designed to replace a meal, not be added to it.  Examples are Slim Fast, Glucerna, and Boost shakes and bars. These have balanced fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals. These can also be in the form of entrees, soups, or powders to help you consume fewer calories in a snack or meal. This is a great way to lose weight, maintain weight loss, and allow calorie reduction.

People using meal replacements, such as for one meal and one snack per day, lose more weight and improved their metabolic parameters. Their triglycerides decrease, blood glucose improves,  and blood pressure drops.

If you are diabetic and use meal replacement for multiple meals, then be certain to check your blood sugar two hours after the meal. You may need less medications to control your blood sugar. Options to get started may be to replace breakfast with a shake and an afternoon snack with a shake as well. Also, aiming for low-glycemic meal replacements are a great option if you have diabetes. These replacements have less total carbohydrates and also resistant starches or maltodextrin to digest more slowly.

Insane Medicine – Pea protein for concentrated, plant based protein needs.

Insane Medicine - pea protein
Insane Medicine – pea protein is naturally rich in protein

Plant based foods are becoming popular, and one in particular, pea protein, is becoming prominent as it has high amounts of protein in it. It is made from dehydrated ground yellow split peas and is added to a variety of powders, beverages, and foods. It has a high amount of the branched chain amino acids such as isoleucine, valine, and leucine. These branched chain amino acids decrease muscle breakdown during exercise. The amount of protein per unit ounce is very concentrated by as much as twice as the underlying component peas and is less costly than other protein mixes, such as whey protein.

Insane Medicine – Bone health depends on a lot of nutrients mixed together!

Insane Medicine - Bones need a lot of nutrients
Insane Medicine – Bones need a lot of nutrients

What is your osteoporosis risk? See the calculator in this link: http://cals.arizona.edu/maricopa/fcs/bb/OstQuiz.htm

Bones need more than just calcium. They need Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K. There are medical factors as well that come into play with respect to bone health. For example, there are medications that can wash out your bones, such as prednisone, and diseases, such as parathyroid disorders, that can result in early osteoporosis.  Get checked for these types of issues. From the nutrition point of view, there are measures you can take to help prevent osteoporosis.

  • Calcium: You need 1000-1200 mg a day. This is the backbone of your bones, literally!
  • Magnesium: The RDA is 310-420 mcg (micrograms) a day. Magnesium is tied in with bone health, in that a lower magnesium intake is associated with lower bone mineral density. Supplementation to near the RDA suppresses bone loss in postmenopausal women. Around half of your magnesium stores are in the bones. Food sources high in magnesium include: Almonds, spinach, black beans, kidney beans, avocado, peanut butter, edamame, and whole-wheat bread.
  • Vitamin C:  This is important for the immune system and also linked to less bone loss. the RDA is 75-90 mg a day. Good sources include: oranges, strawberries, red and green bell peppers, kiwi, mango, and others.
  • Vitamin B12: The RDA is 2.4 mcg a day.  Low B12 levels affect the nervous system as well as bone mineral density and osteoporosis. Sources include clams, salmon, haddock, canned tuna, milk, yogurt, egg, cottage cheese, breakfast cereals that are fortified.
  • Vitamin D: The RDA is 600-800 IU a day. It is essential to Calcium absorption in the gut. Supplementing at 800 IU a day decreases the risks of hip and non-vertebral fractures. Sources include: Cod liver oil, swordfish, canned tuna, fortified orange juice, eggs, and sockeye salmon.
  • Vitamin K: The RDA is 90-120 mcg a day. There appears to be a link between vitamin K intake and decreased risk of fractures. Sources of Vitamin K include: spinach, brocolli, green leaf lettuce,kale, swiss chard, collard greens, and brussel sprouts. If you take blood thinners, be careful of interactions with vitamin K. Ask your doctor.
  • Remember to quit smoking and exercise!
  • Fast facts on osteoporosis: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/osteoporosis_ff.asp

Insane medicine – Foods to prevent and fight Cancer!

Insane Medicine - Cancer and food to help decrease the risk of cancer
Insane Medicine – Cancer and food to help decrease the risk of cancer

There are a number of dietary factors that play a role in increasing our risk for cancer. Obesity is one risk factor that increases cancer risk. Others include large amounts of barbecue foods, which increase stomach cancer risk.

  • Diets high in non-starchy vegetables decrease esophageal cancer risk, such as broccoli, beans, and lettuce.
  • Decrease processed meat and red meat to less than 18 ounces a week also decreases risk, especially for colorectal cancer.
  • Foods high in Vitamin C decrease esophageal cancer risk, such as citrus.
  • Lycopene-containing foods, such as tomatoes, decrease prostate cancer risk.
  • Pharyngeal and mouth cancer risk can be decreased by a diet high in carrots and squash (carotenoid-containing food).

The goal is a well-balanced diet with multiple selections of healthy foods to decrease risk.

  1. Apples provide 10% of the daily RDA of Vitamin C and fiber if just one is eaten. This increase in fiber intake can decrease one’s weight over time, which decreases body fat and associated cancer risk. An apple has pectin in it, which bacteria in the gut use for food and convert it into substances that protect the colon.  Also present are phytochemicals such as epitechin, quercetin, anthocyanin, and triterpenoids.     http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/apples.html
  2. Soy Foods: have phytochemicals that decrease cancer risk, in particular breast, lung, and colon. the high dietary fiber decreases colon cancer risk.  Also present are Isoflavones which are phytoestrogens that play a role in cancer prevention.  The particular Isoflavones researched are  genistein and daidzein. Soy intake does not increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Soy products may decrease PSA levels and diminish prostate cancer risk. http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/soy.html
  3. Green Tea: Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a phytochemical in green tea that may have anti-cancer potential. Green tea intake may lower colon, liver, breast, and prostate cancer risks. Likewise there may be associations with lower bladder cancer risk as well as pancreatic and stomach cancer risk.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/Tea.html
  4. Grapefruits: Red, pink, or whit, a grapefruit gives a person half of their vitamin C needs per day. Vitamin C protects from DNA damage by trapping free radicals that cause cancer. They contain the phytochemicals naringenin and limonin, which decrease the growth of multiple cancers The pink and red varieties of grapefruit have lycopene and carotenoids, which also have anti-cancer effects.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/grapefruit.html
  5. Flaxseed: Has high amounts of magnesium,  manganese and thiamin, and fiber. Flaxseed has 7 gm of fiber in 4 table spoons. Also present are high quantities of protein . Lignans, which are plant estrogens,  are present in high concentration, while half the fat in flaxseed is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a  plant form of omega-3 fat. These are very healthful items. Of note alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), has shown promise in protecting against heart disease and some cancers. Omega-3 may inhibit the production of prostaglandins, substances that stimulate cancer growth and inflammation, which increase the cancer risk further. There is also a form of vitamin E in flaxseed called gamma-tocopherol. These substances in flaxseed slow the growth and spread of breast cancer. Flaxseed and its oil decrease markers of inflammation, decreased the growth of prostate cancer and also colon cancer.  Flaxseed oil provides alpha-linolenic acid and both alpha- and gamma-tocopherol, both of which are vitamin E. These substances again decrease inflammation in the body.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/flaxseed.html
  6. Coffee is rich in riboflavin, a B vitamin. It also has a lot of phytochemicals: Chlorogenic acid ( a phenol), quinic acid (a phytochemical that gives coffee it’s acid taste), Cafestol and kahweol, caffeine, and  N-methylpyridinium (NMB) (which increases anti-oxidant potencies). Moderate intake of coffee decreases endometrial and liver cancers, as well as colorectal cancer.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/coffee.html
  7. Cherries: High in fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Cherries dark color is due to Anthocyanins, which are anti-oxidants.  Hydroxycinnamic acid and perillyl alcohol are two phytochemicals that provide anti-oxidant activities in cherries. tart cherries provide more antioxidant activity than sweet cherries. Perillyl alcohol causes the self-destruction of abnormal cells and may inhibit cancer growth.  Overall cherries may prevent the growth of several cancers with its antioxidants.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/cherries.html
  8. Grapes and Grape Juice: Are high in reservatrol, a phytochemical that is part of the polyphenol family. This phytochemical has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It slows the growth of cancer cells and prevents damage that triggers the formation of cancer cells. Skin, breast, and leukemic cells appear to be affected by reservatrol. Reservatrol inhibits the formation of tumors in lymph, liver, stomach and breast cells.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/foodsthatfightcancer_grapes_and_grape_juice.html
  9. Garlic belongs to the Allium family and includes onions, scallions, leeks and chives. garlic decreases colon cancer risks, while the others in this family decrease stomach cancer risks. Their anti-cancer effects are, in part, a result of quercetin, allixin and a large group of organosulfur compounds that includes allicin, alliin and allyl sulfides. These substances decrease the growth of cancer in prostate, bladder, colon and stomach tissue. Diallyl disulfide, present in garlic, decreases skin, colon, and lung cancer risk potentially.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/foodsthatfightcancer_garlic.html
  10. Blueberries contain an number of antioxidants and phytochemicals including anthocyanins, catechins, quercetin, kaempferol and other flavonoids, Ellagitannins and ellagic acid, and pterostilbene and reservatrol. Blueberries decrease free radical damage to DNA and can thereby decrease cancer risks. Evidence shows that blueberries can decrease the risk of esophageal and breast cancer. Blueberries are excellent sources of fiber,and vitamins C and K.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/blueberries.html
  11. Walnuts contain the omega-3 fat – alpha-linolenic acid. They also contain polyphenols, which are phytochemicals exerting an antioxidant effect. Walnuts have Ellagitannins, gamma-tocopherol, melatonin, and phytosterol, which can lower cholesterol levels. Walnuts have copper and manganese in high abundance. Walnuts may decrease the growth of breast and prostate cancers.   http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/walnuts.html
  12. Whole Grains: Provide manganese, thiamin, nicain, vitamin B-6 and/or selenium. Included in grains are brown rice, oatmeal, corn, whole-wheat bread, barley, bulgur, kasha, millet,  and  farro. The parts of whole grains are the fiber-rich bran, nutrient-packed germ and starchy endosperm. Refined grains lack the bran and germ parts. There is fiber present in grains. Lignans ( a polyphenol), saponins, phenolic acids, flavonoids are present and have anti-cancer effects. Also present are alkylresorcinols which are phenolic lipids in the wheat and rye outer parts. Phytic acid, present in legumes like peas and grains as well, exerts anti-cancer effects. The insoluble fiber present in grains does not get digested and is protective against colorectal cancer by speeding stool passage through the gut. The resistant starch present ingrains supports the growth of healthful bacteria in the gut. Three to six ounces of daily whole grains a day is linked to a 20 percent decrease in colorectal cancer! The the more grain you eat, the less risk of colon cancer you have. There are protease inhibitors in grains that may prevent the spread of cancer cells.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/whole-grains.html
  13. Squash: Winter quash, including pumpkins, are rich in carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Beta and alpha-carotenes are antioxidants that promote cell-to-cell communications and control cell growth. Skin cancer may be decreased by high intake of lutein and zeaxanthin. Likewise, higher levels of alpha-carotene are linked to decrease death from esophagus, colon, liver, pancreas, and laryngeal cancers!  Of note, lutein and zeaxanthin provide the yellow pigment of squash and help protect our vision. http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/squash.html
  14. Cranberries: are very high in antioxidants such as anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, flavonols, ursolic acid, benzoic acid, and hydroxycinnamic acid. These substances combine to decrease DNA damage that leads to cancer growth.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/cranberries.html
  15. Brocolli and cruciferous vegetables: These include brussels sprouts, rapini, cabbage (green), cauliflower and turnips (white), kale, and collard greens. High in vitamin C and K, they contain glucosinolates which form isothiocyanates and indoles.  These two substances are anti-inflammatory and decrease cancer risks by inactivating enzymes that promote cancer. Red cabbage and radishes provide anthocyanins, a phytochemical. Other crucifers provide polyphenols such as hydroxycynnamic acid, kaempferol, and quercetin. These substances all act to decrease the risk of lung, colorectal, stomach, breast, and prostate cancer.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/broccoli-cruciferous.html
  16. Dry beans and Peas: Kidney and black beans, yellow split peas and red lentils are included in the legumes that provide so much health benefits. They are a rich source of resistant starches, which are used by bacteria in the colon to produce short-chained fatty acids that protect the colon from cancer. Substances contained in this bunch include saponins and lignans and antioxidants from a variety of phytochemicals, including triterpenoids, flavonoids, inositol, protease inhibitors and sterols. These all are cancer inhibiting agents.  http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/legumes.html
  17. Tomatoes: The red color of tomatoes comes from Lycopene, which has effective activity against prostate cancer. Tomato components have stopped the proliferation of other cancer types in the lab including breast, lung, and endometrial cancer. Processing tomatoes into tomato sauce, tomato paste or tomato juice allows more of the lycopenes to be released for better effects. http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/foodsthatfightcancer_tomatoes.html

tomatoe legumes beans black walnut garlic cranberry blueberry2 Cherry

Insane Medicine - Foods that have anti-cancer potential!
Insane Medicine – Foods that have anti-cancer potential! Apples, Blueberries, crucifers, cherries, coffee, cranberries, dark leaft vegetables, flaxseed, dry beans and peas, grapefruii, garlic, soy, grapes, green tea, squash, whole grains, walnuts, and tomatoes.

Other possible foods that have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects include:

  • Acai berries
  • Blackberries and raspberries
  • Carrots
  • Chili peppers
  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts
  • onions
  • Papayas
  • Pomegranates
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Citrus such as oranges and lemons.

Cranberries:

http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/cranberries.html

Cranberry Pound Cake Link

Insane Medicine: What are phytochemicals?

  • Phytochemicals are plant-derived compounds that are present in fruits, vegetables, beans, cereals, and plant-based beverages such as tea and wine. They are believe to confer disease protection. Some phytochemicals have either antioxidant or hormone-like actions. There is evidence that some phytochemicals prevent cancers by interfering with carcinogens.
  • Phytochemicals are broken up into Phenolic acids, Flavonoids, and Stilbenes/Lignans.
  • Flavonoids are further broken up into Anthocyanins/Flavones/Isoflavones/Flavonones and under a separate group, the Flavanols.
  • Flavonols include Catechins, epicatechins, and the proanthocyanidins.
  • Flavonoids are the largest and most diverse group of phytochemicals and contribute to the decreased mortality in people who consume large amounts of plant-based foods. The more flavonoids you consume, the lower the risk of a heart attack!
  • Flavonoids act by inhibiting xanthine oxidase and arachidonic acid metabolism in the body.

 

Chart of flavonoids Below:
Class of flavonoid           Example                  Common Food Source
Flavonol      ————-Quercetin      ———Apples, Onions
Flavanol        ————Catechin         ———Tea, Coffee, Chocolate
Isoflavone   ———– Genistein     ———Soy
Flavonone   ———— Hesperitin  ——— Grapefruit
Anthocyanidin  ——–Cyanidin     ———- Berries

  • A diet high in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables of multiple colors, shapes, and types optimizes health benefits from diet.
  • Carotenoids, which give carrots, yams, cantaloupe, butternut squash, and apricots their orange color, are promoted as anti-cancer agents . Tomatoes, red peppers, and pink grapefruit contain lycopene, which proponents claim is a powerful antioxidant (see Lycopene). The phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in spinach, kale, and turnip greens that may reduce the risk of some cancers. Another group of phytochemicals, called allyl sulfides, are found in garlic and onions. These compounds may stimulate enzymes that help the body get rid of harmful chemicals and strengthen the immune system. Some polyphenols (including some flavonoids) act as antioxidants. These are thought to rid the body of harmful molecules known as free radicals, which can damage a cell’s DNA and may trigger some forms of cancer and other diseases. These compounds are commonly found in teas and in vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Grapes, eggplant, red cabbage, and radishes all contain anthocyanidins — flavonoids that are thought to act as antioxidants and may protect against some cancers and heart disease. Quercetin is another flavonoid that appears to have antioxidant properties and is found in apples, onions, teas, and red wine. Ellagic acid, found in raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, and walnuts,may have anti-cancer effects. Red clover, garbanzo beans, soy, and licorice and the lignans found in flaxseed and whole grains have isoflavones that are similar to estrogens and may play a role in protecting the body against some hormonal-sensitive cancers.

Benefits of Phytochemicals are discussed below:
Soy Beans, Soy Milk, and Tofu have  Isoflavones (Genistein and
Daidzein) and may cause a reduction in blood pressure and
increased vessel dilation.
Strawberries, Red Wine,Blueberries have
Anthocyanins that cause an improvement of vision, inhibition of nitric
oxide production, induction of apoptosis (cell death), decreased platelet aggregation, and  give neuroprotective effects.
Red Wine, Grape Juice, Grape Extracts, Cocoa have
Proanthocyanidins and flavan-3-ols which cause inhibition of LDL oxidation, inhibition of  cellular oxygenases, and inhibition of proinflammatory responses in the arterial wall.
Garlic, onions, leeks, olives, scallions have sulfides and thiols that decrease  LDL cholesterol.
Carrots, tomatoes, and tomato products, and various types of fruits and vegetables have carotenoids such as lycopene and beta-carotenes which neutralize the free radicals that cause
cell damage.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, such as kale and horseradish, have isothiocyanates(such as sulforaphane). They cause the neutralization of free radicals that cause cell damage and protection against some cancers.

  1. There is no recommended daily allowance of phytochemicals. Supplements are not proven to be helpful, but rather a balanced diet with large amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are best for health.

Plant Sterols:

  • The plant kingdom has a number of sterols that are different from cholesterol by variations in chemical structure. The primarty ones are sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol.  sitosterol appears to lower cholesterol and inhibit the formation of atherosclerosis. Sitostanol, a saturated sitosterol derivative, reduces the absorption of cholesterol and decreases blood cholesterol. Some margarine brands started to have stanols or sterol esters added in the hopes it may decrease cholesterol.
  • There are  cholesterol-lowering alcohols in rice bran oils.
  • Sitosterols and squalene are present in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated vegetable oils and may be responsible for some of the cholesterol-lowering effects.
  • Cafestol is a terpene present in coffee that may positively impact cholesterol levels.

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/phytochemicals < Some information about phytochemicals

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Phytochemicals-and-Cardiovascular-Disease_UCM_306020_Article.jsp

The bottom line is eating fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains may reduce the risk of cancers. Its not the particular phytochemical supplement that you choose, but rather following a well diversified diet containing a variety of foods that is protective to the individual.

 

 

Insane Medicine – Bisphenol A is a danger that is found in Plastic containers: Basic information

Insane Medicine - bisphenol A
Insane Medicine – bisphenol A (BPA)- causes prostate changes and behavioral changes.

  • BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Medical devices and even cash register receipts have the toxin in it. It can leach into food in plastic containers, especially when they are heated or washed with harsh detergents.
  • It can affect behavior and also the prostate and reproductive system.
  • Some BPA-free items still have estrogen-like chemicals in them because they use Bisphenol-S (BPS). You need to find BPA and BPS- free cups or use stainless steel.
  • Avoid food containers, dishes, and cups with “PC” on them, which is polycarbonate, or have recycling label #7 on them. They will have BPA and BPS in them.
  • Choose glass, ceramic, and stainless steel.

Your guide to BPA and avoiding it is below:

http://www.ewg.org/bpa/

http://www.ecobags.com/ <–cotton and BPA safe carrier bags

 

Insane Medicine – Look out for the rise of Camelina oil: Healthful and potentially a rocket fuel!

Camelina Sativa - the source of Camelina oil
Camelina Sativa – the source of Camelina oil

Typical fatty acid content of camelina, canola, linseed and sunflower oils in %.
16:0 18:0 18:1 18:2 (omega-6) 18:3 (omega-3) 20:0 20:1 22:1
Camelina 7.8 3.0 16.8 23.0 31.2 0 12.0 2.8
Canola 6.2 0 61.3 21.6 6.6 0 0 0
Linseed 5.3 3.1 16.2 14.7 59.6 0 0 0.9
Sunflower 6.0 4.0 16.5 72.4 0 0 0 0

 

 

  • Camelina Sativa is a flowering plant also known as false flax or wild flax and is used as an oilseed crop or livestock feed.
  • It has exceptionally high omega-3 fatty acid content (45%) and are 1/3 protein in content. It is high in antioxidants, such as tocopherols and vitamin E. It is a great cooking oil due to a smoke point of 475 degrees.
  • The oil can reduce the bad cholesterol levels (LDL) in the body.
  • Camelina is being cultivated in Montana and is being used as a biofuel for the military, and quite effectively.
  • It has an almond-like flavor.

Insane Medicine -Camelina oil
Insane Medicine -Camelina oil

 

Insane Medicine: Cancer preventing diet considerations.

Recommendations from the Physicians committee for Responsible Medicine offer 6 dietary changes one can make to help prevent cancer:

  1. Decrease dairy products in men as each 35 gm taken in will increase prostate risk by 32%
  2. Decrease alcohol intake to decrease breast and colon cancer.
  3. Decrease red and processed meat as each daily serving increases risk of colorectal cancer by 21%.
  4. Avoid grilled and fried meats.
  5. Eat soy products such as tofu, edamame, and tempeh to decrease breast cancer risk
  6. Consume more fruits and vegetables.

Insane Medicine – Know thy fats! (Before they become fats!)

Insane Medicine - Good fat - Bad Fat - slice of salmon
Insane Medicine – Good fat – Bad Fat – A slice of salmon

 

There are some key facts to know when you are in the store about fats to avoid: No Trans-Fats! The FDA is planning to have these removed from processed foods in the near future.  Lean towards Monounsaturated fats (MUFA) which are heart healthy.

  • Avoid vegetable shortening, which is abundant in baked foods and also sticks of margarine, which have Trans-fats in them.
  • Tub Margarine may be free of Trans- fats, but be careful as they may have partially hydrogenated oil in it.  That is the same as trans-fats! If you see that on the label, chose another brand!
  • For your spreads used in baking, try to aim for those with at last 2/3 oil in them to get the best results.
  • Aim for more MUFA. Olive Oil and Avocado Oil are the best choices to use in baking, dressings, cooking. They have 65% MUFA content!
  • Extra Virgin Olive still has the polyphenol antioxidants and vitamin E in it,. This choice is even better as it is more healthful.
  • Canola Oil is another option for MUFA.
  • Soybean and corn oils are higher in Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFA) . They have higher amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, but too much of this can be unhelpful in that it can increase body inflammation.
  • Hazelnut oil, flaxseed oils, and walnut oils are also healthful. Flaxseed oil breaks down at temperatures of 225 degrees, so it is best used in marinades, salads, but not cooking. Likewise Walnut oil, which smokes at 320 degrees ( a rather low temperature for baking.)
  • As far as nuts are concerned, consider Macadamia nuts, almonds, and hazelnuts for MUFA content. Walnuts have more PUFA in the form of alpha linolenic acid ( ALA) , a form of omega-3 fat that converts to EPA, which is heart healthy. Flaxseed and Hemp both supply ALA as well and are beneficial to health.
  • Fish poducts, especially tuna, salmon, sardines and other oily fish are high in omega-3 PUFA ( EPA – Eicosapentanoc acid and DHA – docosapentanoic acid). They are excellent choices for food. Try to eat two- four ounce servings a week.
  • For meat, consider skinless, breast meat of chicken and turkey.
  • For red meat, which has more harmful saturated fats, aim for ones that have a higher stearic acid content that is found in grass-fed beef and has more omega-3 as well. Remember that eating fish protects against inflammation, arthritis, diabetes, decreases arrhythmias, lowers triglyceride risk, and decreases blood pressure. To avoid contaminated fish (that have mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, or dioxin), stay away form tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackeral. Instead, try tuna (bluefin, yellowtail, or skipjack), halibut, and salmon. Best choices for sustainable fish can be found at:  http://www.seafoodwatch.org/ and http://www.msc.org/ Other eco-friendly and healthful fish include pollack, haddock, albacore tuna, Barramundi, rainbow trout, and farmed shellfish such as blue mussels, oysters, and bay scallops. Farmed seafood offers excellent healthful and sustainable food.
  • Milk, cheese, and yogurt from grass-fed cows also have higher amounts of omega-3 FA content.

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