Written by Puff Staff

Friday, 01 October 2010

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Know your fats


The term “fat” has a negative connotation for many people. They assume that all fat is bad and should be avoided at all costs. This is not true. In fact, there are certain categories of fats that are helpful to the body, while others are detrimental. Thus, you should know which categories are good, and which are not.

First up, are the bad fats. These are the ones you will want to avoid, and if you cannot find it in your heart to do so, then reduce your daily intake of them. Trans fats and saturated fats are both offenders in this category. Saturated fats are ones found in whole milk dairy products and animal products such as red meat. Trans fats are found in processed foods. Examples of foods that carry trans fats are baked goods, fried foods, snacks, candies, cookies, vegetable shortenings, and more.

Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are fats that you want to include in your diet. Monounsaturated fats come from nuts, seeds, avocados, and plant oils such as olive oil and peanut oil. Polyunsaturated fats have become popular and they include the famous Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids can be found naturally within tasty fish like salmon, anchovies, and sardines, among others. If you are not a huge fish fan, you can get fish oil supplements that come in pill form at your local health store. Walnuts, flaxseed oil, and soybean oils are other examples of sources of polyunsaturated fats.

Fiber is your friend


You probably hear all the time that fiber is important, but what does it really do? Fiber has a variety of helpful aspects, but it primarily aids in keeping your digestive system in shape and stabilizing your blood sugar. It also helps your body feel full more quickly and for more extended periods of time, which aids in the prevention of overeating. Although many foods now on the market advertise healthy levels of fiber, most people tend to lack this vital part of the diet. On average, a person's diet is said to require 20 to 30 grams of fiber daily.

Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the primary natural sources of fiber. Fiber itself falls into two separate categories: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in products such as fruits, oats, and beans. It's capable of dissolving in water, and its main contributions to the body include stabilizing blood sugar levels and lowering blood fats. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water. Vegetables and whole grains contain insoluble fiber, which simply passes through the body's digestive system.

Stay tuned for party three of this lifestyle tips series on healthy eating, where the discussion will continue on which foods are essential to keeping your body and mind in prime condition.

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