Eat it, Eat it, Eat it…June 1, 2012
Part three of eating good fats because it’s good for you: Eggs, Nuts and Avocado. (Sounds like my dream breakfast!) OK, prepare to be wonderfully happy you can stop restraining yourself from eating all of these (just restrain yourself from eating too much of them at a time)!
If you’re not eating eggs, you’re missing out on one of nature’s great nutrition powerhouses. Eggs contain a good amount of dietary cholesterol. But remember, saturated fat—not cholesterol—substantially impacts blood cholesterol levels. A recent study showed that eating eggs regularly along with a healthy, low-fat/low-saturated fat diet did not negatively affect LDL-cholesterol or heart disease risk. The only thing wrong with eggs is their high omega-6 levels, which isn’t the egg’s fault, it’s the feed the chicken gets. Buy cage-free, organic, and/or omega-3 enriched eggs, and problem solved! Here are some of the great things you get by eating eggs:
- Eggs contain the right kind of fat. One egg contains just 5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated fat.
- One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids.
- Up to 600 mg of DHA are in two eggs.
- One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.
- There is twice as much Lutein in one egg as in spinach! (It’s good for your eyes)
- Eggs are also a rich source of vitamin K. One large egg contains 25 micrograms about one-third of the daily recommended amount for women. Vitamin K is a key nutrient in blood clotting.
- Eggs will boost the amount of vitamins A and D in your diet. These fat-soluble vitamins are contained exclusively in the egg yolk. A large egg provides you with approximately 70 micrograms of vitamin A and 0.6 micrograms of vitamin D. Vitamin A helps maintain your eyesight, skin and the lining of your digestive and respiratory systems, and aids in normal reproductive function. Vitamin D supports the growth and strength of your bones and muscles. Although many foods contain vitamin A, eggs are among the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D.
- Eggs are good dietary sources of vitamin B-12, folate and iron. Your body requires a steady supply of vitamin B-12, folate and iron to maintain adequate production of red blood cells. A deficiency in any or all of these nutrients can lead to anemia. A large, whole egg contains roughly 0.6 micrograms of vitamin B-12, 24 micrograms of folate and 0.9 mg of iron. All of these nutrients are concentrated in the yolk of the egg. Egg whites contain only minute amounts of vitamin B-12, folate and iron.
- According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.
- New research shows that, contrary to previous belief, moderate consumption of eggs does not have a negative impact on cholesterol. In fact, recent studies have shown that regular consumption of two eggs per day does not affect a person’s lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it. Research suggests that it is saturated fat that raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol.
- Eggs may prevent breast cancer. In one study, women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%.
- Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals. Many people find their hair growing faster after adding eggs to their diet, especially if they were previously deficient in foods containing sulphur or B12.
You can forget everything you ever heard about nuts, and delight in knowing they are now considered health food! The key to including the great taste of nuts in a healthy diet without overdoing the fat and calories is portion control. The FDA is now reviewing a proposal that would allow foods containing nuts to carry this label: “Diets containing one ounce of nuts per day can reduce your risk of heart disease.”
Several studies over the past several years have shown the health benefits of nuts — which contain monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, copper, protein, and fiber, and are rich in antioxidant phytochemicals.
They are a great source of good nutrition that can dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease. They’ve also been shown to play an important role in helping to lower ba” cholesterol levels and raise good cholesterol levels. In addition, they can help dilate blood vessels and prevent hardening of the arteries.
In the Nurses Health Study, which followed 86,016 nurses for 14 years, found those who ate 5 ounces or more of nuts per week reduced their risk of dying from heart disease by 35%. The researchers also noted that the nut-eaters tended to weigh less than the nurses who did not eat nuts.
Dieters who eat nuts tend to stick to their diets because the fat and fiber content of nuts makes them very filling. As a result, they are not as hungry and ultimately eat less. Several studies have found that eating small amounts of nuts helps dieters lose weight. One psychological benefit noted in a study done by Pennsylvania State researchers was that dieters did not feel like they were dieting when nuts were allowed in their eating plans — which helped them stay on their diets longer.
Nuts are very high in dietary fiber, and are one of the best plant sources of protein. Just don’t overindulge! Here are your healthiest choices:
- Walnuts are great because they have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Almonds are are high in protein, fiber, healthy monounsaturated fats, minerals, and other nutrients. They are also high in vitamin E, an antioxidant.
- Cashews are particularly rich in iron and zinc. Iron helps deliver oxygen to all of your cells, which can prevent anemia, and zinc is critical to immune health and healthy vision. Cashews are also a good source of magnesium: One ounce provides almost 25 percent of your daily need. Magnesium may help improve memory and protect against age-related memory loss, according to a study in the journal Neuron.
- Pecans aren’t just for making tasty pies, they can also help improve your heart health. Consuming pecans can help lower LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 33 percent. Pecans may also buffer your brain health, according to an animal study from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The vitamin E found in the nuts could delay progression of degenerative neurological diseases like amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
- Just one Brazil nut packs more than 100 percent of the daily value for the mineral selenium, which may help prevent certain cancers, including bone, prostate, and breast cancer. Selenium found in Brazil nuts may help fight prostate cancer by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells. However, don’t overdo it on Brazil nuts: High levels of selenium can be harmful, so stick to a serving or less.
- Macadamia nuts contain the greatest amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (MUFA) per serving. This good fat lowers LDL levels and blood pressure. People who add macadamia nuts to their diets may reduce their triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol by nearly 10 percent.
- Pistachios are the most slimming nuts, with less than four calories each. Their shells make them especially dieting-friendly. They may also help you breathe easier: Eating two ounces of pistachios daily may reduce lung cancer risk. Pistachios are rich in the antioxidant gamma-tocopherol, a form of cancer-fighting vitamin E. Pistachios are also packed with potassium, a mineral essential for a healthy nervous system and muscles, and are a good source of vitamin B6, which can lift your mood, fortify your immune system, and more.
- Hazelnuts are notable for their high levels of monounsaturated fats, which can improve cardiovascular health and help to manage type 2 diabetes. They’re also rich in the antioxidant vitamin E, which may prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, maintain healthy skin, and reduce risk of dementia.
Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. One globe contains more than one-third daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.
While many research studies have shown that taking vitamin E in supplement form does not benefit, and may even harm, heart health, the same is not true for consuming foods rich in this nutrient, such as avocados. A 100 g serving meets 10 percent of the DV for vitamin E. Choosing a diet rich in vitamin E may help prevent or delay the onset of coronary heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin E inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL contributes to plaque “sticking” to arterial walls, leading to a narrowing of arteries or atherosclerosis.
Any food or beverage that offers at least 5 g of dietary fiber per serving is high in dietary fiber. A 100 g serving of raw, fresh Hass California avocado provides 6.8 g of dietary fiber and the same amount of a Florida avocado offers slightly less with 5.8 g. Six to 7 g of dietary fiber meets almost one-third of the minimum daily requirement for dietary fiber for an adult woman, about 21 g, according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. Eating fiber-rich foods lowers blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol levels.
Next post: meat and fish. (Your breakfast just because more enjoyable!)