Saturday, March 22, 2008

Eat Fats to Lose Fat

Don't expect to eat all the junk saturated or trans fats to lose fat. Not only that, they'll swell your waisteline and clog up your arteries.

Some essential unsaturated fats are good healthy fats that help protect your heart and arteries and prevent other diseases.

So what are these "good" fats?

EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
It's an omega-3 fatty acid produced in algae then goes up in food chain to fish. Omega-3s are major components of the cell membranes and are vital elements in your immune system.

Omega-3s have been shown to reduce heart disease risk, decrease "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and lower blood pressure. They fight inflammation such as from workout and prevent inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.

According to Dr. Andrew Stoll, director of phychopharmacology laboratory at McLean Hospital in boston, an adult male with no major health problems should get a gram of EPA a day. Eating fish two or three times a week will help meet this requirement.

With concern about heavy metal pollution contained in fish, it's wise to try different fish in different sources. Sources of EPA include: fatty fish (sardines and salmon), grass-fed beef, specially labeled eggs (Eggland's Best and Gold Circle Farms), and supplements.

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
It's another omega-3 fatty acid not produced by the human body. Researchers have found that DHA is essential for brain development. Low levels of DHA have been associated with depression and Alzhimer's disease.

According to Dr. Stoll, taking in DHA 100 to 200 mg a day should be sufficient for an adult make since it accumulates in the body over time. A fish-oil supplement that has enough EPA is likely to contain at least that much.

The sources of DHA are the same as for EPA.

ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
This fatty acid is converted by human body into the omega-3s EPA and DHA. ALA has been found to lower risk of heart disease and some cancers. It may also help lower blood pressure, help relieve arthritis pain and reduce the risk of depression.

A few studies, however, have found a correlation between high ALA consumption and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Therefore, some doctors are against men taking flaxseed oil which has a high concentration of both linolenic acid and linoleic acid.

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