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You Need Fats! Here's Why:

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We often think of fats as something to avoid in our diet; after all, take a look at just how many food products are labeled “fat-free” next time you go to the grocery store.

But the truth is, we need fats in our diet. Without fats, we wouldn't function as people. Read on to learn more!
 

Do I really need fat?

Short answer: Yes! The longer answer is still yes, but with the caveat that not all fats are created equal. We'll talk about that more shortly.

For now, know this: Fats are essential for energy, for cell growth, for proper organ function, and for insulation. They're also needed for some vitamin and nutrient absorption, brain function, and even hormone production. Without fats in your diet, your body wouldn't work very well, and soon, it would cease to work at all. So yes, you need fats.

For instance, consider the following functions fats fulfill:

  • Energy. Because fats are calorie-dense, they remain one of the best sources of energy we can consume. Additionally, when we don't take in as many calories as we're burning, our bodies can burn fats for that extra energy.
  • Vitamin absorption. For instance, vitamins A, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning that our body doesn't absorb them without fat. We need those vitamins.
  • Flavor. Fats are a huge part of what make some of our favorite foods so delicious!
  • Satiation. Fats can help us feel full longer. (Additionally, if you've ever gone on a low-fat diet, you've probably noticed your diet craving fatty foods. This is a big part of why: Your body needs fats!)
  • Nutrient transportation. It's fats that help nutrients get across cell membranes, allowing your body to use those nutrients.
  • Nerve insulation. Fat helps protect our nerves by insulating nerve fibers and helping facilitate nerve impulses.
  • Body insulation. Without fat, we would be so much colder in the winter, as fat serves an important function by helping insulate and protect our organs.

Without fats, our bodies would be in so much trouble!
 

What are the different kinds of fats?

There are four main types of dietary fats:

  • Saturated fats
  • Trans fats
  • Monounsaturated fats
  • Polyunsaturated fats

Each of the four types are different chemically, and as such, have different physical properties as well. Let's look at each of them a little more closely.

Saturated fats: Tend to be solid at room temperature. Saturated fats are generally considered a bad fat because they raise the LDL cholesterol levels in your blood.

Trans fats: Like saturated fats, trans fats tend to be solid at room temperature. They, too, raise LDL cholesterol levels, which can contribute to cardiovascular health concerns.

Monounsaturated fats: Tend to be liquid at room temperature. Monounsaturated fats are generally considered a good fat.

Polyunsaturated fats: Tend to be liquid at room temperature. Polyunsaturated fats are also generally considered a good fat.

 

How many calories are in fat?

Regardless of the type of fat, every single gram of fat contains nine calories; fats are much more energy-dense than proteins or carbohydrates, each of which offer four calories per gram.

This is one of the reasons fats have gotten a bad reputation: Because they are more calorie-dense, they've often been blamed for weight gain and obesity. Additionally, high consumption of the bad fats—saturated and trans fats—has been linked to heart disease and stroke.

As a result, most experts recommend replacing saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats whenever possible.

 

Does that mean “trans fat-free” foods are healthy?

Not quite. Partially this is because trans fats are often replaced with saturated fats, which also aren't very good for you. Additionally, when producers remove fats from a food item, they often add sugars and other similarly nutrient-low ingredients.

Instead, look for foods that are either naturally low in fats or instead of trans fats utilize monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.

 

How can I make fats part of my healthy diet?

Fats can, and should be, part of your diet. A few principles to keep in mind when looking at fats in your diet:

  • Balance your nutritional plan for a healthy balance of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. While some special diets may recommend a different ratio, the general idea for most people might be in the neighborhood of 50% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, and 20% fats, for instance. If you are on a 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 1,000 calories from carbs (which at 4 calories per gram, is 250 grams), 600 calories from proteins (150 grams), and 400 calories from fats (or, at 9 calories per gram, 45 grams). As you can see, it doesn't take as many grams of fat to reach the same caloric levels because of the higher calorie-density.
  • Aim for a diet that prioritizes vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as well as lean meats, fish, and nuts, and limits red meats, sugars, sodium, and artificial ingredients. Doing so will help limit your intake of bad fats while ensuring you get plenty of good fats.
  • Whenever possible, replace saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. This means olive oil, for instance, instead of margarine or butter.
  • Lastly, be sure to balance the calories you eat with the calories you burn. 

 

Does this mean I have to give up my favorite foods, like steak and buttery lobster?

No. It does mean, though, that you should practice moderation when it comes to those red meats and other sources of unhealthy fats, instead working toward replacing some of those foods with healthier sources of fats.

For instance, fish, and especially fatty fish like salmon, are a great way to replace some of those steaks, as they're loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown beneficial for so many things, including brain function!

 

What should I add to my diet to get more good fats?

So many good things! Great sources of good fats include fish (especially salmon and tuna), nuts, legumes, and lean white meats, such as turkey.

 

Clearly, we need fat in our diet. Now we just have to make sure we're getting the good fats instead of the bad ones, and with the information above, you can do precisely that!

Food

11 Memory-Boosting Foods To Start Eating Today!

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As we age, cognitive function and memory both decline. While there are certain things, we can do to help staunch that decline; such as regular brain-boosting activities, like crossword puzzles and Sudoku, limiting our stress levels and work hours to thirty hours per week or less. There are also quite a few foods we can incorporate into our regular diet, that many researchers believe also boost cognitive function and memory.

 

Can food improve your memory?

First, a note of caution: Thus far, statements from the National Institute of Health have all been to say that “there is insufficient evidence that food, diet, or lifestyle can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.”

That hasn't stopped researchers from looking at how various foods and brain functions are linked, and while Dr Sam Gandy of the Mount Sinai Medical Center's Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center notes, “I can’t write a prescription for broccoli and say this will help—yet,” that doesn't mean there aren't foods that have been linked to cognitive health in one way or another.

As such, we feel okay recommending the following foods for their potential memory-boosting effects.

Check out some of our favourites below:

 

1. Avocados

Though fat often gets a bad rap, avocados are loaded with the good monosaturated fats, and the combination of vitamin K and folate means that not only does this superfood help prevent blood clots in the brain, it also aids cognitive function, particularly in memory and concentration. It's also rich in vitamin E, an important antioxidant. Even more importantly, as Dr Martha Clare Morris notes, vitamin E may help protect neurons or nerve cells, which limits the likelihood of developing cognitive degeneration such Alzheimer’s disease. The benefits have been found in vitamin-E rich foods, but not in supplements.

 

2. Blueberries

In addition to being delicious little bits of nature's candy, blueberries are also one of the best antioxidants out there. This is important because some research suggests that antioxidants combat oxidation and inflammation, both of which may be factors in neurodegenerative brain diseases. Additionally, some other research suggests that a few of those antioxidants may improve communication between brain cells, as well as boost memory and even potentially delay memory loss associated with ageing.

 

3. Bone broth

Some natural medicine practitioners believe that gut composition can sometimes be a key factor in brain function, and toward that end, bone broth is a wonderful supplement. As bone broth helps reset microbe balances in the gut, amino acids such as proline and glycine may help boost memory.

 

4. Broccoli

Because broccoli is loaded with vitamin K and choline, it's another memory superfood; as an added bonus, not only does that vitamin K help with memory, but the antioxidants in broccoli may also protect the brain.

 

5. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is one of those pleasures you don't have to feel guilty about, as it's packed with brain-boosters, including antioxidants, caffeine, and flavonoids—a group of antioxidant plant compounds.

Chocolate's flavonoids assist the areas of the brain we associate with learning and memory, meaning they may both boost memory and slow age-related cognitive decline.

Keep in mind, though, that this needs to be dark chocolate, meaning free of additives like sugar and cream and so forth. We recommend shooting for at least 70% dark chocolate.

 

6. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens such as collard greens, kale, and spinach are great sources of vitamin E and folate, and as Dr Morris notes, folate has been linked to better brain health. It's believed folate may work by reducing an amino acid called homocysteine (which can trigger nerve cell death), but more research is yet needed.

 

7. Eggs

While no research has yet proven eggs can help brain health, there's plenty of research that supports nutrients found in eggs are important for memory and cognitive function.

In particular, eggs are packed with vitamins B6, B12, folate, and choline. Choline is especially important, as it helps create a neurotransmitter linked with memory, mood, and mental function, acetylcholine.

Additionally, the B vitamins and folate can slow mental decline that is age-related, and deficiencies have been linked to depression—just one more reason to eat plenty of eggs.

 

8. Fatty Fish

By fatty fish, we mean fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as sardines, salmon, and trout. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important to our brain, because 60% of our brain is fat, and half of that is omega-3, which is used for brain and nerve cell development, and is key to learning and memory.

As a result, it may not be surprising that omega-3s may slow age-related cognitive decline and limit the incidence of Alzheimer's disease, whereas as deficiencies have linked to learning impairments and depression.

Given that it's also delicious sounds like lots of great reasons to load up on fatty fish to us!

 

9. Green Tea

Just as with coffee, the caffeine in green tea can boost brain function, including memory and focus. But there's more to green tea, too.

In particular, an amino acid called L-theanine increases GABA (an important neurotransmitter) activity, which cuts down on anxiety, helping you to focus while also calming you. Additionally, the polyphenols and antioxidants in green tea have been linked to a lower incidence of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

 

10. Nuts

While there's plenty of science to support nuts improving heart health, only recently has that health translated to brain health and memory. In 2014, for instance, a new study found nuts both improve mental cognition and can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Researchers theorize this is the result of antioxidants, healthy fats, and vitamin E, all of which help slow mental decline. If you have to pick a favourite, though, go for walnuts—they have extra omega-3 fatty acids.

 

11. Turmeric

The rich yellow spice that gives curry its colour and some of its flavour, turmeric has been a roll lately when it comes to health benefits. In particular, its active ingredient, curcumin has been found capable of directly crossing the blood-brain barrier, meaning it delivers its many benefits to the brain more efficiently.

In addition to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, curcumin can help fight Alzheimer's, ease depression, and build brain function and learning capacity. Wow!

That's quite a list of superfoods! Add them to your diet more regularly, and we bet you'll be feeling sharper and more alert in no time.

 

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Food

Recipe: Salmon + Dill Bites

 
 

Makes 20 bites
(per 1) Carbs <1g / Fat 2g / Protein 3g / Calories 34


Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • Cream cheese (1/2 tsp per cucumber slice)
  • Smoked salmon (100g for all 20)
  • Dill

Method

  1. Slice up cucumber
  2. Add cream cheese on top, followed by a small amount of smoked salmon and dill
  3. Keep stored in the fridge if not serving immediately

Food

Recipe: Burnt Pecan Keto Dessert

Makes 1 servings
Carbs 3g / Fat 45g / Protein 4g / Calories 426


Ingredients

  • 30g (1oz) pecans
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp dollop cream
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • coconut flakes

Method

  1. Heat up small frying pan or saucepan on the stove (low heat is enough)
  2. Add coconut oil
  3. When the coconut oil is warm add in pecans
  4. Cook the pecans until they are dark brown and slightly blackened, I like to burn them a little because it gets a popcorn smell/flavour, but this isn't a necessary step if you don't want to eat them burnt haha.
  5. Serve pecans into a bowl
  6. Mix cinnamon into dollop cream and add onto pecans
  7. Top with coconut flakes

Food

Recipe: Beet & Marinated Mushroom Salad

Makes 2 servings
(per 1) Carbs 36.8g / Fat 30.2g / Protein 16.7g / Calories 464


Ingredients

  • 1 avocado 
  • 2 beetroot
  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 40g (2 small handfuls) pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 red cabbage
  • 3-4 large handfuls of spinach and rocket

Marinate Ingredients
(measurements not exact, just make enough to cover the mushrooms)

  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (~400F)
  2. Prepare two beetroot to be roasted (remove tops, wash the outside, place in al foil and add a small amount of water inside), place the wrapped beetroots in a tray and allow to cook for 1 hour
  3. Create your marinate mix
  4. After beetroots have been placed in the oven slice up 4 portobello mushrooms and place them in the mix, allow them to sit in the mix for at least 15 minutes before you cook them.
  5. Cook the mushrooms on a medium heat in a skillet for approximately 10 minutes.
  6. Place mushrooms in a container in the fridge to cool down.
  7. Remove the beetroot from the oven after an hour, press a fork into the beetroot to ensure they are cooked, if the fork slides in easily they are done.
  8. Cut the other end off the beetroot and slice a line from the top to the bottom, this will allow you to easily remove the beetroot skin.
  9. After the skin has been removed dice up the beetroot and then place it in a container in the freezer to cool down for 10 minutes.
  10. Slice up 1 avocado.
  11. Cut up 1/4 of a red cabbage, and prep your spinach and rocket.
  12. Plate up the leafy ingredients, add the mushrooms and beetroot, sprinkle some pumpkin seeds over the top and then add your avocado!