Smart eating for your heart and waistline

Butter…cream…coconut…

Wouldn’t you love to start eating these “forbidden” foods again, and even get off the dieting merry-go-round once and for all? Well, you can—and actually lose weight and protect your heart while you’re doing it. Fat is the body’s preferred fuel, and surprisingly, even saturated fat is cardio-protective.

If you’re familiar with my book Eat Fat, Lose Weight, you already know that certain fats (omega-3s, -6s and -9s) can not only rev up your metabolism to help you lose weight, but can also help lower the risk of heart attacks, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, breast cancer, and even menstrual irregularities from PMS to perimenopause and beyond.

Now, with the latest research, you can add an extra dose of satiety to your diet with a little saturated fat—no longer a heart health no-no.

Let’s be honest…

The no- to low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet model popularized during the last thirty years has failed miserably. In fact, in the past three decades, the caloric intake from consumed fat has decreased by 10% (from 40% to 30%), while obesity rates have doubled and heart disease continues to be the number one killer.

Today a whopping 69% of adults are overweight or obese. Along with this massive weight gain, the incidence of Type 2 diabetes has skyrocketed.

Moreover, the low-fat, high-carb diet has had virtually no effect on the prevalence of heart disease!

According to a 2013 article in the BMJ (British Medical Journal), “recent studies have not supported any significant association between saturated fat intake and risk of cardiovascular disease. Instead saturated fat has been found to be protective.”

So, put saturated fats back on the table.

In addition to being cardio-friendly, they are blood sugar satisfying, helping to cut down on hunger and cravings. They also support and strengthen cell membranes and raise HDL (high density lipoproteins).

But, remember that not all sources of saturated fats are created equal, I’m not talking about hot dogs or lunch meat. Get your saturated fats from clean dietary sources like grass-fed beef, butter, cream, omega-3 eggs, and coconut oil.

And, make sure you’re digesting them.

If you’re going to be adding more saturated fat to an already omega-rich Fat Flushing diet—one to two tablespoons of coconut oil, a couple of pats of butter, a tablespoon of cream—then by all means, do make sure you’re digesting it properly.

For most efficient absorption, assimilation and weight loss, you might consider adding lipase. This is a digestive enzyme secreted by the pancreas which breaks down fats and oils into small particles. In my testing, lipase is one of the most highly deficient enzymes for just about everybody.

Many of my clients who find that oils and fats repeat on them and have not been able to lose weight previously find that one to two capsules per meal is all it takes to budge the scale downwards and stop excess bloating and digestive distress. If this sounds like you, then you might want to call the good folks at UNI KEY (800-888-4353) who keep several extra bottles on hand for my clients and me. Lipase is not available online.

The Bottom Line: I predict that you’ll be seeing more and more research giving the green light to saturated fat for both heart health and weight loss in 2014.

Here’s one of my heart-smart Omega-3 favorites which also contains coconut, not only a healthy source of saturated fat, but deliciously satisfying.

coconut salmonCoconut Salmon
Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 14-ounce can unsweetened light coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
½-1 teaspoon red curry paste, depending on desired spiciness
4 salmon filets, 5 ounces each
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium carrots, cut julienne
1 medium zucchini, cut julienne
1 medium summer squash, cut julienne
4 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler for fish. Warm oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic, sautéing until onion is translucent.
  3. Mix in coconut milk and stock. Add curry paste, then bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and cook until liquid becomes slightly creamy, about 20 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, place salmon on baking sheet. Season to taste, then broil until it turns opaque, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add carrots, zucchini, and squash to creamy mixture and cook until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.
  7. Place salmon on serving plates and spoon sauce over fish. Top with scallions.

 

Reference: Malhotra, A. “Saturated fat is not the major issue.” Bmj 347 (2013): F6340.

 

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