Little Bites of Nutrition - #5

Oxidation and Your Heart

In my last post I mentioned that the polyunsaturated fats are high in the omega 6 fats. Why does this matter? Omega 6 fats are easily oxidized which leads to inflammation which is a major factor in leading to heart disease. Nearly every study suggests that LDL (bad cholesterol) is only a true threat when it’s oxidized. What oxidizes it? Free radicals. We’re talking hydrogenated fats primarily and polyunsaturated fats high in omega 6.  What counteracts free radicals? Anti-oxidants: veggies and fruits, as well as nuts, olive oil, and avocado oil.

When our diets contain high insulin producing carbohydrates (sugar, cookies, etc.) and the easily oxidized oils (chips, products with hydrogenated oils) it creates inflammation in our body. Inflammation is the number one factor in heart disease. This is an accepted fact now, but it still gets little attention and no real prevention or treatment.

What can we do to prevent inflammation? We start by eating real food as opposed to highly processed foods. Fill your plate with veggies, fruits, meat, and healthy fats. Inflammation is also caused by stress. Stress can come from a variety of things in our lives. Eating foods that cause our body to produce insulin too much and too often causes stress. Outside factors like work or family environment may cause stress. Even too much exercise and not enough rest is a stressor on our bodies. It may be hard to eliminate stress completely. Indeed, some stress is ok and can be good. Yet, we need to be mindful of how it all adds up and contributes to inflammation. Eating real food, daily moderate movement, plus 2-3 more intense workouts, sleep, and recreation (hopefully outdoors) all help reduce inflammation and thus improve your heart health. 

Nature - a wonderful way to reduce stress

Nature - a wonderful way to reduce stress