The healthiest types of fats are unsaturated fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats have been shown to lower disease risk. Specifically, eating unsaturated fats in place of saturated fats or highly refined carbohydrates has been shown to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol, improve cholesterol profiles, and lower triglyceride levels. Foods high in these healthful fats include plant oils (such as olive, canola, sunflower, soy, and corn), nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios), seeds, avocados, and fish (especially oily fish like salmon and canned tuna).
It is important to include a special kind of polyunsaturated fat, omega-3 fat, in our diets. Omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke. They may also help to control autoimmune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and may protect against cancer and other conditions. The best sources of omega-3s are fish and shellfish, but they can also be found in walnuts, flax seeds, and canola oil.
Saturated fats are less healthful than unsaturated fats because they raise LDL cholesterol in the blood, which can prompt blockages to form in arteries. Saturated fats should be consumed in moderation (<10% of our daily calories should come from these fats). The best strategy is to limit foods that are very high in saturated fat, such as butter, cheese, and red meat, and replace them with foods that are high in healthy fats.
The worst types of fats are trans fats. Even relatively small amounts of these fats in our diets increase the risk of heart disease, so it is best to avoid them altogether. Trans fats are primarily found in processed foods made with partially hydrogenated oil, such as baked goods, snack foods, and margarines. Fortunately, trans fats have been eliminated from many of these foods over the past few years. Still, check the Nutrition Facts labels on processed foods to make sure that the food you eat is free of trans fats.
Finally, keep in mind that most foods contain a mix of different types of fats. Try to choose foods that are higher in unsaturated fat than saturated fat and contain no trans fat. As you work to limit foods like red meat and butter in your diet, try to replace them with healthy plant oils, nuts, fish, vegetables, or whole grains.
Sign up by July 22nd & Do it ANYWHERE!
Run 4 Their Lives is a Freedom 4/24 event that raises awareness and funds to bring sexually exploited women and children into freedom.
This July, a team will travel to Gulu, Uganda to work with Freedom 4/24's partner, Christine's House. While there, the team will host a Run 4 Their Lives race for Christine's House staff, residence, and the local village. Girls who have been rescued from human trafficking and sexual exploitation will be running this Run 4 Their Lives race in Uganda and YOU have the chance to simultaneously run with them!
- This one is a no-brainer: Hydrate! You know it's important to keep hydrated, especially in the heat or when being active. Thirst is usually an accurate indicator of our need for hydration, but when we're out in the heat or sweating during exercise, we may need to be more conscious of our fluid intake. So plan ahead and drink water before going out, be sure to bring water with you, and always listen to your body's cues that it may need a break. On the flip side, it's worth noting that it is possible to drink TOO much water, resulting in a condition called hyponatremia. Your goal when out in the heat should be to replace lost fluids, but it's not necessary to force yourself to continue to drink water when you're just not thirsty anymore (that's usually a sign that you're caught up.)
- Wear sunscreen or protective clothing. And don't forget the sunglasses! A healthy dose of sunshine and fresh air are wonderful for our vitality and well-being, but we should be careful to protect our skin and eyes from damage. Especially here in Texas, direct sunlight can quickly lead to short-term, painful sunburn and long-term disease risks. When using sunscreen, be sure that it is not past it's expiration date, store it in a cool place away from direct sunlight and heat, and reapply frequently to ensure it's effectiveness. Lightweight, UV-blocking clothing is also a great alternative to sunscreen. A hat is a great choice to keep sun off of the face, but be mindful that reflective surfaces such as light-colored pavement and water can still leave our eyes vulnerable. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends wearing UV-blocking shades whenever you're outdoors.
- Give your body time to adjust to increasing temperatures. Begin with small increments and gradually increase them as your body adapts to the heat. Always pay attention to signs that you need to cool off a bit. If you start to feel sluggish or unusually tired, that may be one of the first signs that you're overheating. Sweating profusely, feeling dizzy or clammy, or having a rapid heartbeat are other signs that you could be experiencing heat exhaustion. Seek shade or air conditioning right away, and begin replacing fluids. If you don't feel better after half an hour, seek medical attention.