Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Olive Oil: An Anti-Aging Agent

Olive oil figures prominently in the Mediterranean diet. Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat, it lowers risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and age-related cognitive decline in people who include this healthy oil in their diets.

High fat intake is associated with degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, asthma, colon cancer, and arthritis. But generous use of olive oil can lower rates of these conditions. Comparing olive oil with other fats such as animal fats, hydrogenated fats, and vegetable oils like corn oil dominate, turns up some very interesting data. It turns out that people who use olive oil regularly, especially in place of other fats, have much lower rates of heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and asthma.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consuming about two tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil a day may reduce your risk of heart disease. You can get the most benefit by substituting olive oil for saturated fats rather than just adding more olive oil to your diet.

Pure, extra virgin olive oil is not only a light and delicate addition to many wonderful dishes, it is one of the most health-promoting types of oils available.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Avocado: High Fat Can Be Healthy

Avocados are known to be high in fat. But did you know that they are considered as one of the healthiest fruits in the planet? So if you are avoiding avocados because of the fat content, you are missing on a lot of essential nutrients.

Although it's true that an avocado packs a lot of calories and fat into a small package, most are monounsaturated, which lowers "bad" LDL cholesterol and raises "good" HDL levels. The remaining fat is polyunsaturated. According to a study from Ohio State University, the fat in avocados may aid your body's ability to absorb certain nutrients. One such nutrient is lycopene, which may help prevent heart disease and prostate cancer; others include beta-carotene and lutein, which may decrease the risk of certain cancers and eye diseases.

But there's more to avocado than its good-for-you fat. Per ounce, avocados contain more fiber than other fruit; a typical whole avocado has a whopping 14 grams, which even rivals the fiber in a serving of shredded wheat and bran cereals. They also provide more protein than most fruits, making them a great energy source (since you need carbs, fat, and protein for sustained energy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fun with Figs

While figs are often served during fall, they are abundant all throughout the year. Excellent on roast pork, in pies, as salad dressing, or eaten as is, figs are good either fresh or dried. Aside from being good on your palate, figs also offer amazing health benefits.

Fresh figs are a great source of energy and vitality, which may explain the aphrodisiac and fertility-boosting powers they've traditionally been thought to possess. Nutritionally, they contain more mineral matter and alkalinity than most fruits and are one of the highest sources of calcium in the plant world. Both dried and fresh figs are impressive sources of soluble and insoluble fiber, which are important for cardiovascular and digestive health and for removing toxins from the body. Figs are also loaded with antioxidants. A single fig contains more polyphenols, which help fight free radicals in the body than a cup of green tea.

Figs even contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with healthy heart and brain function, and lutein, which aids vision. Nutritionists recommend figs for lowering blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Four fresh figs only contain 120 to 148 calories and trace amounts of fat.