Nuts Seeds and Avocado are Health Foods

Epidemiological studies have consistently shown that nut consumption is beneficial for heart health. Eating nuts and seeds protects against sudden cardiac death, reduces total and LDL cholesterol and inflammation, and is also associated with longevity in long-term studies. Similarly, avocado consumption improves blood lipids. Eating five or more servings of nuts per week is estimated to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 35%.

The omega-3 ALA content of flax, hemp and chia seeds, and walnuts is also beneficial. Omega-3 fatty acids have clear benefits for cardiovascular health. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids regulate the inflammatory response and, although some omega-6 fat is necessary, there is evidence that excessive intake of omega-6 and low intake of omega-3 from cooking oils, may promote a chronic inflammatory state that contributes to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Higher omega-6 intake has been linked to increased cancer risk, whereas higher omega-3 intake is often linked to decreased risk.

Although vegetable oils are relatively low in saturated fat and higher in unsaturated fats, they should be used minimally. Whole food sources of fat contain fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals, in addition to their healthy fats, that contribute to cardiovascular health. Many of these nutrients are missing in refined oils. Also, besides the excess of omega-6 fatty acids, regularly using oils promotes weight gain.

So we should eat less saturated fat-rich food in favor of more beans, intact whole grains, vegetables, and nuts and seeds. Also, we should pay attention to increasing our omega-3 fat intake by including chia, flax and hemp seeds, walnuts, and a DHA + EPA supplement. Finally, we should avoid excess omega-6 by limiting animal fats and cooking oils.

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