Tag Archives: good cholesterol

Is Saturated Fat the Reason to Your Stomach Flab?

Have you ever thought that how and why diets high in saturated fats are dangerous to your health?

A recent research from Uppsala University shows that saturated fat builds more fat and less muscle than poly-unsaturated fat. Loss of muscle from your body means higher chances of injuries and diseases.

When we indulge in a high-fat diet it influences not only the cholesterol levels in the blood and the risk of cardiovascular diseases, but it also determines the way the body stores fat.

When you get calories from polyunsaturated fats (like salmon, olives, olive oil, nuts, etc.), you gain muscle weight, but foods with saturated fats (like butter, hydrogenated fats, stearic oil, etc.) will make you gain fat mass. Saturated fat in the diet causes a greater increase in the amount of fat in the liver and abdomen region which makes you obese.

When excessive unhealthy fats are consumed, they start getting deposited or stored in the arteries, which leads to narrowing of the blood vessels and an increase in the risk of heart diseases. Belly fat is closely linked to high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, and metabolic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, especially Type-2 diabetes. It causes disturbance in body metabolism. It is closely associated with increase in the levels of plasma cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol and significantly lowers the “good” cholesterol level, as storing fat around the organs is associated with increased risk of such conditions. Studies have shown that trans-fats and saturated fats spark chronic inflammation in the body and cause damage to the lining of the blood vessels. And if you cutback on such fats from your diet, then you might be able to prevent metabolic diseases. Replace bad saturated fats with unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs and PUFAs).

A high consumption of saturated fats in the diet seems to change the characteristics of certain genes in the body. These changed characteristics increase the fat storage in the abdomen and liver. When we consume polyunsaturated fats, the genes work the other way round in the visceral region (fat deposition around the vital organs) and protect the vital organs from shock and damage and also improve the sugar metabolism in the body.

Make sure you get your daily dose of healthy unsaturated fats through nuts, fish, avocadoes, etc. Choose peanut butter or almond butter over normal butter. Choose fish over beef and pork.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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How Sugar is deteriorating your body

Is sugar really that bad? Sugar has continued to play an increasingly important role in our food industry. It’s not just sugary foods, but sugar has made its way into practically everything we eat. You can become addicted to sugar. Refined sugar in particular provides only empty calories and lacks all the essential and natural nutrients that the body requires.

Here is how sugar deteriorates your body:

1. Sugar makes you fat

A high sugar diet makes the liver store fat more efficiently and overtime it could lead to the deposition of fat globules in the liver and other parts of your body, which makes you gain weight.

2. Sugar affects your Insulin levels

Sugar is high on the glycemic index because of which it causes a spike in blood sugar levels, leading to increased insulin production. High intake of sugar stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin to lower the blood sugar levels. Excess of Insulin in the body promotes fat storage.

3. Sugar weakens your Immune system

Sugar directly impacts the immune response. White blood cells accumulate Vitamin C in order to consume virus, bacteria or cancer cells but when we get overloaded with sugar, then white blood cells accumulate glucose and leave little room inside the cell, as Vitamin C and sugar have similar structures. Therefore, sugar slows your immune system down.

4. Sugar reduces good cholesterol and raises bad cholesterol

Empty calories in sugar increase your risk of having high cholesterol. It raises the bad cholesterol, saturated fats and trans-fatty acids in the body which lead to heart diseases.

5. Sugar leads to Type-3 diabetes

Suzanne de lo Monte, a neuropathologist at Brown University had discovered the links between insulin resistance, high-fat diets and Alzheimer’s disease. In this type of diabetes, the insulin levels gets blocked in the brain due to which the brain’s ability to use glucose and produce energy is damaged.

6. Sugar turns you into junkie

Eating sugar triggers the release of hormones like opioids and dopamine that makes your brain feel ‘pleasure’ and provides you a satiety value, due to which you will always look for junk food or high sugar foods.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

What is Healthier – Doughnuts or Bagels?

Doughnuts and bagels are fast becoming a popular evening snack in India. Traditionally, they are eaten for breakfast & dessert across the globe. A doughnut is a type of fried dough confectionery while bagel is like a bread product. The major difference between the two is that while the doughnut is deep fried the bagel is baked. Do you thinking baking can qualify anything as healthier? Lets find out.

In a way, both doughnuts and bagels are not healthy.

Doughnuts are deep fried and high in saturated fat. About 65% of total fat content present in doughnut comprises of saturated fat. They are also high in trans fat which is considered to be the worst type of fat. Unlike other fats, trans fat both raises your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your “good” (HDL) cholesterol. A high LDL cholesterol level in combination with a low HDL cholesterol level increases your risk of heart disease.

On the other side, bagels are baked but are high in sodium content and consumption of extra sodium can lead you to many health problems like hypertension or water retention in the body. Here is a comparison of nutrients of doughnuts and bagels:

Nutrients 100 gm doughnuts, yeast-leavened, glazed, enriched 100 gm bagels, pain, enriched (including onion, poppy, sesame)
Energy (Kcal) 399 257
Total Fat (g) 19 2
Protein (g) 6 10
Total Carbohydrates (g) 51 51
Sugar (g) 20 5
Dietary Fiber (g) 2 2
Sodium (mg) 387 448

Bagel is a healthier option than doughnut just like 101 is greater than 100. A multi-grain or whole-wheat bagel is a much healthier choice, since it will be higher in fiber and nutrients. Unhealthy toppings can also make bagels bad for you, while healthy ones can help make bagels a good choice for a snack. The most popular bagel toppings like cream cheese and butter are high in fat and empty calories, making them unhealthy additions to your bagel. However,low-fat peanut butter, low-fat cheese, reduced-sugar jam or fresh fruit can add flavor and interest to your bagel without piling on fat and sugar.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Heart Healthy Diet Tips

Your heart, like any other organ, functions 24 hours. It is the centre of all activity and all the other organs depend on the heart function. So, if you keep your heart healthy, your body remains healthy too! You have probably heard all kinds of advice for keeping your heart healthy, but it isn’t that complicated. Following a simple and healthy lifestyle will make sure your heart is functioning fine. Here are some easy to follow diet tips that you can use for yourself and your family -

1. Increase fiber in your diet

Fiber is that part of the plant food that is not broken down in the intestines by human digestive enzymes. Fiber can be either insoluble or soluble but most fiber-containing foods have both properties. Lentils, whole grains, beans, fruits & oatmeal are commonly available foods containing fiber. Soluble fiber is thought to reduce your bad cholesterol as it can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Recommended intake of fiber is 35 to 40 grams per day. The best way to increase fiber in your diet is by making sure you eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Incorporate high-fiber foods into your diet with simple tweaks to your recipes — for example, by adding beans to soup, oats to your favourite smoothie, etc.

2. Include nuts

Nuts are a heart healthy snack as they are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids which are considered as essential and good fats for the body. You can include a handful of nuts to your daily routine, for example, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, flaxseed, pistachio, etc. Nuts contain good fats which can reduce your bad cholesterol levels and raise your good cholesterol levels. But on other hand nuts are also high in calories; therefore, keep a check on the amount you are consuming. You can include them in your diet by adding chopped almonds, walnuts or crushed flaxseed to your salad.

3. Consume fish twice in a week

Fish is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids which is a heart healthy fat. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that may reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease and many other severe health problems. Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke, reduce heart failure risk and reduce irregular heartbeats. Also, in children they may improve learning ability. Eating at least one to two servings a week of fish that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, herring, sardines and tuna helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. To ensure maximum health benefits from fish avoid frying fish and instead choose to steam, grill or roast.

4. Add Fruits to your diet

Fruits like apples, papaya, orange, berries, etc contain pectin, beta- carotene, flavonoids, antioxidants and other vitamins that help you in keeping your heart healthy. These nutrients protect your organs from free radical damage and keep your blood vessels healthy. Include a minimum of 2-3 servings of fruits in your regular diet. Also, opt for fresh whole fruits instead of canned fruits or packaged fruit juices to get the maximum heart health benefits.

5. Make an exercise routine

Exercise helps improve blood flow and reduces cholesterol levels in your bloodstream. It also helps in burning unhealthy fat from your body and keeps your heart healthy. Try to make a routine of a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity for 5 days a week to keep your heart healthy.

A simple heart healthy recipe packed with fibre: Make oats with 1 cup milk for breakfast. Add sliced apples, chopped almonds and sprinkle some flax-seeds.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

6 High Fat Foods that Help You Lose Weight

Fat is mostly popularly linked to health problems & weight issues. But did you know there are two kinds of fat found in food? The good fat protects your heart and support overall health and the bad fat that increases cholesterol and your risk of certain diseases. For years health experts have preached to eat low fat diets to lose weight, manage cholesterol, and prevent health problems. But the truth is that its not the fat but the kind of fat you eat that really matters. In fact, good fat is essential to physical and emotional health.

Here is a list of foods with good fat that are not only good for health but can also help you lose weight -

Eggs:  Eggs are healthy but people often leave out the yolk because of its high cholesterol content. The yolk of the egg contains the good cholesterol that helps fight the bad cholesterol.  In fact, latest research has confirmed that moderate egg consumption is linked to improved heart health.  Besides, the yolk also contains choline, an important B vitamin that helps regulate the brain, nervous system and cardiovascular system. One egg has 75 calories, 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. Eggs are healthy, easily available and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Get an easy healthy omelette recipes.

Nuts: Nuts are little powerhouse of nutrition and provide a good variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to the diet. Nuts contain high amount of mono-unsaturated fatty acids that are considered to be good fat for the body and helps in managing the level of cholesterol and even help in fighting the bad fat in your body. Add nuts to your daily diet for better health & weight loss.

Avocados:  Avocados contain monounsaturated fats which is associated with helping enhance memory and prevent heart disease. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of fat is 20 to 40 grams and one cup of avocado contains almost one third of your fat intake for a day, about 15 grams. So it’s probably best to stick with eating just a half an avocado each day.

Olive Oil: Olive oil is heart-healthy, nutrition-boosting and flavor-enhancing plant oil. It is also a good source of Vitamin E, carotenoids, and polyphenolic compounds. A number of studies showed that when people substituted healthy fat-rich olive oil, they ate less food and either maintained their weight or lost weight. You can even use olive oil to make healthy salad dressing. Substitute the packaged dressing or mayonnaise with a teaspoon of olive oil, fresh lime, salt and pepper to taste.

Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate with high cocoa content is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and minerals like copper and potassium. However, 1 bar of 162 gram contains 51 gram of total fat. So, to get the maximum benefit of weight management gets a bar of chocolate and split it with your friends. A couple of pieces will benefit you, but a whole bar will pack on the pounds!

Coconut: Coconut is a rich source of lauric acid which is a medium chain saturated fatty acid. A recent analysis of 60 studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that even though lauric acid raises LDL (bad) cholesterol, it boosts HDL (good) cholesterol even more. Overall, this means it decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease. Besides this, coconut is also high in fiber, manganese, copper, iron and selenium.  To get the benefit from coconut it is best to go for 2 to 3 slices of coconut as a snack.

If you are concerned about your weight or heart health, rather than avoiding fat in your diet, try replacing saturated fats and trans fats with good fats.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive oil is called the healthiest of all cooking oils and is present in different variants like extra virgin oil etc. The variants have different properties and used differently. Olive oil is primarily unsaturated fat and just 12% of saturated fat and improves heart health and increases good cholesterol. It has a lot of vitamins E & K with essential fatty acids and antioxidants. In addition to bolstering the immune system and helping to protect against viruses, olive oil has also been found to be effective in fighting against diseases.

Here are the some health benefits of Olive oil:

Maintains Good Cholesterol Levels: One of the important health benefits of olive oil is to reduce the bad cholesterol. Olive oil contains a potent mix of antioxidants that can lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol but leave your “good” (HDL) cholesterol untouched. The cholesterol-lowering effects of olive oil are even greater if you choose extra-virgin olive oil, meaning the oil is less processed and contains more heart-healthy antioxidants.

Good for stomach:Another health benefit of olive oil is its good for your stomach. Olive oil is most tolerated by the stomach due to its high oleic acid content. Since ancient times, olive oil has been ingested to treat gastritis and gastroduodenal ulcers. Feeling a little constipated? Take two tablespoons of olive oil in the morning on an empty stomach.

Fortifies Your Bones: Olive oil does wonders for your child’s bone development. Studies support that when eaten in normal amounts, olive oil provides a relatively low amount of essential fatty acids with the highest linolenic ratio similarly found in human milk. To keep your bones strong, consume foods like olive oil, which are high in oleic glycerides but low in polyunsaturated fats.

Aids Digestion: Aiding digestion is another benefit of olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil aids in digestion and in the absorption of minerals and vitamins. It even acts as a mild laxative! For best results, eat your olive oil fresh and in its raw state. Remember, extra virgin olive oil is lowest in acidity and highest in anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. So use high quality olive oil and a lot of it!

Reduce Cancer: The phytonutrient in olive oil, oleocanthal, mimics the effect of ibuprofen in reducing inflammation, which can decrease the risk of breast cancer and its recurrence. Squalene and lignans are among the other olive oil components being studied for their possible effects on cancer.

Oxidative Stress: Reducing stress in also another health benefit of Olive oil as it is rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin E, long thought to minimize cancer risk. Among plant oils, olive oil is the highest in monounsaturated fat, which doesn’t oxidize in the body, and it’s low in polyunsaturated fat, the kind that does oxidize.

Reduce the risk of Diabetes: It has been demonstrated that a diet that is rich in olive oil, low in saturated fats, moderately rich in carbohydrates and soluble fiber from fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains is the most effective approach for diabetics. It helps lower “bad” low-density lipoproteins while improving blood sugar control and enhances insulin sensitivity.

Reduce Obesity: Although high in calories, olive oil has shown to help reduce levels of obesity.

The health benefits of olive oil are extensive with new positive attributes discovered all the time. One prominent cardiologist recommends at least two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil each day to enjoy the many ways olive oil can be beneficial to your health and well being.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Being Thin Does Not Mean Being Healthy

Increased body fat percentage and being overweight result in lifestyle disorders that cause heart disease, hypothyroid, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Excessive saturated fat consumption increases the cholesterol levels in the body. Certain types of fat are bad for health and some are  equally important which are commonly referred to us essential fat without which the body will fail to absorb and process nutrition in the body. Read here to know more about this.

The distribution of fat varies between gentics and gender. Women tend to store more subcutaneous fat which is under their skin. Distribution of fat in women is generally in their hips and thighs area while men tend to store more fat in the middle area or the abdomen. Once the person enters adolescence the fat cells don’t increase in number instead they only increase or decrease in size. Its the male and female hormone that decide the fat deposit destination in the body. For example women with big bellies are considered  to have higher levels of testosterone ( male hormone) in their system that causes fat accumulation on the stomach. While if men have large hips its due to the high levels of estrogen (female hormone) in that body part.

We presume that fat people are more prone to metabolic disorder ( also known as lifestyle disorders) but a study by Ruth Loos at the Medical Research Council in the U.K. found that lean people with a specific genetic variant were equally at risk of diabetes, heart disease even though the reports confirmed lower fat percentage in the body. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Flaxseed and Its Health Benefits

The tiny seeds add not much of calories to the body and are low in carbohydrates but are full of vitamins, minerals, essential omega fatty acids and antioxidants that keep many health problems away keeping you healthy.

You could include flax seed in your diet on cereals and salads and include it in yogurt and shakes. You could eat it directly or eat in combination.
Flaxseeds contain health fighting properties and is beneficial for weight loss. Below are health benefits of flaxseed.

- Cardio-protective: Due to presence of high content of alpha linolenic acids (ALA) a type of plant-derived omega-3 fatty acid, flax seed is known to have cardio-protective benefits Flax seeds aid in lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol levels and may also keep platelets from becoming sticky therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.

- Controls Blood Glucose Levels: Fiber present in flax seed helps stabilize blood sugar. A recent study demonstrated Lowering of blood sugar levels by 28% an hour after eating flax seed.

- Cancer Fighting: Flaxseeds are high in lignans, (a phytoestrogen) and in alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which are found to be promising as a cancer fighting agent. Flax seed’s high fiber aspect is also beneficial in the fighting against colon cancer. Lignan metabolites can bind to estrogen receptors, hence inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer Lignans are known to promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer.

- Prevents Constipation: Flax is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Flaxseed promotes regular bowel movements and helps to absorb water, thereby softening the stool and allowing it to pass through the colon quickly.

-  Boost Immunity: A study in Nutrition Journal stated that eating flax daily favorably affects immunity, the body’s ability to defend itself successfully against micro-organisms. Lignans and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), affect immune cells and compounds that control immune reaction.

- Mood-Enhancer: Flaxseed has a mood boosting ingredient: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is essential for the proper function of brain cells. Flax seed decreases risk of Alzheimer’s due to presence of Omege-3 fatty acids.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How Pasta Can Be Healthy

There have been health myths whether pasta is healthy for the diet or not. It could be healthy with the right ingredients and cooking it to the right temperature and softness. Pasta can be made into a complete nutritious meal.

Pasta with spinach sauce (Cr/freedigital)

Here are tips on how to cook healthy pasta.


Go for whole wheat pasta: When you pick your raw pasta opt for whole wheat grain pasta or multi grain pasta which will keep the calorie intake low and provide the body with fiber and absorb the excess water from the body.

Cooking Style:

Do you cook the pasta ‘Al Dente’ ?Pasta when cooked Al dente has a lower glycemic index when overcooked. Pasta when cooked al dente is soft but not too soft and holds the shape and feels just perfect to the mouth while chewing it. Basically, what that mean is that pasta should not be cooked till it is completely soft. When it is ‘al dente’ (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Diabetes and Exercise

Most people focus on diet to manage diabetes. But to really manage diabetes well, you need a proper diabetes management plan that focuses both on diet and exercise. We’ve already told you how to manage your diet with diabetes. Here, you can see the benefits of exercise to help you manage diabetes.

Glucose is metabolized better in the body, when you exercise. More glucose is forced out of the blood stream and into the cells where it is u

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo