saturated fat

Healthier Protein Sources

Pasta and Beans an example of a healthier protein choice!

Pasta and Beans an example of a healthier protein choice!

 Most Americans consume substantially more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance  (RDA); these recommended amounts are the average daily requirements for healthy people.  All animal foods and their products, and plant foods such as dry beans, peas, soybeans, nuts and seeds are considered protein sources.  

Too much of a good thing

Eating too much protein has no benefit. Contrary to popular belief, consuming more protein will not result in bigger muscles, stronger bones or increased immunity. Similar to carbohydrates and fats, protein is an energy-yielding nutrient. Such nutrients furnish calories the body needs to carry out its functions. If too many calories are taken in, the extra protein is not stored as protein but rather is converted to and stored as fat.  All excess calories, regardless of the source -- carbohydrate, fat or protein -- are stored as fat.

Consuming high amounts of protein can be bad for your health, especially if you eat a lot of high-fat animal proteins, such as hamburgers and cheese, and few plant proteins. High-fat animal foods contain significant amounts of saturated fat, which raises your level of blood cholesterol and increases your risk of heart disease. Another negative effect when eating too many high protein, high-fat foods is weight gain, from simply consuming too many calories.  

Go for balance

Plant sources of protein (beans, peas, soybeans, nuts and seeds) are a healthier choice. For the most part, they contain less fat and more fiber- although nuts and seeds can be high in fat, it is the healthy kind. Plant foods also contain no cholesterol and are rich in vitamins and minerals. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that the average person consume five and a half ounces of protein foods daily. This intake is based on the premise that individuals consume protein from both animal and plant sources.

 Balance your protein sources and make meals healthier. Several times a week make plant protein, such as beans, the centerpiece of your plate and use animal-based protein in small quantities to embellish. Instead of macaroni and cheese try pasta and beans; make hummus or bean dip spread your sandwich filling in place of deli meats, beans and tuna fish is an combination; when dining out order a complete main dish such as chicken broccoli and ziti.    

Protein is certainly vital for proper growth and to keeping our bodies in good working form. To obtain the benefits of this essential nutrient and minimize the damage of the high-fat sources, balance your choices of protein-rich foods.  Keep protein harmony on your plate and give both lean animal and plant foods equal billing.   

Eat To Lower Cholesterol

Pineapple and Strawberries with Spiced Honey

Pineapple and Strawberries with Spiced Honey

Food choices that lower blood cholesterol levels

High blood cholesterol is a leading risk factor for heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United Sates. Despite its harmful effect, cholesterol is a vital component in our bodies. It is used to make hormones, digest fats and make Vitamin D. In fact, the body makes it’s own cholesterol.  The driving forces of blood cholesterol production in the body are your genetics and saturated fats. Any food that comes from animals contains saturated fat. Given that we cannot change our genetics, controlling the amount of saturated fat we eat is key to managing cholesterol levels.

 Experts recommend limiting saturated fats consumed be based on our calorie pattern. For example a pattern of 1800 - 2000 calories per day would have a limit of 20 – 22 grams of saturated fats. When goal is to lower the LDL known as the “bad cholesterol” the limit is even lower. Modifying ingredients, recipes and eating pattern is our best bet to keep saturated fats and bad cholesterol in line.  

Almost 20 % of saturated fats in the American diet comes from snacks and sweets. Ingredients and foods that come from animals or animal products are natural sources of saturated fats. Foods such as meat and meat products, milk and milk products such as cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, butter, ice cream are rich sources of saturated fat and cholesterol. One ounce of regular cheese contains 6 - 9 grams of saturated fat, half a cup of ice cream contains about 6 grams and one tablespoon of butter contains about 7 grams. And they add up quickly.   Limiting animal products and replacing it with plant foods and liquid oils is the most effective defense at our disposal. Opting for more plant based dishes from appetizers to dessert is a healthy way to cut back on saturated fat. Here is a delicious fruit based dessert that makes a perfect ending to any meal.



Pineapple and strawberries with spiced honey

1 pineapple, peeled and cubed

1 lb. strawberries, washed and cut in half

2 tablespoons of honey

1 cinnamon stick

2 whole cloves

4 peppercorns

½ cup blueberries

Combine pineapple cubes and strawberries in a shallow bowl.   

Bring 6 oz. of water to boil with the honey, cinnamon stick, cloves, and black peppercorn.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool and filter through a sieve. If desired refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add the cooled syrup to the mixed fruit, if desired add blueberries for color.