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Posts Tagged ‘saturated fats’

Acai Berry Superfoods – Are Acai Berries Really That Healthy?

The Health Benefits of Acai Berries

Acai Berries on the Palm Tree"Acai Berries are superfoods!" We're hearing it everywhere now. But is it true? Are Acai Berries really that healthy? In time when every food seems to be artificial and medical companies stuff us with the newest cures for everything, some people try to find help using natural products to cure the various health problems.

Over time we forgot how powerful nature can be, after all we only duplicate its achievements in medicine. That is why a category of super foods has been invented, foods so packed with healthy nutrients that they can be called natural medicine or superfoods.

Probably the most wide spread family of superfoods are vegetables from 'Allium' family – vegetables like garlic, onions or leeks. This not very glamorous group of vegetables, contains flavonoids, which stimulate production of antioxidants in the liver, thus detoxifying your body.

Up until today  blueberries where one of the most famous superfoods. They have a high number of antioxidants (ORAC value), anthocyanins and phytochemicals, preventing aging, cancer and numerous brain diseases. Blueberries are the food of choice for many healthy people in Europe and the USA.

Recently, the spotlight has been taken off the Blueberries by a new berry, the Acai Berry.

Is the Acai Berry the #1 Superfood?

When acai berries where first introduced to the public eye, there were numerous talks about how healthy it is. However, publicity seemed to focus all of it's attention on the very high antioxidants level, leaving in the background wealth of other healthy details about this berry.

The first thing I want to mention about the Acai Berry, is the very high level of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are located mainly in peels of vegetables/fruits. They offer a very powerful protection against harmful free radicals, which develop as a result of exposure to radiation, the UV light, smoking, smog and various other metabolic processes.

Not only that, they also preserve delicate antioxidants within the fruit. While, you may have heard that red whine has a large number of anthocyanins, Acai has 10 to 30 times more, depending on the quality and ripeness of the berries. Acai berry is also very high on dietary fiber. 100 grams of Acai berries contain 45 grams of fiber.Acai Berries are rich in healthy unsaturated fats from omega family, which have been proven to help you with anything from your brain to preventing cancer. In Acai you will find mainly the most important omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids.

Additionally, acai berries contain a lot of protein and amino acids. Acai has 19 different amino acids, which are crucial for growth, maintenance and repair of your body tissues. Our bodies can produce only 11 of these amino acids, so you have to supply the rest with your diet.

Acai also offers three different plant sterols: sigmasterol, campesterol and B-sitosterol. These three sterols are invaluable to health of your heart. This concludes the benefits of Acai Berries. Even if you don't believe in the weight loss hype of acai berries (acai berries are beneficial for weight loss due to stopping the carving for food), these berries are still the best choice of superfoods! With more than 100,000  (102,700 μ mol TE/100 gram),it is the world's antioxidant richest fruit known today!

Coconut Oil’s Nutritional Value Shows Its Superfood Properties

Coconut oil has a reputation for being unhealthy because it's mostly saturated fat. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Coconut oil is made up of mostly medium-chain fatty acids, which are actually healthier than the long-chain fats common in vegetable oils.

Dietary fats actually have many benefits! Fats from animal and vegetable sources serve as a concentrated source of energy from your diet; they also provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances.

Saturated fats are the preferred foods for your heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. They also protect your liver from alcohol and other toxins, and strengthen your immune system.

Fats slow down digestion of your meals so that you can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A and for absorption of calcium and other minerals. and for a host of other essential bodily processes.

Saturated and Unsaturated Fats

All fats and oils, whether of vegetable or animal origin, are some combination of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In general, animal fats such as butter and lard contain about 40-60% saturated fat and are solid at room temperature.

Vegetable oils from northern climates contain mostly polyunsaturated fats and are liquid at room temperature. Vegetable oils from the tropics are highly saturated. Coconut oil, for example, is 92% saturated.

Saturated fats have gained an undeserved reputation as being bad for your health, but this just isn't so. There is really only one type of "bad" fat, and that's trans fat, which is an artificially-made, unhealthy fat.

Long-Chain Fats vs. Short and Medium-Chain Fats

Researchers classify fats not only according to their degree of saturation, but also by their length.

Short-chain fats are always saturated. These fatty acids have antimicrobial properties; that is, they protect us from viruses, yeasts and pathogenic bacteria in the gut.

Medium-chain fats have also have antimicrobial properties. They are absorbed directly for quick energy; and contribute to the health of your immune system.

Long-chain fats can be either saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

The unique health benefits of coconut oil are directly related to its chemical structure, or more precisely, the length of its fatty acid chains. Coconut oil is comprised primarily of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). It is nature's richest source of these. Most significant among them is lauric acid, something not found in any other source but mother's milk. In addition, coconut oil contains antioxidant properties of Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and minerals.

By contrast, most common vegetable or seed oils are comprised of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs).

Benefits of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids

The MCFAs in coconut oil are healthier than the LCFAs common in vegetable oils, for several reasons:

 

  • MCFAs are smaller, and more easily digested. They penetrate cell membranes easily and are utilized more effectively by your body.
  • MCFAs go directly to your liver, where they are converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
  • MCFAs in coconut oil help stimulate your body's metabolism, helping with weight loss.

Disadvantages of Long-Chain Fatty Acids

On the other hand, long chain fatty acids have several disadvantages:

 

  • LCFAs are difficult for the body to break down – they require special enzymes for digestion. LCFAs put more strain on the pancreas, the liver and the entire digestive system.
  • LCFAs are predominantly stored in the body as fat
  • LCFAs can be deposited in your arteries in lipid forms such as cholesterol.

As this clearly demonstrates, saturated fats aren't worse for you than unsaturated fats. So don't avoid coconut oil because you've heard that it's bad for you. Discover more of the Health Benefits of Coconut Oil and start using it today!

-By: Stan Mrak

Stan Mrak has had a passion for antiaging nutrition for over 30 years. Visit his website at www.antioxidants-for-health-and-longevity.com for the most practical and useful information on antioxidants anywhere. Discover how antioxidants hold the secret for staying young and avoiding degenerative diseases.