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Health Tip: Create Balance in Your Diet With Fats

Apartments at the upscale Villas adult community near Staten Island include a broad range of amenities and services in a health-oriented, lush and opulent environment

By THE VILLAS, a wellness and prevention focused resort-inspired apartment community in Manalapan, N.J., for seniors

The Villas, a luxurious Manalapan, N.J., apartment community where seniors benefit from an unsurpassed team of fitness, nutrition and medical experts, is offering this health tip for its residents, and its neighbors in close by Staten Island, N.Y.: Pay attention to the type and quality of fat in your diet.

For residents of the Villas, consuming the right type and quality of any food each day is easy, as the Villas provides flexible living options and a coordinated system of services and amenities, all with a focus on health and wellness – including menus. The Villas delivers a comprehensive array of health services spanning all levels of intensity and care, and designed on an individual basis.

Fat is a macronutrient, meaning it is an essential nutrient for humans in relatively large amounts on a daily basis. The other macronutrients are proteins and carbohydrates, together these three groups provide our bodies with energy.

Fats are energy dense, meaning they provide a lot of energy in small amount. Unlike protein, our bodies store fat for later use. Fat is an important fuel for our brain, connective tissue, digestive system, and hormone production and regulation. When it comes to fat, the type and quality is important, perhaps even more so than amount. 

SATURATED FAT

This is found mainly in animal proteins like beef, pork, chicken, and dairy, but also in some plant foods like coconut oil. In our country most dietary saturated fat comes from cheese, pizza, dairy (ice cream), meats, and grain-based desserts (cake and cookies). It was once believed that saturated fat was the major cause of cardiovascular disease, but current research is proving this false. However, it is a good idea to not consume saturated fats in excess, and to incorporate unsaturated fats into the diet as well. 

TRANS FAT

These fats are found in beef and dairy, but most is found in vegetable oils; they are created when the oil is heated to make it more shelf-stable. Trans fats have been connected to many health risks. They are listed on food labels, however if the amount in the food is under 0.5 grams, it is allowed to be listed as zero. You can find these in margarine, vegetable shortening, and processed foods. It is advised to avoid these oils. 

OMEGA-6 FAT

These are polyunsaturated fats that the body cannot make, and we must get from our food. However most Americans consume too many omega-6s which causes inflammation. High sources include vegetable oils like soybean and canola and fried foods. Small amounts are found in nuts and seeds as well. Your ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 intake is of particular importance, with the goal of more omega 3 and less omega 6.

UNSATURATED FAT 

These fats are liquid at room temperature. They have health benefits like reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular health. 

MONO-UNSATURATED FAT

This is a type of unsaturated fat that has only one double bond in its chemical structure. Good sources include avocado and avocado oil, olives and olive oil, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.

POLY-UNSATURATED FAT

This a type of unsaturated fat that has more than one double bond in its chemical structure. Sources of this fat include vegetable oil, flaxseeds, and walnuts. Omega 3s and omega 6s are in this category. 

OMEGA-3 FATS

These polyunsaturated fats are also essential, meaning our body can’t make them and we need to get them from food. Omega 3s are important for brain and cardiovascular health, among many other roles in the body. Good sources include fatty fish (salmon, sardines, herring), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

OMEGA-9 FATS 

These fats are made by the body so not essential for us to get from food. They are found mostly in nuts, avocado, and olives. 

FAT INTAKE RECOMMENDATIONS

Healthy adults should get 20-35 percent of their calories from fat, and infants and young children need a higher proportion (25-40 percent) for brain development. 

Create balance in your diet with fats:

  • Incorporate fatty fish into your meals twice a week
  • Top your oatmeal with chopped walnuts 
  • Use avocado oil for cooking instead of canola oil 
  • Add ground flaxseed to your smoothie
  • Top your salad with high quality olive oil
  • Try coconut oil in your baking instead of vegetable oil 
  • Add fats to your snacks, for example almond butter with your apple slices, guacamole or hummus with your carrot sticks or chips
  • Eat the whole egg instead of just the egg white 
  • Finish off your cooked meal with a drizzle of olive oil 
  • Make your own salad dressing with high quality oil instead of using store-bought dressing (most contain processed vegetable oils)

About the Villas

The Villas is an upscale, world class resort-inspired apartment community offering a range of amenities and services sensitive to the lifestyle, health and daily needs of seniors. Orchestrated by Hackensack Meridian Health, the complex is uniquely focused on wellness and prevention – and ideal for singles and couples alike.

The luxurious 100,000-square-foot community offers a unique arrangement of supervision and increased healthcare with onsite physician services. Embracing independent-living, assisted-living, skilled-nursing and memory-care needs on specialized floors, the Villas eliminates the need to relocate elsewhere due to health issues, allowing couples to remain together in a comforting, well-managed, posh environment.

The Villas is located at 289 Gordons Corner Road, Manalapan, NJ 07726. For information, or to schedule a tour, the Villas may be reached at 732-847-3920, contacted via www.villashmh.com/contact, and visited online at www.villashmh.com.

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