On the Dr. Oz Blog: 7 Delicious Ways to Switch Up Your Cooking Oils

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7 Oils to Try Now As we head indoors with the cooler fall weather, many of us begin to fire up the stove again after a blissful summer at the barbeque.

While you're making this shift, let me ask you a question: when was the last time you shook up the kinds of cooking oils on your shopping list? To roast, saute, stir fry or add flavor or swirl a tasty few drops of at the end of a dish? Most of us succumb to being on autopilot, sticking to the same oils month after month, year after year, and (if we’re really being honest) decade after decade.

While you may have some fabulously healthy staples in your pantry (i.e. extra virgin olive oil, which a landmark study earlier this year found slashed the risk of heart disease risk by a whopping 30%), check out my recent Dr. Oz blog to discover a few deliciously healthy oils you can add to your shopping list to boost flavor and nutrition- I promise they will perk up your pantry and your taste buds.

If you're really adventurous, check out these uber new fun oils to try (including avocado, hemp, red palm and hazelnut oil) by my colleague Matt Kadey at Shape.

Have other oils you want to share with me? Like you, I'm working on settling into a healthy, fresh, yet sane back to school fall routine-and I've love to hear and tips you'd like to share.

 

On The Dr. Oz Show: Fat Fighting Foods

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avocados and orangesFat fighting foods. I had a ball a few weeks ago chatting with audience members at The Dr. Oz Show about some of my favorite foods and nutrients that may give you an extra edge when it comes to fighting fat (especially visceral fat, the sort that’s most hazardous to your health).  One thing’s for sure, it’s a topic that gets people paying attention: on the flight there, people perked up when I mentioned fat loss. On the flight home, people wanted to know when the segment was set to air.

 

So I wanted to share them here with you: You can read about my top 3 Dynamic Duos for fat loss in my latest blog post on The Oz Blog - Fight Fat Faster: 3 Dynamic Duos & Recipes,. Or get the live scoop from the television segment: Power Pairs to Melt Fat Faster.

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What are some your favorite fat busting foods? I'd love to hear!

Fight Fat Faster: 3 Dynamic Duos & Recipes Can certain foods give you an edge in the battle of the bulge? The answer appears to be yes.

When it comes to whittling your waistline, research suggests that there may indeed be certain foods and nutrients that can help you lose more weight – or shed more belly fat – than simply cutting calories. Given that belly fat is one of America’s most common complaints, is hard to lose, and can raise your risk of metabolic syndrome and heart disease, it’s worth a closer look. Here are 3 “dynamic duos” I shared with Dr. Oz that you may want to add to your get-lean routine... [Click here to read more]

Power Pairs to Melt Fat Faster

Kate Geagan on The Dr. Oz Show - Click the video to watch the clip!

Power Pairs to Melt Fat Faster - Kate Geagan on The Dr. Oz Show

Super Bowl Sunday: 4 New Reasons to Love Avocados

 
 

Young HASS Avocados at Rancho Simpatoca

As I stepped directly into underbrush of the avocado tree, sunlight streaming through giant rustling leaves, my breath caught in my throat. There they were: a small sea of bright emerald green avocados, swaying gently in the breeze from surprisingly long stems, encircling me as the tree seemed to swallow me whole. Or perhaps to embrace me. An involuntary smile crept across my lips; for a foodie and nutritionist, it just doesn’t get any better than this.
We had come to this farm on a mission. To see firsthand how HASS avocados are grown from Jamie Johnson, a 3rd generation avocado farmer whose Rancho Simpatica sits on 1200 acres-400 of which are used to cultivate approximately 40,000 avocado trees.

From Left: Emiliano Escobedo, Gina Widjaja, Mitzi Dulan, Jamie Johnson and me at Rancho Simpatica

I’ve long loved this supergreen fruit for it’s taste and health perks: how bite for bite, avocados pack nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. How they can be a healthy swap for butter in your favorite baked goods. How they’re rich in monounsaturated fats-which emerging science suggests may help regulate blood sugar and trim belly fat as part of a reduced calorie diet. And how my kids and I just love eating them.

 

But back to the farm. What did I learn? Plenty-as you always do when you take the time to see where food was before it reached your plate. Here are some highlights:
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 4 Fun Facts from the Farm

1) Avocados need bees. Several beehives are located around the farm because bees play a key role in helping the trees pollinate and reproduce. Apparently, the local bears especially love this aspect of the farm, too. Hence the electric fencing.

These bee colonies play a key role in helping the avocado trees reproduce.

2) Avocados have fewer pests than many other crops. This lets the farm use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that doesn’t rely as heavily on pesticides. Indeed, I love that avocados have one of the lowest pesticide residues of any produce, earning a coveted spot on the Environmental Working Group's Clean 15 . IPM also helps counteract superbugs and superweeds.

3) Avocados have a blissfully long growing season. Unlike crops like citrus or grapes, where fruit is harvested all at once when its ripe, avocado trees are harvested 3-4 times a year, with the largest fruits plucked each time (they are picked by hand, using special cutters to clip the stem). This (along with different growing regions) helps keep this healthy superfruit in the grocery store year round.

4) America’s biggest Avocado Eating Day of the Year is....This SUNDAY! That’s right- a whopping 79 million pounds of avocados are eaten on Superbowl Sunday, or about  5% of the total amount  consumed annually. Just how much is that? Emiliano Escobido, executive director of the HASS avocado board, revealed that it's enough to fill a football field end zone to end zone a whopping 30 feet high.

After all the talk of guacamole, (and some delicious tastes) it was a good thing my dear friend and fellow RD Mitzi Dulan and I were lucky enough to both left with a giant bag of avocados to get our game on this Sunday! You can read her blog from the day here. A big, sincere thank you to Jamie, Emiliano, Ed and Gina for such an amazing day!

Avocados are one of the healthiest superbowl noshes!

 

What's your favorite way to enjoy this supergreen fruit? (yes-avocados are a fruit!)

Check out  www.avocadocentral.com for some fresh guacamole recipe ideas, and to see the latest science about the health benefits.
Want to visit a farm near you? Check out “Know Your Farmer Know Your Food” -A USDA-wide effort to strengthen local and regional food systems.
(Disclosure: I am a past spokesperson for HASS avocados, and did return home with a giant bag full of oranges, lemons and avocados fresh from the farm.)

 

"Let Food Be Thy Medicine”… and be Sure it Includes Healthy Fat

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Greece - Healthy FatAlthough Hippocrates uttered these famous words a whopping 2,500 years ago, they seem more relevant than ever as we search the past and present for strategies to address our current health crises. As a dietitian and nutrition expert, I am often asked, "What is the SINGLE most important thing I should be eating or avoiding in my diet?" For over a decade, my response has been to include one of the best silver bullets out there: add more fruits and vegetables to your plate.

However, my tip is about to change.

After hearing the sessions at today's Healthy Agriculture, Healthy Nutrition, Healthy People conference in Olympia, Greece (sponsored by Stonyfield), here is my new response:

Eat more healthy fat. Increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake, and decrease your omega-6 fatty acid intake as much as you can.

So here's why: Humans evolved eating a diet which had a 1:1 - 2:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. As our diet moved away from traditional, whole foods, and become flooded with fast food, modern agricultural practices, and highly processed agribusiness products, the type of fat in our diet has dramatically shifted. Today, western diets have a ratio of 10:1-25:1 omega-6 to omega-3, depending on the country. Even the modern Greek diet has lost its health halo, with a ratio of about 10:1 (US is about 17:1).

Research strongly suggests that bringing this ratio back to where it has been historically will have dramatic health implications, including reduction of cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, pro-inflammatory diseases (such as arthritis, irritable bowel disease, asthma and lupus), depression, and could even delay cognitive decline. It has been shown to act against factors that cause obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and even belly fat.

In her talk, Dr. Birgitta Strandvik stressed that in addition to BMI (body mass index), the omega-6/omega-3 ratio is an extremely important thing to look at as an indicator for overall health in children. She cited research that found that obese children had significantly lower intake levels of omega-3 fats than healthy weight children, and in healthy 8 year-olds, high intakes of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) were correlated with lower bone mineral density.

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When you look at the long list of ailments above, and consider all of the drugs we currently take to fix them, the question becomes even more powerful-could we let "Food be thy Medicine" as a more cost effective, healthier alternative?

There have been a lot of studies and discussion surrounding the optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the diet, but many experts at the conference agreed that for ideal health, humans need to return as close to our original  2:1 ratio as possible, which lowers all biochemical markers for inflammation. What was really news to me was the emphasis on absolutely limiting, as much as possible, your intake of the omega-6 PUFAS (especially one called linoleic acid) as a critical strategy for creating optimal health.

So what's the takeaway message for consumers?

  • Minimize consumption of linoleic omega-6 fats, such as corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, margarines, and other food products that contain these fats as ingredients (check the food label).
  • Consume at least 2 servings of omega-3 rich fish weekly (such as salmon).
  • Walnuts and flaxseed oil can also contribute in a positive way to omega-3 intake.
  • Grass-fed cows or grass-fed bison have been shown to have significantly higher omega-3 content than conventional cows/bison.

Of course, since many other sessions today highlighted vegetables and fruits (Mediterranean, Greek, and Okinawa diets), I think I'm still going to tell people to eat those too.

What single tip do YOU think is most important when it comes to using food as medicine? I'd love to hear your thoughts!