Welcome back to another edition of 3 question Friday! Every week our head nutritionist Ben answers 3 of his favourite health questions that you’ve been sending in. We’ve got some cracking questions this week!
Congratulations to Jessica, Cheryl, and Barry who all won a $20 gift vouchers just for asking Ben a question. You can always ask Ben a question at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jessica: “Are there certain oils that are harmful to your body and cardiovascular system?”
- Cheryl: “I have a question about the giving up dairy, will I be getting enough calcium in my diet?”
- Barry: “I suffer from gout and arthritis does hemp oil help?”
1. Are there certain oils that are harmful to your body and cardiovascular system?
Ahhh wow! This is probably one of the most debated topics you’ll find in nutrition.
Before we even dive into this it’s best to get some background knowledge. The reason why a lot of people still think that fats are bad is because of a corrupt study that the sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead. The New York times wrote an interesting article about it that you can access here.
There are 4 main different types of fats in oils. Let’s have a look at some different examples:
- Saturated fats (coconut oil)
- Polyunsaturated fats (hemp seed oil, flaxseed oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil)
- Monounsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil, Peanut oil, safflower oil, sesame oil)
- Trans-fats (margarine)
There is a lot of information on the internet that reports that saturated fats are the enemy and high intake of these fats are associated with increased heart disease. This used to be my thoughts as well, and now the science is suggesting something completely different!
Saturated fats have been largely replaced with refined carbohydrates (aka sugars) in the general population. This has lead to the false belief that sugar is worse that saturated fats. But the science now suggests either, or both, are problematic if high in the diet!
Without going into too much detail, the short answer is that everything else replaced with saturated fats except sugar is better for heart health. So, we want to eat mostly polyunsaturated fats, followed by monounsaturated fats, saturated fats, then unrefined, complex, whole-grain carbohydrates and of course avoid refined sugars where possible! (1)(2)
2. I have a question about the giving up dairy, will I be getting enough calcium in my diet?
Awesome question Cheryl! A common misconception is that we only get calcium from dairy. This is what the dairy industry wants you to believe. Despite dairy consumption having many benefits, it is not absolutely essential!
In fact, many plant-based foods contain calcium (see diagram), and to make it even easier many plant-based milks are fortified with calcium.
Why is calcium so important? Calcium is not only important for bone health, but it also plays important roles in nerve health, heart health, muscle contraction and blood clotting.
As we age bone loss starts to occur (about mid-thirties), and we need to make sure we get enough calcium to help prevent this. Especially if you’re a post-menopausal woman because the loss of oestrogen contributes to bone loss further.
Also aim to get minimum 30 minutes in the sun daily to get vitamin D to maximise calcium absorption (3)
3. I suffer from gout and arthritis does hemp oil help?
Gout is a type of arthritis that is associated with elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. High levels of uric acid can cause crystals to form in the joints, causing pain and swelling.
Uric acid is a normal waste product formed from the breakdown of food, particularly compounds called purines. There are certain foods that tend to contain high levels of purines that should be avoided. They are:
- meat – particularly red meat and offal, such as liver, kidneys and heart
- seafood – particularly shellfish, scallops, mussels, herring, mackerel, sardines and anchovies
- foods containing yeast – such as Vegemite and beer.
- Any maybe dairy products and coffee (4)
Studies have also suggested that just by being in a healthy weight range can help to reduce your risk of gout!
If you have any questions or would like to are interested in a nutrition consultation, feel free to email our head nutritionist Ben at email@example.com
This article does not constitute medical advice and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Please see your medical professional before implementing the above.