Not too long ago, we all thought fat-free was the only way to be. Luckily, in recent years we have come to understand that good fats actually exist and are necessary to a truly healthy diet. In this research, omega-3s and cactus fiber showed promise for healthy cholesterol and fat reduction, respectively. Here’s how.
Omega-3s and lipid levels
New research suggests measuring omega-3 levels may help doctors detect early signs of, and prevent, heart disease in older adults. In this study, doctors measured lipids and EPA/DHA omega-3 levels in 276 adults, aged 65 to 95.
Women had higher omega-3 levels than men, and doctors found a direct link: as omega-3 levels increased, triglyceride levels decreased, and women with the lowest omega-3 levels were more likely to have high triglycerides. Also as omega-3s rose, HDL, the “good” cholesterol, increased as a percentage of total cholesterol. In both men and women, greater omega-3 levels meant better HDL/total cholesterol ratios.
Reference: Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry; 2016, Vol. 27, 233-40
Cactus fiber and weight loss
Earlier lab studies found prickly pear cactus fiber promoted weight loss by binding to dietary fats and reducing fat absorption. In this study, 20 healthy men and women, aged 18 to 60, with body mass index scores from 20 to 30, took a placebo or 1,000 mg of cactus fiber three times per day with meals containing 35 percent fat, in two seven-day study cycles. Before this, everyone ate the diet and took a placebo for seven days.
Doctors collected excretion samples 24 hours after the end of each of the three phases. Participants who had taken cactus fiber excreted 15.79 percent fat compared to 4.56 percent for placebo. Cactus fiber was safe and there were no side effects.
Doctors said the study was short and don’t know if the results would be sustained over a longer time, but that the findings suggest cactus fiber may help promote weight loss.
Reference: Current Therapeutic Research; December, 2014, Vol. 76, 39-44
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement, especially if you have a medical condition or take medication. For example, omega-3s thin blood.
Article copyright 2016 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.