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Health Benefits of THIS Fat

Recently, celebrity chef Paula Deen announced she has type 2 diabetes.  If you aren’t familiar with her, she’s known for using one ingredient in pretty much all foods: butter.

Her strong Southern drawl and warm personality has engaged audiences for her popular cooking shows.  Her love affair with butter (and sugar, among other less-than-stellar ingredients) has certainly raised a few eyebrows though among the critics.

Now this news came out and many aren’t surprised.

This blog isn’t about Paula Deen though (aside from wishing she used her announcement to suggest she is making some lifestyle changes since that’s the biggest driver of type 2 diabetes).  It’s about heart disease.  But I bring up Paula because people with diabetes are at an even higher risk for heart disease.  In fact, two-thirds of people with diabetes die from cardiovascular disease. 

So how can you prevent or at least reduce the risk of heart disease (and diabetes, for that matter)? 

Yes, sure — eating well and exercising regularly.  Let’s get specific.  And since Paula Deen and her affection towards butter was the start of the blog, let’s continue.

Butter is primarily saturated fat.  While some saturated fat is OK — healthy, in fact — most of the science suggests there are much better options, like canola oil, to eat more regularly.  Canola oil is 93% healthy unsaturated fat.  That’s a good thing. 

Canola oil has the least saturated fat of any edible oil.  In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim that  “… eating about 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease…” when consumed in place of unsaturated fat.

The key there is replace versus simply add.
  Oil still has a lot of calories per tablespoon, regardless of the type.  It’s just making smarter choices for the oils and fats you DO use.  And doing so can reduce the risk of heart disease.Here’s another way to help others fight heart disease, too — send them a Valentine’s e-card, through this link.  For every card sent, CanolaInfo will donate 20 cents to the American Heart Association up to $20,000  The money will support the association’s goal of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20% by the year 2020.  You let someone know you’re thinking of them AND support a great cause

While we’re talking heart health — check out this recipe from the CanolaInfo Dude Food recipe collection.  I like this because it combines healthy fats from both the canola oil and tuna. 

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Cilantro and Basil

3 Tbsp light soy sauce
3 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp dried pepper flakes
6 tuna steaks (6 oz/170 g each), rinsed and pat dry
canola oil cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic

In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, canola oil and pepper flakes. Place tuna steaks and 2 Tbsp of soy sauce mixture in large, resealable plastic bag. Turn bag several times to coat tuna steaks. Refrigerate no longer than 30 minutes.

Preheat grill. Coat with cooking spray over high heat. In another small bowl, combine cilantro, basil, lime juice, vinegar and garlic. 

Remove tuna from bag, discarding any leftover marinade, and grill tuna for 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until very pink in center. Do not overcook tuna or it will become tough. Serve with remaining soy sauce mixture and top with equal amounts of cilantro mixture.

Yield: 6 servings. Serving size: 4.5 oz tuna, 2 Tbsp cilantro mixture. 

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Calories     210
Total Fat     10 g
Saturated Fat     2 g
Cholesterol     45 mg
Sodium     240 mg
Carbohydrates     1 g
Fiber     0 g
Protein     27 g

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