heart

An Important Step in Caring for Your Heart

Byron Harrison | Healthy Living, Meat

Fat has long been the culprit for causing all sorts of health ailments, heart disease being one at the top of the list. While it is true that fat intake poses major risks to our heart health, it doesn’t have to be that way. Let me explain.

The fact of the matter is that all fat was not created equal and some really good guys in the fat department are taking a pretty hard wrap when it comes to the heart. Having a sound understanding of the different types of fat and knowing where you can find this information in regards to the food you consume is critical in doing the best possible job caring for your heart.

Types of Fat

Saturated Fat: This type of fat is solid at room temperature. Saturated fat comes mainly from animal sources. Examples are butter, and fats from meat sources. Saturated fats are known to increase LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Unsaturated Fat: This type of fat is liquid at room temperature and largely comes from plant based sources. Examples are canola oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish, and avocados. Unsaturated fats are known to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. MOST of our dietary intake of fat should be from this category.

Omega 3′s: Omega 3 fatty acids have been getting a lot of recognition and attention lately as the ideal fat, and so deserved. They are essential fatty acids (meaning we have to consume them) needed by our bodies for proper function. They work to reduce inflammation in the body, including blood vessels. This works to decrease stroke and provides a benefit to the health of the heart and all blood vessels.

Trans Fat: This type of fat is the one that should be avoided like the plague, but is unfortunately consumed at an ever increasing level. It is normally liquid at room temperature but has been chemically altered to be solid when at room temperature in a process called hydrogenation. What is the point, you ask? Aahh! It’s all about better taste, better texture, and making the food last a longer on your shelf. Just the things we fall for hook, line and sinker in our fast paced society today. This type of fat is commonly found in processed foods as well as margarine.

Trans fats are known to increase LDL (bad) cholesterol and decrease HDL (good cholesterol). This is not only bad for you, it is double trouble as it alters the good cholesterol levels as well.

Reading Labels: Your Avenue to Protecting your Heart

Fortunately, when it comes to the foods we eat, laws require that the ingredients be listed on the product packaging, as well as how much fat we are consuming as a percentage based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Both are important.

As far as ingredients are concerned, things to look for and avoid are anything that contains the words hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Those items contain trans fat and should be avoided no matter what as no known level is deemed a “safe” amount to consume.

Limit the amount of saturated fat consumed (usually animal products).Look to fill your daily fat intake with unsaturated fats such monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found largely in fish and plant products.

Experts recommend that the fat in our diet should not exceed 25% of our total calories. Those already suffering from heart disease should consume an even lower percentage than that (15-20% max), and should be super careful to consume only those in the unsaturated fats categories.

Exercise is another avenue to improving your heart health. Speak with your doctor and work out an exercise plan that may be able to benefit you and work side by side your increased attention to fat intake.

free range chicken looking into camera

Free Range Chicken For Premiere Taste

Byron Harrison | Meat

It may seem silly to think that the type of method used in raising chickens can have an affect on the flavor of the meat but it certainly does. A free-range chicken not only leads a stress free life but also enjoys less disease and a great amount of exercise. They are fed quality food and are allowed regular natural sunlight.

In the United States, a chicken that has access to the outdoors is given a free range certification by the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service or FSIS. Since the wording for this certification is rather loose, you really should familiarize yourself with the chicken farm of choice and learn exactly how the chickens are raised.

In European countries, the European Union is far stricter in their certification of a free-range chicken by specifying types of open-air runs, shelter and drinking troughs. The amount of free-range chicken is also limited to an acre of ground, giving sufficient room for daily exercise.

A reputable free range chicken and egg farm will be able to meet certain criteria. The land must have adequate sustainable vegetation, outdoor shade, and shelter. Housing for the birds must be protected from predators and be kept clean. The flock should be fed natural food, vitamins, and minerals. Free range chickens are never given growth hormones or antibiotics. Whenever you hear of a mutilation of claws and beaks, you can be sure the facility is not raising free range chicken.

A free-range chicken is not as slow growing as an organic chicken that places even further restrictions on the type of feed that is used. While an organic chicken may be the ultimate in natural meat, there is little difference in the quality of the meat compared to a free-range chicken.

You can tell the difference between the meat of a free-range chicken and other types of chicken. Because these chickens are allowed access to a natural environment that includes grass, dirt and filler-free feed, their life-long upbringing is more substantial than chickens that are housed in cages with no outside activity.

Consumers that buy free range chicken regularly comment that the taste and texture of the meat is outstanding and also note an improvement in health issues they might be experiencing. The areas where free range chicken is an asset to a person’s diet are high blood pressure, heart conditions, weight control, and multiple sclerosis.

Free-range chicken is a good source of protein and vitamins for your diet. For the best choice in preparing and presenting a great poultry recipe, this meat is premier to all others. Your guests will immediately notice the difference.