New news on the health benefits of fats

Fat is essential to health.

It helps the body absorb nutrients and fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E and K, need fat to be absorbed by the body. If you don’t get enough fat in your diet, you risk getting inadequate amounts of necessary fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids.

Concentrate on eating healthy fats like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fats. Monounsaturated fats (MUFA) may help to improve cholesterol levels, which may decrease your risk for heart disease. These fats also may be beneficial to insulin levels and blood sugar control.

Olive, canola and peanut oil are all high in monounsaturated fat. Avocados, nuts and seeds are found to be high in MUFA. Polyunsaturated fats are found in soybean, corn and sunflower oils.

These polyunsaturated fats may improve blood cholesterol levels.

Omega-3 oils may play a role in lowering triglycerides, blood pressure and risk for heart disease. Foods high in omega-3s include salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, walnuts and flaxseed. The omega-3s EPA and DHA may help you focus by boosting brain cells and neurotransmitters.

When cooking, try using different oils for different applications. Extra-virgin olive oil can be used as a salad dressing and for sautéing over low to moderate heat.

Soybean oil, often labeled as vegetable oil, can be used in many recipes from baked goods to salad dressings. Avocado oil can be used in salad dressing and for stir-frying or sautéing. Canola oil works well with sautéing, baking and frying.

Remember to always store your oils in a cool, dark place instead of right next to the stove. Heat and light can damage oils. The next time you think “no fat,” think again and include some healthy fats at meal time.

Spinach Salad with Steak and Blueberries

Serves 4

 PapeAll you need

•1 cup fresh blueberries, divided

•1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Tips)

•3 tbsp fruity vinegar, such as raspberry vinegar

•1 tbsp minced shallot

•1 tsp sugar

•1/2 tsp salt, divided

•3 tbsp walnut oil or canola oil

•1 pound sirloin steak or strip steak (1-1 1/4 inches thick), trimmed

•1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

•8 cups baby spinach

•1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

 All you do

1. Preheat grill to medium.

2. Pulse 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup walnuts, vinegar, shallot, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor to form a chunky paste. With the motor running, add oil until incorporated. Transfer the dressing to a large bowl.

3. Sprinkle steak with pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Oil the grill rack (see Tips).

4. Grill the steak about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, 6 minutes per side for medium. Let rest on a clean cutting board for 5 minutes.

5. Add spinach to the bowl with the dressing; toss to coat. Divide the spinach among 4 plates.

6. Thinly slice the steak crosswise. Top the spinach with the steak, feta and the remaining blueberries and walnuts.

 Tips and Notes

To toast chopped nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)



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