One of our favorite parts of being holistic healthcare providers is educating patients on how they can live their best life possible. This often involves debunking health myths that they’ve picked up along the way. Here are some of the most common myths we hear in our clinic:
Myth # 1 – You only need 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Not only is this a myth, many people count their sleep time beginning with when the brush their teeth and ending when their feet hit the floor in the morning. In reality, sleep time should be the time you are actually unconscious.
Here is a graphic from the National Sleep Foundation showing the recommended range and the extended appropriate range by age. The best way to know how much sleep you need is to take a vacation. After catching up for 3-4 days, go to sleep when it gets dark, and wake up naturally. If you are refreshed when you awake, you now know what your normal sleep requirement is. Remember if you experience unusual stress (mental or physical) or if you become sick, your sleep requirements will be longer until you recover.
Myth # 2 – Eating fat is unhealthy. This myth has been debunked so many times by now I can’t wait for it to die for good. Fat is not only healthy but it is vital for hormone production and for brain function; the brain is actually 60% fat!! For some fat is an essential source of energy. Fat is part of a healthy balanced diet.
But, not all fats are healthy. Here are some general guidelines in identifying healthy fats:
- Saturated Fat – saturated fat used to have a bad name, but not all saturated fats are created equal. Focus on the healthy saturated fats such as coconut oil (best for high heat cooking), and grass fed or raw butter. If you are sensitive to dairy, use the clarified butter called Another source of healthy saturated fat is avocado.
- Monounsaturated Fat – the best one here is olive oil. Great on salads. Do not use for high heat cooking.
- Omega 3 Fats – these fats are found in cold water fish such as salmon, sardines and anchovies as well as in krill (big fish food) oil. Omega 3’s are also found in flax seed and walnuts, though the most complete forms are only found in fish.
Fats to avoid include the following:
- Trans fats of any kind
- Industrial seed oils as they are highly processed and/or high in Omega 6 fats. These including canola, sunflower, peanut, safflower.
- Other highly processed oils such as corn and soybean. Not only are they highly processed and high in Omega 6, they are almost always made from Genetically Modified (GMO) crops.
- Vegetable oils as they are a mixture of the above
Stay tuned for the second part of 5 Health Myths next week!