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Dr. Alex Tatevian has maintained a monthly acupuncture column in the health section of the Federal Hill Gazette since 1999.      
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  Federall Hill Gazette; October 2002

Essential fatty acids (EFA) and cholesterol.

My husband eats what he wants and his cholesterol is 150, while I am on no-fat diet and mine is almost 300.

   Maybe your husband is right. Avoiding food products infamous for their cholesterol load can do more harm than good. This simplistic approach leads to unbalanced nutrition.
    Many of us think we should avoid fat and cholesterol at all costs. The truth is we cannot live without it. Fat aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals in the small intestine. Cholesterol is the raw material that makes natural steroids in the body. Cholesterol is necessary to produce bile and make cell membranes. The brain is practically made of cholesterol.
    Essential fatty acids (EFA), are the new buzzwords in medicine. "Essential" means our bodies can't manufacture these fatty acids on their own. EFAs are considered just as important as vitamins, essential amino acids and minerals.
    Vegetable oils are a common source of EFA , except for the fact that the more processed the oil, the less EFA it contains. When shopping, buy cold pressed (below 120 degrees) oils. This preserves the vitamin E in oils, which prevents the EFA from turning rancid. Many brands of oil use a chemical solvent in processing and this lowers the EFA levels. Light and heat degrade EFA. Avoid oils sold in clear glass containers or in plastic bottles. The soft plastic releases some of its estrogen-like compounds into the oils.
    Simple changes in our diets can be helpful in prevention and treating illnesses. As is true for acupuncture, EFA can restore the physical balance that makes us well. The reputation of many high cholesterol foods are being justly rehabilitated. The list of "banned" foods is shrinking. Salmon, shrimp, eggs, nuts, dark chocolate, to name a few, are good for you once again. If you are curious why, we will discuss it in the next issue.
   Alex Tatevian, DA
   We welcome all questions that you may have.
   You can ask your questions on-line at DoctorGetWell.org, e-mail them to getwell@doctor.com , or send them to:
   Alex Tatevian, DA
   Acu Well Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine
   141 Airport Road, Warwick, Rhode Island (RI) 02889
   Phone (401) 738-9355
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