Did you know that EVOO is an ally of the female hormonal system?
Discover the main benefits of healthy fats with Verónica Estiguin
Veronica Estiguin is a dietitian-nutritionist and personal trainer who is taking the social media by storm. Her knowledge of sports nutrition and the hormonal system of women has led her to conquer more than 137k followers of her. From Verde Esmeralda Olive we wanted to learn with her and hear some of her advice.
After holidays, people tend to go on strict diets to lose those pounds. Why is this type of diet so harmful?
These types of diets are so harmful because they tend to lack many nutrients, in addition to minerals and vitamins. They are low-calorie diets that, both in the short and long term, can create pathologies and hormonal imbalances. These diets are not prescribed or individualized, so they do not take into account the state of the person or the foods they like. If the nutritional plan is not prepared in a specific way, such as training, it will not create adherence. Normally, in weight loss diets, you lose weight very fast (not fat), and by not being prepared for you, you end up getting tired, you stop and go back to eating as you ate.
These diets usually take away some macronutrient, so they leave you without energy. Women, due to their hormones, should follow a specific and prescribed diet. For our sports nutrition clients, we do check-ups every two weeks so that noticeable changes can be seen. I am not worried about the weight, if you are training you can lose fat and increase muscle mass. Weight is relative, measurements matter more to me.
Of all the nutrients that are limited, are fats for their caloric intake one of the most “feared” nutrients?
I would have said yes, if we were in the 1950s. Today, it is very on par with carbohydrates. Ketogenic diets are very much in vogue, which is why fats have been highly valued.
There are still many low-calorie diets, as fat loss requires a caloric deficit, but no macronutrient should ever be removed. Unless someone has pathologies or intolerances. You should play with the 3 macronutrients so that the person is healthy.
Light foods or 0% foods are loaded with Marketing. Many clients ask me if I am going to put fresh cheese or 0% yogurt. As a nutritionist, I recommend whole dairy. Of the best that milk has, it is its fat, it does not make any sense to remove it. It digests slower and helps you go to the bathroom.
Are women afraid of eating fat?
The fear is of getting fat. Fat is a macronutrient that has 9 calories per 1 gram, and carbohydrate and protein 4 calories per 1 gram. The context of the person is essential, athletes and women need fat yes or yes.
How do fats benefit the body?
Fats are an essential nutrient. At the cardiovascular level they are very beneficial. At the energy level, our body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen, and fat as lipocytes. This gives a lot of energy, so it benefits even more in periods of caloric deficit.
We must differentiate the monounsaturated fats, such as EVOO, avocado, soy … and the polyunsaturated, such as those that come from oily fish, all these fats are good. Trans fats do not come from natural products, so these would not be recommended.
How does a correct consumption of fats such as EVOO influence physical performance?
It influences a lot since, together with glycogen, they are a source of energy. In the practice of exercise, normally and at general levels, the glycogen stores of the muscle and the liver are usually used. This deposit is always smaller than that of fat. When you have been training for some time and the glycogen stores have been depleted, we begin to use the fat that we have accumulated, such as the abdomen.
When you train daily, if that deposit is depleted, you can suffer what we know as chronic athlete fatigue. This means that the athlete feels tired as long as he does not eat fat.
Fats help the brain a lot, so it also influences mental health. In addition, it also favors the regeneration of the cell and muscle membranes, so if they are flexible, the nutrients will enter the cell faster. This is key for athletes, since if you eat carbohydrates you are interested in taking fat, so that all the nutrients enter the cell and recovery is faster.
At the intestinal level, fats are key in the intestinal absorption of vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E (a great antioxidant), K (helps clotting) and D (very important for the immune system). If you do not eat fat, the proper metabolism in the intestine is much worse.
How does fat intake influence the hormonal level of women?
At the hormonal level in women, fats allow us to create steroid hormones. Which, through cholesterol, estrogens and progesterone are created. If we do not include 25% / 30% of fat through food, we can have hormonal problems, such as amenorrhea, dry skin, very dry hair … The intake of healthy fats is basic. When a woman wants to get pregnant, we increase the amount of fat, so that the hormones work properly. In addition, it helps a lot to go to the bathroom, since fats help intestinal fluidity.
Does EVOO have anti-inflammatory effects?
Of course, EVOO is a natural anti-inflammatory. It has more than 70% monounsaturated fats, in the form of oleic acid. It is known for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, and it is an ancient product. Just as other types of fats cause reflux, EVOO is a fat that does not produce it. It was used in the past to regulate digestion, to cure stomach ulcers, the gallbladder … it is a natural food, so it has infinite properties. For the arteries, it has many benefits as it lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol. I recommend the Mediterranean diet, about 3 tablespoons of EVOO daily, always Extra Virgin.
Does the quality of EVOO influence its benefits?
Yes, since it is the first thing that comes out of the olive. The green color, if it is thick, the acidity, the purity … When you use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, if you don’t heat it up too much, it doesn’t become trans. On the other hand, other types of oils, such as sunflower, when heated, can become trans, so they would be bad fats.
Would there be a recommended daily fat intake?
It depends on the context of the person. We recommend 25/30% daily fat. You have to take into account if you are a woman, if you are an athlete … etc. When we eat a high calorie diet, fats are a good strategy to achieve that surplus without having to eat a lot of carbohydrates, which could cause abdominal bloating.
What advice would you give to all those who are afraid of ingesting EVOO for “not gaining weight”?
Fats are friends, not enemies. As for health, the benefits are infinite, since they will help you on a cardiovascular level, on a topical level … etc. A salad with tomatoes, seeds and a teaspoon of EVOO would be ideal.
The fried ones, the ultra-processed ones, the trans … As long as a food has 1,2 or 3 ingredients, it is a real food, it is a good food. It brings you many benefits. The current problem is that we do not move. We get fat due to the inactivity we have, such as climbing stairs, moving, running, walking to work … All this is what really affects, much more than healthy fats.
Foods such as industrial pastries, or all those that contain hydrogenated fats, trans fats… they harm you much more than a fat that has only one ingredient such as EVOO. Always in adequate amounts, we recommend 3 tablespoons a day. You can distribute them between breakfast, lunch and dinner. It will always help you more than harm. With a personalized and specific plan like the ones we do at the “Vero Training” center, in La Eliana, Valencia.