Fat seems to be one of the most complex and misunderstood concepts of nutrition, so misunderstood that our country went through a “fat-free” revolution that introduced countless products to our grocery store shelves.
The fact is fat is good, or let me be more specific: Healthy Fat is good! You should not be afraid of foods that contain healthy fats, including whole foods that contain saturated fat and cholesterol. Healthy fats are essential for optimal health because they actually give you energy and are required for many bodily functions, including; maintaining proper hormone balance, normal cell function, absorption of fat soluble vitamins, slowing down the aging process, healthy immune function, slowing the absorption of proteins and carbohydrates, and keeping you satisfied and feeling full so that you do not overeat.
Essential Fatty Acids:
These are essential because your body cannot manufacture them itself and therefore must receive from food. Essential fatty acids can be taken as supplements, be sure you get a professional grade supplement.
Essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. A good balance between these two types of fat should be 3 to 1 omenga-6 to omega-3, but the typical Western diet is between 20:1 and 50:1. To get your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio closer to the ideal 3:1, simply cut back on all vegetable oils.
Vegetable oils are fats that have been artificially manipulated into a saturated state through the man-made process called hydrogenation.
Hydrogenation manipulates vegetable and seed oils by adding hydrogen atoms while heating the oil, producing a rancid, thickened substance that really only benefits processed food shelf life — just about all experts now agree, hydrogenation does nothing good for your health.
Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: fish, dairy products, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds/oil, broccoli, kale, leafy greens and peas.
Good sources of omega-6 fatty acids include: olive oil, sesame seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, peanuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, legumes and free range beef and poultry and wild caught fish.
10 Common symptoms that your omega ratio may be out of balance:
Dry, flaky skin, or “chicken skin” on backs of arms
Lowered immunity, frequent infections
Cracked skin on heals or fingertips
Dry, dull hair
Brittle or soft nails
Poor wound healing
Hyperactivity and or irritability
No/Low Heat Oil:
Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, omega-9 fatty acids, and promotes the production of antioxidants. Olive oil is an excellent salad oil; it is comprised of long-chain fatty acids. Olive oil has many health benefits including: decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, excellent skin moisturizer, stimulates metabolism, promotes digestion and lubricates mucous membranes.
Olive oil is higher in calories than other oils and should be used in moderation. Olive oil is not stable at high heat temperatures, over 320 degrees F. This means it should not be used above medium heat or in the oven or on the grill. It is best used as a salad dressing oil. Olive oil can be stored in the refrigerator, it will solidify so you will need to allow time for it to liquefy again, do not heat to liquefy. You can also store it in a dark cupboard, away from heat.
Medium/High Heat Oil:
Saturated fats great high heat oils. Saturated fats are healthy fats as long as you choose saturated fats that are natural. These include; butter, animal fats and tropical oils- coconut and palm. These oils are solid at room temperature and can withstand higher levels of heat. Man made saturated fats include margarine, butter substitutes and shortening. These are made of hydrogenated polyunsaturated fats and should not be eaten; they are damaged fats (trans-fats) and cause damage in the body.
One of the best high heat oils is avocado oil, it can withstand higher temperatures, up to 520 degrees F.
Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees F and so it should be used at lower heat temperatures. Coconut oil is 64% medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). Medium-chain fatty acids are necessary in our diet and lead to silky hair and smooth, unlined skin, as well as healthy cellular function everywhere in the body. Although coconut oil isn’t a significant source of EFAs, it can increase the efficiency of EFAs by as much as 100%! MCFAs supply quick energy (metabolized in the liver like carbohydrates rather than being stored in the adipose tissue or as belly fat) and enhance our immune system with critical nutrients. MCFAs are quite rare in foods and have massive positive implications for your health. Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasite, and anti-fungal. It prevents heart disease; linked by recent research to lingering infections in the blood and tissues that coconut oil kills. It has been documented to inhibit carcinogenic agents that cause colon cancer and breast tumors in animals.
Coconut oil is highly alkaline and purifies the blood—never clogging arteries since it is liquid above 76 degrees. It is used in hospitals around the world. It is ideal for digestive problems because the medium-chain triglycerides don’t require pancreatic enzymes or bile to digest. It’s perfect for diabetics because it helps regulate blood sugar and supplies energy to cells without affecting blood sugar or insulin levels. It’s been shown to improve insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
Shopping for Oils:
Your oils that are labeled “Virgin” refer to the first pressing of a nut or seed, when the highest nutrient content is available.
You also want to look for cold-pressed oils. Especially for oils that do not tolerate high heat, since temperatures in cold processing are kept below the 116 degrees necessary to preserve all enzyme, vitamin, and mineral content, and avoid oxidation that accelerates breakdown of the fatty acids and robs your body of antioxidants.
Expeller pressed oils are pressed mechanically, to crush the nut, seed or vegetable and causes the oil to run. Expeller pressing creates high temperatures.
Look for oils that are organic and Non-GMO, this means they are from non-genetically modified organisms.