Fats and oils can be either really bad for you or they can actually be really good for you – You just need to learn which ones to choose to incorporate in your diet. Oh, and when I say “diet”, I really mean how you choose to eat for the rest of your life.
Your Body Needs Fat
A lot of people don’t realize that your body needs fats and oils, and if you pick the right type, it can be extremely beneficial for your health.
Your body needs fat! Good fat helps to protect and hold your organs in place, such as the heart, kidneys, and liver. Fat helps insulate and regulate body heat, helps your brain function properly, and initiates a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK), which contributes to satiety (helps you feel full).
Now that you know how much your body needs fat, let’s pick the right kind of fats and oils, and learn which ones to avoid.
Healthy Fats and Oils
It’s important that you choose the right kind of fats and oils, since not all of them are created equal. Here’s a list of healthy fats and oils that you should consider using:
•Coconut Oil – This is one of the only oil that I recommend to use for cooking. Coconut oil is full of Lauric acid and has a high heat tolerance, unlike other oils. Just make sure you get Coconut oil that isn’t refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD).
•Avocado – This is full of Oleic acid (just like Olive and Macadamia Nut oil), vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione, which are all good for your heart. Avocados are also high in beta-sitosterol, which has been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels.
•Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Olive oil is very healthy for you, and studies prove this! What a lot of healthy guru’s don’t seem to mention that you shouldn’t cook with Olive oil! When you heat olive oil, it is very susceptible to oxidative damage, and that’s because the oleic acid in it creates an imbalance on a cellular level that can be very harmful to you, including the increased risk of heart disease and some cancers.
So remember, use Olive oil, just don’t heat it up! Try blending it with spices to make a healthy salad dressing or dip it in a slice of fresh whole wheat baguette!
•Rice Bran Oil – Full of Vitamin E and shown in studies to help reduce bad cholesterol levels.
•Ghee – This is clarified butter, which means that is basically butter with the milk solids removed. Ghee has been used for thousands of years and known for it’s medicinal benefits and more recently, it’s known for being lactose free. One of the amazing benefits of ghee is that it has a high heat tolerance, similar to Coconut oil! Ghee has healthy fats in it and has been shown in studies to contain anti-cancer and anti-viral properties.
•Macadamia Nut Oil – This oil is becoming increasingly popular and recent studies are showing that this oil just might be healthier than Olive oil when it comes to health Omega-3 fats and Oleic acid, which can raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Just like Olive oil, this oil shouldn’t be used for cooking due to the abundance of Oleic acid. Make sure you get pure macadamia nut oil that isn’t refined or processed.
•Omega 3 – This essential fatty acid has been proven to protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, and other diseases. You will find this heart healthy fat in foods like Salmon and Flax seeds.
•Flaxseed Oil – This oil is one of the best sources of the essential fatty acid, Omega-3, which has been proven to be extremely healthy for your body. See “Omega-3″ listed above.
•Nuts and Seeds – Almonds, Almond Butter, Pecans, Walnuts, Sesame seeds,cashews, Flax seeds (see Flax seed oil), Brazil nuts, Hazelnuts, Sunflower seeds, Pistachio nuts, and Macadamia nuts (see Macadamia nut oil) are all extremely healthy forms of fat. They have numerous health benefits, including weight loss, heart healthy benefits, lowers bad cholesterol levels, high in fiber, and even support prostate health. Wowza!
Yes, these nuts and seeds are extremely healthy and loaded with nutrition and benefits, but they are still high in calories. Just remember to eat in moderation if you are trying to lose weight.
Unhealthy Fats and Oils
These oils that are on the “unhealthy list” might come to you as a shock. My intention is to educate you on what fats and oils are really healthy for you, and which ones aren’t. Of course, some of these oils are only marketed as healthy. Don’t always believe what marketers tell you…
All of the following oils become easily oxidized (or rancid) when exposed to heat. The heating process turns the oil into trans-fatty acids, which results in chronic diseases such as heart disease and even cancer.
•Vegetable/Canola Oil – These oils are very processed, and was developed through hybridization of rapeseed. Canola oil (which means “Canadian oil, low acid”) contains erucic acid, hemagglutinins and toxic cyanide-containing glycocides. These substances have been shown to cause nervous disorders, weakened immune system, and even mad cow disease. Let’s just say that I stay away from Vegetable and Canola oil with a ten foot pole.
•Soybean Oil – Soybeans have Omega-6 in them…too much, in fact. It’s ideal to have a diet with a 1:1 ration of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. Most of us are getting way to much Omega-6 fats and not enough Omega-3′s, which has negative results on our health.
•Margarine, Shortening, and Lard – Did you know that margarine, for example, was invented by a chemist in 1813 in hopes to create a healthier butter substitute? It’s popularity skyrocketed when people found out that it was “naturally” cholesterol free. However, many years later, we realized that the trans-fats that are in margarine are actually worse for you than butter ever was.
I suggest that you just skip all of the “made in the laboratory” ingredients.