Are you afraid of eating fats? If so, you’re not alone. For the last 60 years fat in foods has been deemed evil in America, as low-fat and non-fat foods became the norm, and we were told that a low-fat diet would help us get the body we want. In fact, it’s one of the biggest nutrition lies that the public’s been told.
It all began in the 50’s when researchers made a link that saturated fats such as red meat, eggs, butter, milk can cause heart disease. These studies were flawed but were picked up by the American Heart Association in an attempt to give the public a reason for the rise in heart attacks. In 1976 low fat and high carbohydrate diet was made part of the country’s health food guidelines changing the course of America’s health as we know it.
We need to clear the confusion and help you understand how important fats are to the body’s health and function. First off, a lot of patients ask me if I eat more fat will I gain weight? What many don’t know is that fats are vital for function of every single cell in the body and burning healthy fats for fuel are crucial for every organ in your body, specifically for your brain function. In fact, your brain cannot function properly without fats.
Sugar/ high carbohydrate diet is the real problem and not the fats. Overindulging on sugar and grains leads to weight gain because it interferes with insulin levels. Consuming good healthy fats part of our daily diet is vital for health. Here’s why:
• Fats satisfy our appetites.
• Fats aid in healthy hormone production in the body.
• Fats greatly enhance mineral absorption in the diet.
• Fats provide a long-burning source of energy – especially for the heart!
• Fats build healthy bile; a substance made by the liver, stored and released by the gallbladder to aid in optimal fat digestion and emulsification.
• Fats help to nourish every cell in our bodies by providing building blocks to maintain healthy cell membranes. (Nutrients in; Wastes out!)
• Fats aid in the formation of anti-inflammatory substances in the body (prostaglandins)
• Fats allow us to heal quickly and effectively (boosts healing inflammatory processes)
Not all fats are created equal so making informed choices about your fats are important. Here at Healing Arts we believe that the body can truly heal with whole food nutrition so when it comes to fats and oils we recommend natures best, nothing processed or refined. Here is a list when you’re looking at labels that will help you steer clear of the bad processed oils and recognize the good ones.
AVOID all fats, oils and the products that contain them if the following processing terms are listed ANYWHERE on ANY food label:
• Cold-PROCESSED (do not confuse this trick phrase with Cold-PRESSED)
INSTEAD, look for these safer processing terms on your fat/oil labels:
• First-cold pressed or Cold-Pressed Expeller\ Pressed
It’s also vital we cook with the right fats at the right temperature as heat can cause certain oils to become rancid and toxic to the body and therefore lose all the marvelous benefits. Below is a list of fats how best to use them when cooking to keep all the health benefits.
SAFEST FOR COOKING
(frying, baking, broiling, grilling and roasting)
• Beef and Lamb Tallow
• Chicken, Duck, and Goose Fat
• Coconut Oil – organic and virgin
• Red Palm Oil – organic and virgin Palm kernel oil is also acceptable)
SAFER FOR COOKING
(quick stir-frying, light sautéing, and slow/low simmering)
• Olive Oil
(Unfiltered is best; should be golden yellow/green in color and cloudy.)
• Peanut Oil
• Avocado Oil
• Macadamia Nut Oil
• Sesame Oil
• Butter/ ghee
UNSAFE FOR ANY KIND OF HEAT EXPOSURE! DO NOT USE FOR COOKING!
• Vegetable/Soybean Oil
• Corn Oil
• Flax Oil
• Hemp Oil
• Pine nut Oil
• Pumpkin Oil (safely roasted or raw versions)
• Safflower Oil (80% omega-6!)
• Sunflower Oil
• Grapeseed Oil
You can start to see now that with the correct information you can make better choice for your health through the fats you choose to eat. Choose your fats wisely and with GREAT CARE to ensure they have been minimally and safely processed, or better yet, not processed at all; and remember. Healthy fats are not the enemy and healthy fats do not make you fat! So, next time you need to stock your pantry you can now do so with certainty in knowing which oils will keep you healthy. The ones below pack a lot of punch and are our favorite oils to use. From lowering bad cholesterol and helping shed excess weight to giving you shiny hair and healthy nails, your body will reap the benefits of these healthy fats.
• Coconut oil – one of my favorite oils as it can be used for your skin and hair. It’s an easily digestible fat, it increases good cholesterol and promotes heart health, while the antioxidants found in coconut oil make it an effective anti-inflammatory food and help reduce arthritis.
• Butter/ghee- I am talking about real butter — preferably raw or from grass-fed, organic sources. The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids found in butter help your brain function properly and improve skin health. More importantly, these two fatty acids are considered essential, meaning the body needs them but can’t produce them on its own; they must be derived from food sources. Butter’s also rich in fat-soluble vitamins and trace minerals, including beneficial selenium, a powerful antioxidant.
ghee is lactose- and casein-free. If you suffer from lactose sensitivity or intolerance, ghee is a fantastic alternative to butter. Its high levels of vitamin K2 also helps strengthen bones, while the fatty acids found in it improve digestion and reduce inflammation.
• Avocado/avocado oil -raise levels of good cholesterol while lowering the bad — talk about a double-whammy. Avocados are also packed with the benefits of vitamin E which helps the body heal, boosts immunity and acts as an anti-aging nutrient for your skin. Plus, it’s chock-full of healthy protein; in fact, it has more than any other fruit. For pregnant women, avocado is also one of the great folate foods, as this vitamin can help reduce the risk of birth defects.
• Olive oil-is great for heart health. It helps improve memory and cognitive function, and works as an anti-inflammatory. Since so much disease stems from chronic inflammation, this is huge. Make sure you use the guide above to ensure the above and here are some tips for recognizing real extra virgin olive oil. Beware of any brand that costs less than $10 a liter; look for a seal from the International Olive Oil Council; check the harvesting date on the label; if it’s labeled as “light,” “pure” or a “blend,” it isn’t virgin quality; and finally, opt for dark bottles, as they protect the oil from oxidation.