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Eat Heart Healthy Fats

Posted by Daniel Sanelli, M.Sc. on Apr 5, 2011 6:00:00 AM

healthy fatsYes it's true, fats can be healthy for you! That's notwhat I believed twenty years ago. Back then it was very popular to eat "fat-free" foods. We were told by the mainstream diet proponents that it was fat that was making us fat. I believed this and made it my mantra to avoid fats at all cost. I strived my best to get the fat content of my meals as close to zero as possible. It's no wonder I've had so many health issues since then.

Now I know better. Now I know that every cell in our body needs fat and cholesterol to maintain the delicate membrane protecting each cell. I'm also well aware that our brain is comprised of sixty percent fat or more! If our "most important" organ in our body is made up predominantly of fat, then how can fat be bad for us? Well, it's not.

The Weston A. Price Foundation has done an excellent job of devillainizing this vital nutrient. Sally Fallon and Mary Enig explain the importance of healthy saturated fats in our diet. Yes, I said saturated. The chemical make up of different fats can get a bit complicated. If you'd like to understand it better I suggest you read the book Know Your Fats by Mary Enig. For now, I'll try to make it simple for you.

Saturated fats are those that are solid at room temperature. This of course varies depending on where you live and what room temperature is. But for the most part, saturated fats are those that coagulate when they are not heated. These would include butter, lard, coconut oil, palm oil, ghee and tallow. Several years ago we were told these fats are not healthy for us and that they would clog our arteries. What we were not told is that the fats they were really looking at when they deduced this were not organic, virgin, unrefined oils. They were non healthy versions of those fats.

The key to eating healthy fats is the quality of those fats. The more unrefined the fats, the better. In the case of butter, high quality butter comes from healthy cows that have been raised in fields and fed grass. The butter from these cows is full of healthy butyric acid, omega 3's and other nutrients that are actually good for us! Yes, butter can be healthy if it comes from a healthy free range grass eating cow. If you don't want butter, you can always enjoy coconut oil, macadamia nut oil or avocado oil.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has made a comeback in recent days. This is because the nutrition gurus have been saying what I just explained. These fats arehealthy for us. There are other sources of healthy fats as well. Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil (EVOO) is an excellent source of fatty acids (the proper name for fats) that is best consumed raw on vegetables and salads. Nuts are an amazing source of healthy fats. They are best consumed raw and fresh. However, their oils if carefully extracted using an expeller press can also be consumed without concern. Avocados are another healthy fat that should be a part of a healthy diet.

You might be wondering about vegetable oils. If you go to the oil aisle at the supermarket, what will you see filling those shelves? You will see rows and rows of corn oil, soy bean oil, canola oil and safflower oil. I don't want to start a war here, but I will quickly explain that most of these are not healthy oils. These oils are HIGHLY refined and go through a rigorous process of extracting them and then turning them into a liquid oil that will stay on a shelf in a bottle for many months. The manufacturers of these oils even have to add fragrance to them so that you don't smell how rancid they are. And most of these oils are now made from genetically modified grains. The same goes for margarine. If I could get you to change one thing in your kitchen it would be to eliminate all of these horrible refined oils that will do little in promoting health and well being. In fact there are numerous studies pointing to these oils as a cause of heart disease. Get them out!

NOTE: In a later post I will discuss the Omega 3 oils, Omega 6 oils, fish, krill and cod liver oils.

Topics: macronutrients