I hope you all enjoyed my post about the roles of fat in the body. If you haven’t yet read that, start there!
So now that you know how essential fats are in the health of your body, which fats should you choose? In this mass market there are so many dang choices. It can be overwhelming! Let’s start with what fats you should avoid and then move on to which fats you should include!
Fats to Avoid:
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Vegetable oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Partially hydrogenated oils/trans fats
- All of the above oils are man-made and highly processed as well as easily oxidized. Air, light, and heat oxidize these fats causing free-radicals in the body. Free radicals are electrically charged ions or molecules that have an unpaired electron in their outer shell. The free radical makes the unpaired electron unstable and destructive to nearby molecules and wreaks havoc on the body. Bad news bears.
Fats to Include:
- Coconut Oil: I love coconut oil. It contains a heaping amount of medium chain triglycerides and doesn’t require bile to be absorbed making it great for people without a gallbladder. It is also great for oil pulling. My favorite coconut oils are Tropical Traditions and Nutiva.
- Pastured Pork lard: this lovely fat is rendered from pig fat. It could fall into either the saturated or monounsaturated category as they are very similar in amounts. This fat works very similarly to tallow. I love pork lard from Fat Works.
- Tallow from grass-fed cows: I adore using tallow in my cooking as well as in my skin care. It is so versatile! It is a stable fat and has a high smoke point making it excellent for everything from sautéing to frying. You can find quality tallow at US Wellness meats or Fat Works.
- Palm oil: Just like coconut oil, palm oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides and doesn’t require bile for absorption. It is great for people without a gallbladder. It is a source of beta-carotene and antioxidants. I love using it in baking. Tropical Traditions makes a sustainable palm oil.
- Butter: Butter has been used for centuries and is made from cream. Butter has anti-microbial properties, butyric acid, and anti-fungal properties. If you can tolerate butter, look for a grass-fed source like Kerrygold.
- Ghee: Ghee is clarified butter which means only tiny amounts of dairy proteins remain. It is often tolerated by those who react to dairy and is a great source of fat-soluble vitamins. I have heard great things about Tin Star Foods Ghee.
- Fish oils: I love my fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture and I take it daily. Of course, consumption of wild caught fish is excellent as well.
- Hemp, flax, and walnut oil: these are a good sources of omega 3’s if tolerable, but should not be used for cooking as they are very delicate and become rancid easily.
- Black current seed and evening primrose oils (if tolerable): these are generally taken in supplement form.
- Cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil: look for oil in a dark container and know your manufacturer. I love this kind. Olive oil is great for low-temperature cooking and making salad dressings among other things.
- Avocado oil: another oil that is great for salads and dressings. I also use it on my face using the oil cleansing method so it is clearly very versatile! I use Chosen Foods and find it at Costco for a great price.
So you now know which fats to avoid and which to include, but how much of each type of fat is appropriate and healthy? While every person is different and there is always room for bio-individuality, there are general guidelines. For example,
- The general ratio of omega-6’s to omega 3’s in the diet should be around 1:1.
- You need a mixture of healthy fatty acids in your diet to maintain optimum health
- 30% saturated fats
- 10% polyunsaturated fats (omega 3’s/6’s)
- 60% monounsaturated fat
These percentages will look different for different people as some people consume up to 50% saturated fats from healthy sources and do great while others do better with more of the monunsaturates. The key is finding what works for YOU and always choosing the best quality fats you can, because after all, they ARE the building blocks for your cells!
Stay tuned for part 3 on ways to incorporate these fats into your daily life!
What are your favorite cooking fats? I would love to hear in the comments!