The world of fats is possibly one of the most misunderstood, questioned, and debated of all topics in the health field. We’ve been told to remove them from our diets, to go for low fat foods, and that some fats are healthy. But what’s the truth? Which ones harm, and which ones heal?
Before we dive in, let’s look at some very real facts:
So, which are harmful and which ones heal? We’re going to run through a “remove and replace” strategy for you to make sure you stock your kitchen (and body!) with only the best, healthiest fats to benefit your health.
This is probably a no-brainer, right...? Wrong. For decades, margarine has been touted as a healthy fat to help reduce cholesterol and keep your heart healthy. They gained their popularity in the 20th century because they were made from polyunsaturated fats, which authorities told us were healthier than saturated fats. Guess what? This was wrong.
Margarines are actually a source of dangerous, artery-clogging trans fats. Even though some companies have tried to make a softer margarine with reduced trans fats, remember: no level of trans-fats is safe. And the companies who made trans-fat free spreads? Made with vegetable oils—also harmful (more on that in a minute). Also, margarine is a man-made scientific project; not a real, whole food.
REPLACE WITH: Butter
Rejoice! Butter is healthy! Butter is better! It is a natural saturated fat, a safe fat, a source of important short-chain fatty acids that have many benefits. It can be used by the body as a building block for healthy cell membranes, a healthy nervous system, and healthy hormone production. Butter tastes better, and it is better.
Or, try coconut oil butter ghee, a wonderful cooking fat blend of coconut oil and ghee (clarified butter). It has excellent heat-stable properties, and adds a delicious hint of coconut to whatever you are cooking. One of our favourite brands is Francis—high quality, Canadian, and healthy.
Most people believe vegetable oils are healthy. After all, they have the word “vegetable” in them, and vegetables are good for us… right? Well, yes, vegetables are good for us, but vegetable oils are not actually made from vegetables. They’re made from corn, soy, and canola—three plants of questionable nutritional value that are often genetically modified. They are also harmful because they have been chemically extracted, bleaches, and damaged by light, heat and oxygen. What does this mean? They are a source of oxidative stress in the body.
Most people use vegetable oils for cooking, such as stir fries or to heat up something in a pan. A much healthier, happier alternative is organic extra virgin olive oil and organic virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil is known as the queen of saturated fats—for good reason. It’s so versatile, great for cooking, baking, sautéing, and contains antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial fatty acids. Plus, it’s multipurpose—working great as a skin moisturizer!
And olive oil? A great source of omega-9s, olive oil is great for dressing warmed vegetables (stir fried or roasted), in salad dressings, and even in dips. Omega-9 fats are heart healthy, promote healthy inflammatory responses, balance blood pressure, reduce insulin resistance, and have positive effects on cholesterol. We carry a range of high quality organic olive oils to help you make the switch!
Not all omega-6s, of course, as they are still an essential fatty acid. However, the healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 (the other EFA) is 2:1, and this is what our ancestors got in their traditional diets. Currently, most people consume omega-6 in a ratio of 25:1, or even 30:1, compared to omega-3. Why does this matter? Omega-6 can be inflammatory in large amounts, especially since they are mainly found in processed foods that we eat a lot of.
REPLACE WITH: Omega-3s
The healthy, happy, generous essential fatty acid. Omega-3s help with things like memory, mood, inflammation, heart health, skin vibrancy, energy, and more. You can get them easily through diet with foods like flax, chia, or hemp seeds, walnuts, and oils like camelina or flax oil. Grass-fed beef and natural butter also contain omega-3s, but the highest contributor is fish and fish oil. Supplementing with a high quality fish oil is the best way to make sure you get adequate levels of omega-3! What are some other sources of healthy fats that you can include in your diet? Try things like:
Give yourself an oil change and upgrade to healthy, happy sources of fats. The benefits you will reap are endless.
Want to learn more about healthy fats? Check out Discover the Power of Food by Janet Jacks, a book with a whole chapter dedicated to fats, or sign up for our Lifewatchers program—an amazing 10-week transformation that will having you removing anything harmful, and replacing it with delicious healing foods. And don't forget to sign for our email list to get great deals and expert health advice!
Katie is passionate about nutrition and writing, having graduated with a B.A. (Honours) in English & History from McMaster University. She has worked for Goodness Me! for over 6 years and continues to learn about health & nutrition each day.
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