The Skinny on Good Fats
Growing up we were all told that fat was bad, stick to low fat products and you'll be healthy and it will help you loose weight. If i had stuck to that i would still be very ill and most likely on medication still. Changing our attitude towards fat takes time but finding out the health and healing benefits of good fats can be life changing.. it was for me. So here is a brief overview of the fats and oils i use, some health benefits and what they can be used for.
Butter – We LOVE butter, so much so that if I leave it out I will often catch the kids sneaking some. Butter is best if it is made from organic, raw, grass-fed milk. Grass fed cows produce superior nutritional properties. It has an amazing amount of natural benefits but just to name a few, it contains anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage, is a great source of Vitamins E and K and the saturated fats in butter contain Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which is a potent anti-cancer/tumor agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster. Vitamin D is also found naturally in butter and is essential for the absorption of calcium. I use butter in a vast variety of cooking and frying and alternate it between other good fats to enhance the flavour of my recipes. My favourite though, is a thick spread of butter on freshly cooked warm banana bread. Coconut Oil – Cold pressed organic coconut oil is super popular in our house and I use it over and over in my cooking. And it’s easy to see why when you know the health benefits of this super oil. Coconut oil is great for cooking, especially in high temperatures. It is the healthiest option as its smoke point is much higher than other oils. This means that it holds its molecular structure at higher heat unlike olive oil. Coconut oil has a unique taste that sometimes requires some getting used to but can add so many health benefits at the same time, such as helping to boost your metabolism, it also helps ease sugar cravings, which can assist in helping shed those extra unwanted kg’s and assists with easing digestion. A truly versatile oil for cooking, to use in baking, smoothies, raw treats or over salads as the fruity flavour adds another dimension to dressings especially in summer.
Raw Plant Based Fats – I’m talking Avocados, nuts and seeds. Avocados contain a rich variety of healthy benefits with nutrients including Vitamin E, folate, potassium – this helps to regulate blood pressure and phytosterols, helping to reduce cholesterol absorption, and can also help control blood sugar levels – this is essential when trying to loose excess body fat as a sharp rise or decrease in blood sugar can trigger you to make bad food choices. Nuts & seeds are used a lot in plant based lifestyles and the increasingly popular Paleo diet. Macadamias, Almonds, Walnuts and ground flaxseeds are low in sugar and especially rich in omega-3 fats, which help to lower inflammation in your body. Also many nuts and seeds contain magnesium, potassium and are rich in Vitamin E, an antioxidants to help keep your skin glowing.
Ghee – Ghee is less likely to be on your shopping list but is becoming more popular to use as its used in many popular diets, such a the Paleo diet. I would compare ghee to coconut oil as its packed with healing properties but ghee gives a smoother butter like taste. It is versatile (as it also has a very high smoke point of 250c) and stable for cooking and frying but hasn’t been given the spot light it deserves. Ghee is power packed with Vitamins A & E, K2 and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). It helps to assist digestion and to strengthen the immune system due to its concentration of short chain fatty acids. Ghee is also a wonderful substitute for those who are sensitive to dairy or are suffering from inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions like IBS, Diverticular issues etc.
The spotlight on food is ever increasing at the moment. The positive to that is we get to learn so much more about what we are actually putting into our bodies and how it effects us. The problem is that there are so many opinions - eat this, don't eat that, if you want to be lean do this, if you want to build muscle do that. We are constantly bombarded with so much information. All the oils and fats above have been tried and tested by me and my health has always been the decider. Suffering with a high inflammatory autoimmune disease means that if my body isn't handling something well I know about it and in a big way. Introducing good fats into my every day foods, replacing bad vegetable oils with healthy oils such as coconut and olive oil and using super fats like butter and ghee has probably been the biggest positive change next to cutting out sugars and processed foods in not only healing my body to support my immune system but helping me to be as lean and strong as I am today.