Many of my clients are still feeling confused when it comes to eating fats and/or choosing which oils to cook with. So, I decided to put together a simple guide that will hopefully clear up any misunderstandings…
After a lifetime of being told that saturated fat will clog up your arteries and make you fat, there is now growing evidence to suggest that eating certain fats (including some saturated fats) may actually help one lose weight and even provide health benefits!
This is because eating healthy fats can provide our body with wonderful ‘ingredients’ that help us make our hormones (e.g. cortisol and estrogen) and protect the health of our brains and heart.
Best Healthy Fats
- Fatty fish, including sardines, salmon, anchovy, herring, tuna and mackerel, are rich in important nutrients and are one of the best sources of the essential omega 3 fatty acids. These are considered ‘essential’ as the body is incapable of producing them on its own and therefore it relies on omega-3 foods to supply these beneficial compounds. Populations that consume the most omega-3 foods, (e.g. people from Japan) live longer and healthier lives.
- Avocados are packed full of monounsaturated fats, which raise levels of our good cholesterol while lowering the bad. They are bursting with healthy protein as well as an abundance of vitamins and minerals.
- Eggs are without doubt one of the most nutrient dense foods. Having once been thought to cause problems because the yolks are high in cholesterol, they are now said to lower cholesterol and improve heart health.
- Nuts and seeds are amongst the best sources of plant-based protein and are also rich in omega-3 fats. They are believed to be beneficial for lowering bad cholesterol and improving brain health. Walnuts and almonds are thought to be the finest nuts, while flaxseeds and chia seeds are said to be the best seeds.
- Full fat yogurt is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, probiotic bacteria, vitamins and protein.
Simple Principles When Cooking With Oils
When it comes to choosing which oils to cook with, it is important to remember that not all oils are created equal and it is important to know which ones to use when.
- When it comes to high temperature cooking such as baking and frying, it is best to use highly stable oils like Coconut oil, Butter, Ghee or Duck fat.
- Moderately stable fats such as olive oil; avocado oil, sesame seed oil and flaxseed oil are best used cold or in low temperature cooking, like a quick sauté or stir-fry.
- Sunflower oil, Canola oil, Safflower oil, Grape seed oil, Soybean oil and Walnut oil are all very unstable oils and should be avoided altogether. This is because they are high in omega-6 fatty acids and need to be chemically refined to prevent them from going rancid. They are highly toxic and inflammatory to the body.