Oils & Fats

We need some fat in our diet.  Fats help with the absorption of some vitamins, provide a source of energy, maintain cell membranes and regulate cholesterol. There are many different types and sources of fat in our diets today.  Basically they are good fats and bad fats split up so:

HEALTHY FATS  (known as unsaturates):

Monounsaturated fats: Olive, canola and peanut oils, sunflower oil, avocados, non-hydrogenated margarines, nuts and seeds.
Polyunsaturated fats: Soybean oil, corn oil, Safflower oil, flaxseed, walnuts, sesame foods and pumpkin seeds, soya milk, tofu and fatty fish like salmon, sardines and tuna.

Omega-3 fat:  Safflower, sesame, sunflower and corn oils, non-hydrogenated margarines, nuts and seeds

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat.  These are often known as the super fats that are good for the heart and the brain, preventing depression, reducing memory loss, heart disease, arthritis and such.

Omega-6 fat:  Fattier fish, canola and soybean oils, flax seed, omega-3 eggs, walnuts

Omegas – omega 3 and omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential nutrients for health

These fats are good for your heart, your cholesterol and overall health.   Both omega 3 and 6 are found in green leafy vegetables, milk and eggs.  An adequate intake of both may control a number of inflammatory conditions.

A good fat can become bad if heat, light, or oxygen damages it.  Polyunsaturated fats are the most fragile. Oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats must be refrigerated and kept in an opaque container.

UNHEALTHY FATS

Saturated fats:  Chicken with the skin, butter, cheese, Ice-cream, coconut oil, palm oil and whole-fat dairy products like milk and cream.

Trans fats: naturally in some foods at low levels, such as those from animals, including meat and dairy products processed foods such as biscuits and cakes

Artificially created through a process called hydrogenation, which forces unsaturated fats to combine with hydrogen to create a more stable fat, eating too much from the trans-fat group is associated with heart problems, depression and increased cholesterol levels.

So what make coconut oil good for me if it is a saturated fat?

The vast majority of the fats and oils we eat are composed of long-chain triglycerides (a form of dietary fat found in meats, dairy produce and cooking oils. The liver also makes triglycerides).  Probably 98 to 100% of all the fats we eat consist of these long-chain triglycerides (LCT).

Coconut oil is unique because it is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCT), primarily lauric (44%) and myristic (16.8%) acids. The size of the fatty acid is extremely important because physiological effects of MCTs in coconut oil are distinctly different from the long-chain fatty acids more commonly found in our diet. It’s the MCT in coconut oil that make it different from all other fats and for the most part gives it its unique character and healing properties. Almost all of the MCTs used in research, medicine, and food products come from coconut oil.

Consuming too much fat can lead to weight gain.  Vegetarian sources of healthier, unsaturated fats are fruit, seeds, nuts, vegetables, olive oil and sunflower oil.

Good fats such as the monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s have the opposite effect. In fact, healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight.

The answer isn’t cutting out the fat—it’s learning to make healthy choices and to replace bad fats with good ones that promote health and well-being.