Olive Oil, Flax Oil and Coconut Oil - Healthy, Good Fats to Use
by N J Howell
Natural remedy to lower LDL levels
Heart Disease Symptoms
This is part three of a series on healthy fats vs unhealthy fats. Please read the introduction on trans fats for a better understanding of this article.
I am more focused on enjoying the fats that feel good to my body, nourishing and supporting, than I am in defining good fats vs bad fats. I still have the french fries or donut occasionally and I don't want to spiritually confuse myself by standing in one corner of a health-related wrestling ring.
What feels good to your body? Hint, it ain't trans fats!
If you are honest with yourself, trans fats probably do not feel good to your body. They may stimulate the taste buds in a fun way and they may be emotionally comforting. That's where the benefit ends. If you tune in to your colon, stomach, liver and colon after eating a meal high in trans fats, they will most likely feel heavy, burdened and overworked.
This is probably not the first time you've heard of trans fats. It's become such a consumer health uproar that manufacturers are coming out with tons of food now that will say clearly on the label, no trans fats or no hydrogenated oils and no trans fats. That's good. >Some fast food restaurants have gotten the message that consumers want food options without trans fats so we are seeing national fast food chains changing their menus. This is a hopeful sign.
However, I'd like to see someone addressing another health issue with fried foods, which is oxidized fats. >Whenever foods are fried, it changes the fats used to fry them. Oxidization changes the structure of food in a way that makes it hard for our body to get the nutrients from that food. It has to do with nutrient receptors and how our body grabs nutrition as it flows thru the system. One way oxidized fats may affect overall health has to do with the thyroid gland. In studies with rats, consumption of oxidized fats increased thyrozine.
Do All Oils Oxidize?
Oxidation occurs with most oils, including olive oil. The only oil I've read about that does not oxidize when used to fry food is coconut oil. Once banned as a healthy food for those with cardiovascular conditions, specifically processed types of coconut oil are making a comeback as a beneficial food choice. The controversy about coconut oil is due to the high saturated fat levels in this type of oil. Yet, in studies on the effects of regularly consuming virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil, the benefits are many and the risks few.
Virgin, Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil Benefits:
Great moisturizer for skin
Helps reduce inflammation
From my research and my own experience, I believe the saturated fats in virgin, nonprocessed, non-hydrogenated cold-pressed coconut oil are good for me. I feel very good when eating this type of coconut oil. A side effect that I like a lot is that virgin non-hydrogenated coconut oil helps me lose weight too. You may also want to read about upgraded MCT oil which is extracted from coconuts and has the highest concentration of good fats, or medium chain triglycerides.
I enjoy the healthy benefits of eating extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil as well as coconut oil. Olive oil keeps best when stored in dark containers. Organic, cold-pressed flax seed oil as another way to get healthy fats into the diet on a regular basis and helps with health elimination as well as providing those beneficial Omega acids in correct proportion. Flax seed oil is an excellent natural stool softener too!
I eat meat. My body wants the lean protien that meat provides. Mostly, it's chicken or fish but occasionally, I'll eat beef as well. When buying beef, I search for grass-fed beef (as opposed to the more plentiful and typically less expensive grain-fed beef). I choose grass-fed beef because the Omega fatty acids will be in proper balance. Cattle fed mostly corn, which is the case with most beef labeled grain-fed, will have too much Omega 6. One note on beef: If you are prone to gout, it's probably best not to eat a lot of red meat or, in some cases, any at all. Red meats are a potential trigger for gout attacks due to high purines.
I read labels for fat types and content and usually choose products that do not have hydrogenated oils or trans fats. I regularly talk to store managers about getting healthier products in the stores - our voice is powerful as consumers but we have to use it. I usually choose other than oxidized fats, mostly avoiding fried foods like french fries and other fast foods. I'm not insane about it, if I want a fast food occasionally, I have it but as a rule, no.
KFC and a healthy heart ... they don't go together!
Health Care Disclaimer: The heart health information on Ask a Healer is educational in nature and not intended to replace guidance from your doctor. Not intended as substitute for medical attention.