Fats and oils are commonly judged and shunned by people who want to lose weight. But what are the best fats to cook with and provide health benefits for your body?
When fats and oils are mentioned, some diet fanatics might tell you to stop using them. For a period of time, they claimed these oils and fats to have a negative effect on the body. But there are more recent studies on oils and fats that suggest otherwise. Fats are not all bad because fat is needed by our bodies.
Good fats provide important nourishment to our bodies. Fats build cells, helps our body to use the vitamins that we get from food and helps us to maintain a healthier brain and skin. These are just a few of the things we benefit from using healthy fats and oils. The right amount and type of fats and oils can give our bodies more benefit than harm. It’s a matter of moderation and knowing what type of good fats and oils that you can use.
We commonly divide fats and oils into three types of fats; saturated, trans and unsaturated fats. We also know saturated fats as solid fats. They make some of these out of animal fats and tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm oil. Most saturated fats become solid even at room temperature, thus, the name solid fats. Our bodies only need 10% of all calories from this type of fat and oil to still be called healthy.
Trans fats are processed oils and fats and make it difficult for them to harden at room temperature. They call this process hydrogenation. You’ll find this type of fat and oil used on processed foods, margarine and even on cookies. These fats make fried food crispier, baked goods flakier and help processed foods last longer. These fats are not to be consumed in large amounts since they can raise a body’s cholesterol level and can leave fat deposits in the body.
Unsaturated fats and oils are mostly from plants. These fats remain in a liquid state at room temperature. This is the healthiest type of fats that you can use because these fats improve the body’s cholesterol level. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are all unsaturated fats.
To help you further on which good fats and oils you can use even daily and not worry about your health, here are five of the best fats and oils that you need to try out.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest, if not the healthiest, oils that are used worldwide. Olive oil falls under monounsaturated fats and contains antioxidants which can help maintain a healthy heart. We also know olive oil to have anti-inflammatory properties namely oleocanthal, a phytonutrient that helps reduce the risks of cancer. Most popular diet plans, such as the Caribbean diet, include olive oil because of its health benefit.
Ghee is clarified butter which means they remove all the milk solids through boiling the butter. For years, they label ghee as unhealthy, but recent studies show otherwise. We find ghee to help heal the digestive tract, a great source of Vitamin K2 and can even help lose weight. Ghee is also a great source of conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid that helps prevent cancer, artery plaque and even diabetes.
Canola oil is high on alpha-linolenic acid or ALA which is an essential omega-3 fatty acid that helps keep the heart healthy. We know it to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) because it is free from cholesterol. Canola oil also helps prevent diabetes by controlling glucose. Plus it is also a great source of Vitamin E.
Walnut oil helps maintain great skin. It is full of skin-friendly vitamins such as Vitamin B1, B2, and B3 along with Vitamin E and niacin. Walnut oil is also rich in anti-ageing antioxidants. Walnut oil is also rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Palm oil, particularly red palm oil, was often ignored before but has now become popular amongst people who want a healthier but relatively cheaper alternative. Palm oil is rich in Vitamin E and anti-inflammatory components. It is also rich in carotenoids which help a person maintain good eyesight.
There are several other oils and fats that you can use. Take note, however, that you still need moderation in using these good fats and oils. Although some may not contain cholesterol, there are still adverse effects of consuming too much of these fats and oils. Having enough amount of oil and fats in your diet can help you maintain great health for a long time.