Friday, February 4, 2011

Getting The Most Out Of Your Food: Part 5 (Can Fats be Healthy?)

Yummy, healthy fats!

So my next question in this series is, can fats be healthy for you?

Again, it depends on what kind of fat. Even some saturated fats can be good for you and are even considered the new "super foods". Lets first discuss bad fats.

Bad Fats:
*Anything that isn’t found in nature (shortening, margarine or anything else hydrogenated).
*Safflower, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean, Cottonseed, canola oils: high in Omega 6 fatty acids. Should not use for cooking (frying or baking) especially – turn into trans fats when cooked.

Healthy Fats:
*The less refined, the better. Look for extra virgin, 1st cold pressed and raw when possible. Things that are expeller-pressed are less refined.
*Oils from nuts and seeds (flaxseed oil, sesame seed oil, sunflower seed oil, etc) can be used in moderation. Don’t over-do because they are high in omega-6 fatty acids.
*Olive oil – best raw, high in antioxidants, should be cloudy and yellow. I like Bragg's brand the best. It is expensive, but the taste is phenomenal.  The yellow color indicates that the olives were ripe when pressed, meaning you'll get more nutrients out of it. If your olive oil tastes strong, it is because it is going rancid. It breaks down really quickly due to light exposure. Store your olive oil in a dark place when not using. 

Can saturated fats be good for you? 

Not all saturated fats are alike.

*Coconut oil – medium chain fatty acids that are easy to digest and sent straight to the liver when they are used as energy and not stored as fat deposits. Contains the least calories of all fats and can even promote weight loss, by increasing your body’s metabolism. Breastfeeding mothers can help their babies fight off viruses and germs (for themselves as well as their babies) by eating virgin coconut oil daily. Virgin coconut oil is anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-protozoal. Even fights yeast infections. Great to use as a skin moisturizer, too. Awesome to cook with. Less sensitive to heat. Doesn’t produce the trans fatty acids that become “free radicals” in the body and degenerate health from the cellular level. Even cold pressed olive oil becomes a trans fat when cooked. If you’re going to cook with it, I would use expeller pressed, it is flavorless and less expensive.

*Red Palm oil - (one tablespoon of red palm oil contains 10,000 IU of immunity boosting vitamin A which is enough to eliminate the risk of the common cold and the flu by 67%. It also contains powerful super antioxidants. It has tocotrienols is known to prevent cancer and stop the growth of existing cancer cells as well as prevent skin aging and damage from free radicals. Keeps the blood thin and free-flowing. It has palmolein, a compound that helps your liver break down sugar for energy before it can be stored as fat. (K.C. Hayes, Ph. D.). Even more stable for cooking than coconut oil. Excellent source of energy! This oil can be harder to find.

Note: can substitute coconut or palm oil straight across for any recipe calling for butter or shortening.

Animal fats, including butter – from healthy, free-range animals who are eating grass, organic is best because poisons are stored in animal fat. However, I'm not talking about the organic meat and dairy you get in the supermarket. More on that later. Butter from local free-range animals is high in Vitamin A which is easily absorbed and utilized in our bodies.

Note on Cholesterol: Mother’s milk is high in cholesterol because it is essential for growth and development. It is also need to produce variety of steroids that protect against cancer, heart disease and mental illness. 

The opening picture is of the fats I use most frequently. I mostly use olive oil for making my raw mayonnaise and ranch dressing. I use the coconut oil and butter for cooking. I'm trying to mostly use coconut oil, especially during the winter when the cows we get our milk/cream from are eating strictly hay and the butter isn't as soft or easy for us to digest. 

Hope you enjoy eating these wonderful fats in moderation, guilt-free. In the next post, I'll continue the discussion with some misc. items I've learned about including, legumes, salt, thickeners and even potatoes. So continue to stay tuned...

Blessings,
Jackie

8 comments:

Mary R. said...

What about bacon fat?

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Great question, Mary. I try to avoid cooking in bacon fat unless it is from a farm-direct pig and the bacon is cured all naturally.

I'm not against using lard, depending on where the pig came from. That is the key. There are many cultures who have longevity and exclusively cook with pork lard. "Nourishing Traditions" researchers strongly believe that good saturated fats are an important part of overall health.

It all comes back to knowing where your meat comes from. I'll be doing another post on that soon.

Blessings,
Jackie

Catherine said...

I LOVE butter, just like Julia Child!

Jenn said...

OH, I can't thank you enough for doing this series! I am going to have to get my hands on some coconut oil! I am a big bread maker and I always cringe when a recipe calls for shortening. The shortening makes rolls so soft and fluffy, but I hate using it. I always end up using it because I didn't know there was a substitute. What is your opinion on that? Does the coconut oil do well in bread?

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I'm so glad to get some feedback, I was beginning to think maybe I was boring everyone with this series.

Yes, I use coconut oil in my breads. It may turn out just a bit denser, but not too much. It is wonderful for frying and great for pie crusts, too. I'm glad you want to try it :)

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Jenn,
Coconut oil does make bread a little more dense and dry. Butter or olive oil would be a much better alternative to shortening. You might have to just experiment a bit to get the right consistency.

Kristal said...

So I was trying to order coconut oil and I found refined and not refined, which one is best?

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Kristal,
I buy refined because it is tasteless. However, if you want to get maximum health benefits, the less refined the better. Hope that helps!

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