THE SKINNY ABOUT FATS
Are you confused about oils and saturated fats? Or are you trying to figure out what the best and healthiest type of oil is to use for cooking?? Here's some insight on oils that shows why coconut oil might be the best choice to use for everything from popcorn to stir-fry...
There are definitely benefits to using coconut oil. They include:
Promoting heart health
Supporting your immune system
Supporting a healthy metabolism
Supporting the proper functioning of your thyroid gland
50% of the fat content in coconut oil is a fat called lauric acid. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat and saturated fat has always been a dirty word. The truth is, years ago the media initially reported studies of how coconut oils were saturated fats that were artery clogging. What was left out of these reports was the fact that the coconut oil used in the studies was not virgin oil, but hydrogenated coconut oil. Hydorogenated oils are the problem! When an oil of any kind has hydrogen added to it to make it shelf stable and hardened, (think margarine or Crisco), then they are loaded with trans fats and are very unhealthy!
When you cook with oil, the heat changes their structure. Coconut oil is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage, which means the anti-oxidents in the oil won't be destroyed or "oxidized." That is not the same case for olive oil or other vegetable oils. Though extra-virgin olive oil is a good mono-unsaturated fat that is also well known for its health benefits, it's not good for cooking, especially if you want to use it at high heats or for frying (I don't ever recommend frying anything anyway!) Olive oil will not be stable enough when heated and is very susceptible to oxidative damage due to its large amounts of unsaturated fats. It is best for using cold, drizzled on salads and other foods.
So, what about canola oil?? Canola oil is genetically engineered rapeseed. Rapeseed is a lubricating oil used by small industry. It has never been meant for human consumption. It is very inexpensive to grow and harvest and insects wont eat it!
Maybe you're wondering about corn oil, safflower or soybean oil? These polyunsaturated oils are very unstable when heated and tend to become oxidized or rancid. Also, most polyunsaturated vegetable oils have too much omega-6 linolenic acid which can create an imbalance that can interfere with production of important prostaglandins (a hormone like chemical produced in the body repsonsible for a wide variety of functions).
So...what kind of oil should you use?? I recommend organic, unrefined, 100% pure coconut oil. It is solid at room temperature but will melt at 76 degrees. To get it to soften, just put the jar halfway into a bowl of warm water and it will start to liquify. The brand I like is Nutiva and it can be found at most health food stores.
If you'd like more info on saturated fats and how they benefit your body, check out this book - "The Truth About Saturated Fats" by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon.
That's it for now... Until next time,
"Live Now - Live Well!"