Fats. Which Ones To Choose
You probably have heard by now that fat is not longer the villain and that you should eat a lot of healthy fats. To read more on the subject, read my blog post from March 2017.
Fats are a wonderful source of energy in the diet, they provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances. Fats as part of a meal slow down absorption so that we can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for important fat- soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption and for a host of other processes. I use many different fats in my diet. These are my favorites:
Extra virgin olive oil: Olive oil has been a part of Mediterranean diet since ancient times and is still produced more or less the same way as before: by crushing olives between stone or steel rollers. This process is a gentle one that preserves the integrity of the fatty acids and the numerous natural preservatives in olive oil. If olive oil is packaged in opaque containers, it will retain its freshness and precious store of antioxidants for many years. I use olive oil for salads and for cooking at moderate temperatures and it is my most frequently used oil as it is produced locally.
Coconut oil: I use coconut oil as a home remedy, in homemade cosmetics, in raw food desserts, in Indian recipes or as a carrier oil for essential oils. Just to name one benefit, coconut oil contains lauric acid, found in large quantities in both coconut oil and in mother’s milk. This fatty acid has strong anti fungal and antimicrobial properties. This oil is extremely stable and can be kept at room temperature for many months without becoming rancid. It does not contribute to heart disease. The best-quality coconut oil is unrefined (virgin).
Avocado oil: Most plant oils are extracted from the seed of the plant, but avocado oil is extracted from the flesh of the avocado. Avocado is very high in beneficial fats and even if it has a similar nutritional profile as olive oil, it has a higher smoke point and preserves its nutrients at higher temperatures.
Red Palm Oil: Unrefined palm oil has a reddish hue and is often referred to as red palm oil. This type of oil is especially rich in beneficial carotenoids and antioxidants. However, as much of the palm oil on the market today is heavily processed and oxidized, you should take good care that you choose unrefined and cold-pressed palm oil from transparent source and use it sparingly.
Butter: Butter from healthy animals that have had contact with sun, fresh air, fresh water and healthy soil is a 'superfood'. It protects us from obesity, helps with building healthy brain and bones.
Ghee: Making your own ghee or clarified butter is very simple - a good quality butter is simmered on a very low temperature until most of the water is evaporated and milk solids are removed. Ghee can be tolerated by lactose intolerant people. I use ghee and butter frequently, mainly for stir fries or roasting veggies.
Duck Fat (also known as Schmaltz - rendered chicken, duck, goose or turkey fat): again, healthy animals give healthy fat so be sure to know the source of the fat you buy.
Adding many different fats to your diet gives you different benefits so don't be afraid to experiment with a variety of oils and fats.