There is a great deal of confusing information these days about oils and fats, which leads to several questions, such as: “Which ones are healthy, which ones aren’t?” “How do I know I am getting the right amount of fat in my diet?” “Which fats and oils are safe for cooking?” “Even the labels are confusing….what should I look for when reading labels to find the right oil?” Do any of these questions sound familiar? Let’s get some answers….
Not all oils and fats are created equal – healthy oils and fats vs unhealthy:
- Unhealthy fats are heavily processed, hydrogenated oils and ‘trans’ fats that are used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body.
- Healthy fats and oils from whole foods and other high-quality sources can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair and nails and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly. Our bodies also need fat for insulation and to protect and hold our organs in place.
- Whole nuts and seeds, and butters like almond butter or tahini contain healthy fats.
- Whole foods such as avocados, olives and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with wild salmon and omega-3 and omega-6 organic eggs.
How do you know when you are getting the right amount of good oil and fat?
- A healthy percentage of high-quality fat in a meal satisfies and leaves feelings of energy, fulfillment and warmth.
- When there are excess fats and oils in the diet, especially heavily processed fats, symptoms can include weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, liver strain and an overall feeling of mental, physical and emotional heaviness.
- Signs of insufficient high-quality fats are brittle hair and nails, dry skin, hunger after meals and feeling cold.
Which healthy fats and oils are safe for cooking?
- For sautéing and baking, try butter, ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil because they do not break down when used at high temperatures.
- When sautéing foods at moderate temperatures, try organic extra virgin olive oil. Be careful not to use too high of heat – the olive oil should not be ‘smoking’.
- Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings on top of salads, veggies or grains.
What should you look for on the label when shopping for high quality oils?
- When selecting oils, buy the highest-quality organic products you can afford, since cooking oils are the backbone of so many dishes.
- Good words to look for on the label are organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin and unrefined.
- Words to avoid are expeller-pressed, refined and solvent extracted.
There are many healthy choices, each with its own unique attributes, such as texture, color and flavor. Experiment with healthy fat sources and see which work best for you and leave you satisfied and full of energy.
Are you wanting to learn more about which foods, fats and oils will sustain and support you in your busy life? Are you wanting to increase your energy? With the right nutritional information and some positive support, you can increase you energy, reduce stress and take your health to the next level! Contact me – I can help you tweak your diet and lifestyle to increase your energy and reach your health goals.
With writings shared by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition