This is it, the last word on healthy fats!
While it is highly recommended to incorporate unsaturated fats into your diet, especially sources of omega 3, such as oily fish, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds and walnuts, it is generally recommended to manage carefully your sources of saturated fat - especially from animal sources, as this type of saturated fat can increase platelet stickiness, the reason for it's association with cardiovascular disease and blood clots.
So, going for leaner meat and considering lower fat dairy products is often recommended.
However, not all saturated fats are created equally and there can be some benefit to them!
Saturated fats can be short chain, medium chain or long chain fatty acids. While long chain saturated fats, such as those found in animal products, should be consumed in moderation, short chain and medium chain fatty acids can provide some benefits to us.
Both are easy to digest and can be used for energy, especially good for anyone suffering from digestive or liver ailments, recovering from an operation, or indeed, before workouts for anyone partaking in exercise.
Both are found in coconut oil, which also contains a very particular short chain fatty acid, caprylic acid, that inhibits the growth of yeasts and candida in our intestines. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid—a fat rarely found in nature—that could easily qualify as a "miracle" ingredient because of its unique health promoting properties. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.
In addition, butter contains a high amount of another short chain fatty acid, called butyric acid, which helps to feed the friendly bacteria in our colon. Wow, alot of good things going on!
In addition, as a saturated fat, they have the highest melting point and as such are a much better product to use if you feel the need to fry food.
While frying destroys all oils, some oils are less damaged than others. Udo Eramus, in his book, 'Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill', recommends using refined oils that contain the lowest amount of omega 3 or 6 (i.e. flaxseed, pumpkin, etc) and the greatest amounts of saturated fat or monounsaturated fat (e.g. refined olive oil).
As a result, the best oils for cooking are: coconut oil, butter (especially clarified butter), refined olive oil (not extra virgin).
As a result, I now tend to use coconut oil for roasting vegetables, or for stir frying. A nice way of getting the flavour of a stirfry, but not overdoing it, is to heat the pan first, add the oil when it's hot, fry your food for just a minute and then add a splash of water to bring down the heat, so that you end up steam frying the food.
You get all the flavour, but less damaged oils - a win-win situation!
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