All too often we hear that fat is the enemy: the fat we eat is the fat we wear, fat blocks up our guts, fat clogs up our arteries… Now, today most health experts know and acknowledge this not to be true. But the information update has not reached the masses. And one of the areas where we are still sorely misinformed about fats is oils.
After discovering that it is artificial fats that cause us harm, not natural ones, we went from demonizing all fats and specifically animal fats, to demonizing plant fats overnight. It’s very hard for health gurus and magazines to do things in halves. So when they hear kale is good, kale is in everything, from smoothies to cake. And when they hear oils are bad, everyone collectively throws away the oils they have at home. But this doesn’t need to be the way. There are actually many cooking oils and salad oils that are amazing for us. Take for example…
Coconut oil is a rare source of medium-chain fatty acids. These are caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid, and make up nearly two thirds of all the oils in coconut oil. These are all saturated fats too, which means you can cook with them at higher temperatures without denaturing them and making them bad for you. What is more, these types of oils are antimicrobial and antifungal, which means they help to establish and maintain a healthy gut balance, as well as protecting our liver and kidneys from infections.
Extra virgin olive oil was one of the first fats we ever accepted is good for us. Forming the cornerstone of the healthy Mediterranean diet, it is easy to see how we were forced to challenge our beliefs when we saw centenarian Italians chowing down on olive oil. It is full of monounsaturated fats which reduce inflammation all over the body. It is also full of antioxidants which reduce the effects of time on the body. This helps boost our immune systems and can lessen the effects of autoimmune conditions and even prevent cancer. Just don’t fry with it! Olive oil oxidizes and becomes bad for us when it gets too hot. Always cook with olive oil at low temperatures, or, better yet, don’t cook it at all and just have some on a salad.
Flax seed oil
Also known as linseed oil, is loaded with omega 3s and is possibly the single very best source of omega 3 fats for anyone, but especially people following a plant based diet. How loaded is it? Well, at least half of it is omega 3 fatty acids! What is more, the other half of flax seed oil is virtually indigestible. Why is this good? Because it helps to lubricate and soothe our colons. If we eat too much food, or drink too little water, we can hurt the insides of our colons. Having a light amount of flax seed oil to gently coat the colon can help ease this. Just don’t eat so much your stool becomes oily, as this is a problem.
Almond oil is one of the single most nutrient-rich oils out there. It has vitamins A, D, and E, a whole host of B vitamins, omega oils, calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper… need I go on? All of this makes almond oil an amazing energy booster. It has literally everything our immune and endocrine systems need to get us going and keep us going. Just drizzle it on salads or mix it into hummus for a quick energy fix.
Walnut oil is one of the few nut and seed oils that is massively high in omega 3, this lowers your risk of heart disease. But walnut oil delivers a double whammy with a massive dose of omega 9 as well. Omega 9 helps promote artery flexibility, reducing risks of hypertension and heart disease. Furthermore, these omegas cut back inflammation massively. To get all the benefits of walnut oil, make sure to buy it cold pressed and consume within 6-12 months. After this time it begins to oxidize and lose its benefits.