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Essential Fats: Natural Sources
Which fats are good and essential for your health? And which are bad? There are so many different sources telling us different things.
A seemingly complicated issue that we will simplify.
Essential fats increase your overall health and metabolism. They reduce inflammation and protect your heart. But there’s a limit. If you eat too much essential fat, it’s not good anymore. Moderation is key.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are important for your body to function normally. For the health of your:
- Respiratory system
- Circulatory system
- Nerve function
- Blood pressure
- Brain and organs.
Omega 3 is usually the essential fat that most people are deficient in. Omega 9 is considered “non-essential” because your body can usually manufacture small amounts from the other EFA’s.
Ostrich oil has very high levels of omega 3. Small, cold-water fish like herring, mackerel and sardine are great sources of omega 3.
Caution Eating Large Fish (like tuna)
These should be eaten in very small quantities as they contain higher levels of mercury and microplastics. Many microplastics come from recycled clothing made from pop bottles. The fibers shed through washing and end up in lakes and streams and poison the animals and environment. Recycled plastic clothing is not environmentally friendly or ethical to animals and its certainly not healthy for us.
Balance Omega 6 with Omega 3
You need to balance Omega 6 with Omega 3. Many people eat high amounts of Omega 6 (in processed foods), creating an imbalance that can cause:
- Heart and Insulin resistance issues
- Breathing difficulties
- Autoimmune conditions
- Mental decline (sometimes serious)
- Painful joints
- Low moods
- Accelerated aging
- Obesity and
- Abnormal or mutated cells.
What Oils Are Good?
When choosing any fruit or seed oil look for “cold pressed”. This method of extraction does not use heat in the process.
Expeller pressed is something to avoid in all oils. It usually involves the use of hexane, which is a neurotoxin.
Completely avoid these oils:
These fats oxidize very fast, especially in the presence of heat. This increases free radicals in your body which cause inflammation. Most of these oils are from genetically modified foods as well.
Canola oil must be processed with a petroleum solvent to extract the oil, it is then heated (which makes it unstable) and then deodorized using chemicals to make it palatable.
Processed or Hydrogenated = Bad Fat
Stay far away from anything that says:
- Hydrogenated oil
- Partially hydrogenated oil
- Vegetable shortening
These are not good essential fats for you in any way, shape or form!
These fats are man-made and processed with high heat, thus making them solid at room temperature. Examples of this are margarine and vegetable shortenings.
One of the problems with processed foods is that they almost always contain these man-made toxic fats. You can find them in frozen pizzas, soups, crackers, cookies, pastries, pies, breads, baking mixes, sauces and most cereals.
Margarine and assorted vegetable oil spreads are cheaper, but frankly if you knew how they were made, you would probably not eat them.
- They are heated to extremely high temperatures to ensure that the fat doesn’t become rancid, which produces harmful trans-fats which are carcinogenic and mutagenic.
- Then a catalyst containing nickel and cadmium is added with hydrogen atoms, to solidify it. Nickel is a toxic heavy metal which remains in the finished product.
- Deodorants are added to remove margarine’s horrible smell.
- Colorings are also added to cover up the unappetizing gray color.
Recent research indicates that the trans-fatty acids in margarine raise LDL cholesterol levels. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol.
You can actually increase your risk of cardiovascular issues by eating these types of fats.
Olive oil is a staple oil for many people in the world. It is not the best oil for cooking with but can be added to food for health benefits and increased flavor after cooking. Some are very high in polyphenols. A good olive oil will often tell you the approximate amount of polyphenols that you can expect.
Extra virgin is the highest grade available which is the first press. It is also unrefined.
Virgin or Pure
Virgin oil is the second press. It may or may not be refined. Usually anything labelled “pure olive oil” or “virgin olive oil” can be refined and they may or may not have used heat to extract the oil.
Olive oil should smell and taste like this:
- Not greasy
- Can sometimes have a peppery aftertaste specifically at the very back of your tongue into your throat.
Olive oil should NOT taste like this (many of them do!):
- Motor oil
There are a lot of counterfeit olive oils out there. Many are already rancid and moldy as the olives have sat on the ground for days before being pressed. Many are diluted with other oils of unknown origin. Look for a single source olive oil (example: From Spain).
Only buy oils in darker colored glass or from a refrigerator to help prevent oxidation.
Butter and Ghee – Healthy Alternatives
We have been told for a long time that margarine and other hydrogenated spreads are much better for us than butter.
Dr. Weston Price identified a factor in butter that is essential for proper growth and development of the bone structure. He called it ‘activator X’ and wrote about it in his book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration“. Dr. Price was able to reverse severe tooth decay in children by feeding them one meal a day of highly nutritious food, including butter
Human breast milk is extremely high in saturated fat and cholesterol. This essential fat is very important for the development of the baby. This alone basically defeats the entire argument that saturated fat and cholesterol are always bad for us.
Cholesterol is the raw material for the adrenal stress hormones and the sex hormones. The body often reacts to stress by producing more cholesterol. This allows the body to make more stress-fighting hormones.
Butter is a natural product made by churning cream. No chemicals are required, no heat is required, and no special tools are required either. This is a type of fat the body can recognize and use as fuel.
Ghee is butter that has been treated to low heat, to remove the leftover proteins as well as water, making an almost pure fat. Stable at higher temperatures and is great for cooking. It is very popular in Asian and Indian cooking.
This fat is a great source of:
- Omega 3’s
- Butyric acid – a short chain fatty acid that is good for your GI tract
- Lauric acid – an important EFA that is good for immunity and is a potent antimicrobial and antifungal)
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – it’s been studies for its potential role in weight loss
- Vitamins A, E, K and D
- Trace minerals and antioxidants such as selenium and iodine
- Glycosphingolipids – which can help prevent gastrointestinal infections
- Cholesterol (the good kind) needed to maintain intestinal health and development of brain and nervous system in the young.
Ghee is often well tolerated by lactose intolerant people, as the lactose and most or all of the casein is no longer present.
Coconut Oil is also very heat stable (like ghee) and excellent for cooking. It’s slow to oxidize and resistant to rancidity.
Although Coconut Oil has a bad reputation because of its high saturated fat content, it is a healthy essential fat in this case.
62% of the saturated fat is MCT (medium chain triglycerides). Half of these MCT oils are lauric acid which is the most important EFA for building and maintaining healthy immunity. It is also a powerful antimicrobial and antifungal substance… WOW!
Choose unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil for cooking with.
You might like to read “Coconut Oil Basics“.
Many can be incredibly healthy! They must be used only at room temperature. Never to be cooked with. Must be from organic and non-GMO sources.
Every seed contains all the nutrients and energy it will ever need to produce a mature plant. If you extract the WHOLE oil from that seed, then your body gets all the powerful nutrition and energy from that seed.
Seed oils will open up a whole new culinary experience!
- Pour on your salad
- Stir or shake into juice or water (with Lecithin to emulsify for easier digestion)
- Use as a dip for veggies
- Try them on a baked sweet potato – you’ll love the flavor
- Delicious on any food!
Many health food stores carry fish oils for Omega 3 supplementation. There are very few brands that are of high quality. You must look for a fish oil that has been molecularly distilled and may even be a pharmaceutical grade. Molecular distillation removes heavy metals, pesticides and PCBs from the fish. It makes sure that the oils are not heated to high temperatures and all the toxic chemicals are removed. If your fish oil is not molecularly distilled, you could be further poisoning yourself.
Fish oil supplements should not have a strong smell to them at all. If they do, they are probably already rancid or poorly manufactured.
If you are burping up fish oil, there is one of two reasons:
- Your fish oil is already rancid
- You have a hard time digesting fat.
Many people will grab an enteric coated fish oil to deal with the problem. But if your fish oil is poor quality and already rancid do you really want that opening up inside you?
Try a different brand that focuses on purity and quality and if that doesn’t reduce the fish burps, then take your fish oil with digestive bitters and lecithin or find one that is already emulsified. If you don’t have a gallbladder, then taking bile salts is a very good idea.
Won’t fat make me fat and sick?
Let’s look at the evidence. Since when did low-fat diets increase the health of the population?
Ever since we were told the lie that fat is bad, the incidence of heart disease, Insulin resistance issues and obesity have skyrocketed! This observation should tell us that low-fat diets DO NOT WORK.
In the 1960’s Americans ate 45% of their calories from fat and only 13% were obese. Now most of us get about 33% of our calories from fat (especially bad sources) and between 2017 and 2020 the obesity rate was 41.9%. The prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.
You Need to Eat Healthy Fats to be Healthy!
One thing is for certain: You cannot go wrong with whole, unrefined foods. Your body knows how to work with this.
It’s the processed, refined and chemical laden foods that are making you sick!
Important to Know About Yourself…
Many people have tried a low-fat diet and felt miserable doing it. Some people need much more healthy fats and protein than other people. Our bodies are not all the same. One diet does not fit all.
To know if this is you, try eating a breakfast of meat and eggs. After an hour or two if you feel great, then your diet should be more on the Paleo side.
Or try this… eat a breakfast of fruit and after an hour or two if you feel great, then you need less protein in your diet than others.
Just remember that you still need some healthy fats!
What’s your Metabolic Type?
When your body gets its required nutrients, it can clean, repair and maintain itself. Find your specific Metabolic Type to determine what foods contribute to your health. And which foods take away your well being.
About Raw Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds can be an excellent source of EFA’s… but don’t overdo it!
These are very nutrient and calorie dense. We recommend raw and organic (if possible, or necessary). As soon as you roast a nut, it changes the structure of the fat making it potentially toxic.
Eating too many nuts can cause an imbalance in your EFA levels. One woman I knew was eating raw vegan and she ate huge amounts of raw nuts at each meal. After a while she started losing her hearing and feeling like she was underwater and drowning all the time. A raw-vegan chef told her she was eating way too many nuts and needed to cut back. As soon as she did, her symptoms ceased.
We aren’t meant to eat cups and cups of nuts and seeds per day on a regular basis.
What would you rather have…
A real whole food with many healthy qualities?
Or a container of carcinogenic, colored and deodorized slop (margarine)?
Buy healthy oils ~ eat them freely on your veggies!
You might like to read “Scientific References: Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)“