Are you ready? Great! You will see why fats are a healthy part of your paleo diet. In fact, despite contrary advice, you might be surprised to learn that low fat eating isn’t healthy, like “experts” have touted us.
The latest studies have found that you shouldn’t omit fat from your diet — not even reduce fat. Many fats have been proven to promote good health. In fact, some food eating styles, like paleo diet, allow you to eat high fat foods like avocados and fatty meat and fish. Paleo diet indeed comes with healthy fats.
Just think that you are able to eat butter, bacon and mayonnaise again! Of course, you still have to eat these fatty foods in moderation. You probably shouldn’t eat a pound of bacon for breakfast every day, though.
Most people have heard of olive oil’s health benefits, but there are many other oils and fats that can benefit you as well.
But first, let me give you a little background on why we’ve been led to believe a low-fat diet is healthy.
The Low-Fat Myth
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, prominent scientists believed saturated fat was the main trigger for heart disease, since it raised the bad cholesterol in the blood. In fact, in early 1977, Senator George McGovern and the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, recommended Dietary Goals for the American people that included increasing carbohydrate intake to 60 percent of calorie intake and decreasing intake to 30 percent or less.
These dietary goals were recommended to all Americans, even though there weren’t any studies on this diet at the time. As a result, scientists and health professionals have seen how the low-fat diet guideline has led to an obesity epidemic, which is a culprit in heart problems.
So, is a low-fat diet really healthy? Is cutting out all fats and oils helping or hindering your health? Are some oils and fats healthier than others? In this post we’re going to look at why many fats are now being considered a healthy food.
Facts about Fat
Did you know that almost all food has several different kinds of fat? Some are better for you than others. Let’s take a look at some facts about fat.
- The fats we take in are found in plant and animal foods and are known as dietary fat. Dietary fat is a macronutrient. It provides the energy your body needs.
- Fat is essential because it supports different functions for your body. Fat for instance, helps vitamins dissolve and nourish.
- Fat is high in calories. Small amounts add up quickly in caloric intake. Taking in more calories than your body needs causes weight gain.
- Certain types of dietary fat, mainly trans fats and too much Omega-6 fat, play a role in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer.
- Fats are made up varying amounts of fatty acids. The type or amount of fatty acid found in the food you’re eating will determine the effect the fat will have on your health.
- The amount of healthy fats, both saturated and monounsaturated fats from whole foods, animal and plant sources should be anywhere from 60 to 85 percent of your overall energy intake.
It all comes down to this. Some fats are better for you than others. Learn which ones and what types of fat you should be consuming.
As you might have guessed, each type of fat has different nutritional benefits. How do you choose which one is best for you? Actually, choosing the right fats is not difficult. For instance, do you need olive oil or canola oil for heart health? Is coconut oil better than butter?
Here are some benefits of the healthiest oils and fats.
Coconut oil has become very popular in recent years in the U.S. However, it’s been a staple in diets in some parts of the world for generations. One of the best examples is the Tokelauans, a population in the South Pacific. They eat over 50% of calories from coconuts. They have a high level of saturated fat but are in excellent health with no evidence of heart disease — as we nowadays know that saturated fats don’t contribute to heart diseases.
The benefits of coconut oil include:
- It helps your body build resistance to both viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses.
- It fights off yeast, fungus and candida.
- Another benefit is its ability to positively affect our hormones that help control our thyroid and blood-sugar.
- It boosts thyroid function by increasing metabolism, endurance and energy. Who doesn’t want more energy?
- Coconut oil aids in increasing your body’s digestion and it helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
- Another interesting fact about coconut fat is that it helps keep your weight balanced. It does this by breaking down its special fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in the liver for more efficient burning of energy.
Olive oil is a major element of the Mediterranean diet and has been a dietary staple in that part of the world for generations. Studies have shown that the fatty acids and antioxidants in olive oil have powerful nutritional benefits.
- People who regularly consume olive oil are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure, stroke and high cholesterol levels.
- Olive oil reduces inflammation, thrombosis and endothelial dysfunction.
- It aids in carbohydrate metabolism.
- Another nutritional benefit of olive oil is the effect it has on depression. The risk of getting depression is lower when olive oil is regularly consumed.
- Olive oil may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- Olive oil can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
- It can protect you against Alzheimer’s disease. In my opinion, this is one of the top benefits of olive oil.
- It helps prevent acute pancreatitis, protects from ulcerative colitis and protects the liver.
For years, we’ve been told butter was off limits. It’s high in fat, which in turn was thought to be a cause of heart disease. New research has thrown that thought out the door. Butter has been proven to be a healthy addition to your paleo diet — though if you are completely avoiding dairy it is naturally out of question. Even in that case you might want to try out ghee, clarified butter, which is for example free from casein, a substance that causes health problems to some people. Here are some of the benefits of butter:
- Butter is rich in vitamins, including Vitamin A. This vitamin is needed to maintain good vision and keep your endocrine system functioning efficiently.
- Another nutritional benefit you can get from butter is its ability to support your immune system and boost metabolism.
- Butter has a perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These fats help keep your skin healthy and promote good brain function.
- Butter is a good source of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). This compound helps your body store muscle instead of fat and can provide protection against certain types of cancers.
- Do you suffer from stiff joints? Butter contains the Wulzen Factor. This hormone – like substance helps prevent stiffness and arthritis. The Wulzen Factor can only be found in raw butter and cream, however.
- Butter’s fatty acids function to protect the stomach from gut infections.
- Lastly, butter is an excellent source of good cholesterol needed for brain and nervous system development.
As you can see, the good fats and oils used in healthy paleo cooking have many nutritional benefits. Each one has specific nutrients to promote good health.
How to use these healthy fats in cooking? How to prepare easy and delicious paleo meals? Learn more from Paleohacks, the most popular paleo resource in the web!