Despite the bad rap that saturated fats have, there’s a lot of evidence indicating that saturated fat is essentially good for you. The real harmful, unhealthy fats are trans fats, hydrogenated fats and vegetable oils.
Your body cannot function without saturated fat. It is essential to lung and brain health, boost immune function, increase bone strength, improve liver health, and influence the release of insulin. Saturated fats are needed for proper hormone function. Saturated fat is also an excellent source of energy.
Sources of healthy fats include organic, grass-fed meats, pastured egg yolks, raw, organic butter, wild fish, raw nuts and seeds, olives and olive oil, avocados, coconut and coconut oil.
Coconut oil is loaded with health benefits. It is unusually rich in medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), caprylic, capric and lauric acids.
Reasons to use
1. Supports thyroid function, stimulates metabolism and promotes lipid oxidation (helps burn mid-section fat). A study published in the 2009 journal, Lipids, reported that women who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil daily over a 12-week period experienced a reduction in waist circumference and an increase in HDL cholesterol.
2. Aids in digestion since the MCFAs found in coconut oil do not require emulsification by the liver or the gallbladder.
3. Resistant to rancidity, and the perfect oil to cook with because it remains stable and does not oxidize at high temperatures.
4. Caprylic acid is an effective and potent anti fungal and antimicrobial beneficial for fighting Candida, parasites, athlete’s foot and fungal infections.
5. Lowers inflammation and boosts immune function.
6. Helps fight diabetes, manage and balance blood sugar, and is effective for eliminating cravings.
7. Nourishing for the brain, improves cognitive function, and stalls or even reverses neurodegenerative diseases in their early stages, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
8. Reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers LDL and total cholesterol, and improves HDL.
9. Perfect moisturizer, makeup remover, massage oil, deep hair conditioner, bug repellent, sunscreen, and great for wrinkles and aged skin.
10. Healing antidote for burns, scrapes, cuts, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
Coconut oil is solid in cooler temperatures, and liquefies at 76 degrees. Look for organic, unrefined, virgin coconut oil with no other ingredients listed.
Become an avid label reader. Avoid all margarines, trans fats, hydrogenated fats and polyunsaturated vegetable oils including canola oil, corn oil and soybean oil — all of which contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These toxic frankenfats increase risk of diabetes, suppress the thyroid, accelerate aging, increase inflammation and your waistline.
Instead, use healthy fats such as coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, ghee, pastured butter and avocados.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Paula Owens, M.S., is the author of two books, “The Power of 4” and “Fat Loss Revolution.” She is a nutritionist and fitness expert with more than 25 years of experience, and creator of “21 Days to a Leaner, Healthier You,” an online exercise and fat-loss program. Visit Paula at www.PaulaOwens.com.