Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Food Focus: Oils and Fats

healthy fats omega-3 olive oil
Ever since the fat phobia of the 1980’s, I’ve been battling the misconception that all fats are evil. They are not. However, oils and fats are not all created equal. Which means some are more beneficial while others are downright dangerous.

For example, heavily processed, hydrogenated, “trans” fats and oils that are used to prepare the vast majority of packaged and fast foods can be extremely damaging to the body. In contrast, fats and oils from whole foods and other high-quality sources can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair and nails and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly and even help our brains process and think more clearly.

Including a small amount of high-quality fat in a meal also serves to give us a feeling of satiety, energy, fulfillment and warmth. It is when there are excess fats and oils in the diet, especially heavily processed fats, that we can experience weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, liver strain and an overall feeling of mental, physical and emotional heaviness.

If you’ve been guilty of “fat phobia” and have neglected to include sufficient healthy, high-quality fats in your diet, you may already be suffering some side effects such as; brittle hair and nails, overly dry skin, excessive hunger even after meals and feeling cold.

To give you an idea of the many sources of healthy fats and oils available to you and how to incorporate them into your diet, I’ve listed some suggestions:
  • If you are sautéing or baking, try butter (yes, the “B” word), ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil because they’re less likely to break down and become carcinogenic when used at high temperatures.
  • While we’re on the subject of sautéing, for foods prepared at moderate temperatures, try organic extra virgin olive oil.
  • Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings on top of salads, veggies or grains.
  • Other healthy fats are found in whole nuts and seeds and in their butters like almond butter or tahini.
  • Whole foods such as avocados, olives and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, too.
  • Finally the tried and true wild salmon and omega-3 and omega-6 organic eggs.
Experiment with these healthy fat sources and see which work best for you and leave you satisfied.

Don’t be cheap when choosing you oils, either. Since you will be using them sparingly, buy the highest-quality organic products you can afford and enjoy them to their fullest.

FYI: One final note. Be sure to look at the labels. Good words to look for on the label are organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin and unrefined. Words to avoid are expeller-pressed, refined and solvent extracted.

Stay fit. Eat healthy, and always – enjoy your life.

John Aaron Villarreal

Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program.

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