One of the biggest changes we have made in our kitchen over the last couple years is in the types of oils that we use while cooking. Saturated fats, especially animal fats, have gotten a bad reputation in the past several decades. However, even with a significant decrease in saturated fats in the average diet, heart disease and cancer rates have continued rising at alarming rates. Let’s debunk some of the myths surrounding saturated fats and talk about the numerous benefits!
Healthiest Cooking Oils
1.Grass-Fed Butter has a number of fantastic qualities plus it’s delicious! Butter is the go-to cooking fat in our household because of the variety of benefits it has.
- Vitamin A for thyroid & adrenal health (responsible for ensuring cardiovascular health). It also works as an antioxidant!
- One of the best if not THE best source of vitamins A, D, K, and E. All of these are fat soluble vitamins meaning fat is needed to absorb them. No matter how many vitamins we ingest, they won’t be absorbed as well without fat. Therefore, consuming these vitamins through butter is the best way to absorb them!
- Butter contains vitamin K2 which is found in very few other sources. Vitamin K2 is responsible for preventing tooth and bone decay, reversing arterial calcification, used as a therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, preventing prostate cancer, and the treatment of leukemia and lung cancer.
- Contains lauric acid which is used to treat a variety of viral, fungal, and bacterial infections.
2.Pastured Tallow is rendered beef fat. You can find it in stores, but be careful of the quality you are buying since many store bought tallow options are hydrogenated. It’s also easy to make your own tallow! Whichever you choose, grass-fed tallow is best as animal fats can carry toxins if the animal was exposed to them.
- Has a high smoke point, so it won’t oxidize and cause inflammation like industrial seed oils.
- High amounts of stearic acid which lowers LDL cholesterol, induces fat metabolism, and promotes appetite satiety.
- Contains vitamins A, B1, D, E, and K.
- Great for making lotion, face cream, and even sunscreen!
3.Pastured Lard is rendered pig fat. This too can be found in stores. However, much like tallow, it is important to check the label for quality as sometimes other oils are mixed into the lard. Did anyone else’s grandma preach about how delicious cooking with lard was? She always says how wonderful it is for cooking and especially baking her delicious pies. As it turns out, my grandma was absolutely right! Lard is the #2 source of vitamin D only second to cod liver oil which is great for building strong bones and fighting seasonal depression. It has a neutral flavor making it great for everything from baking pies and pastries to cooking meats and eggs.
4.Coconut Oil is best when found in a very natural state. When it’s left in a state most similar to how it’s found in nature, the maximum benefits can be reaped from it. Refined, fractionated, and hydrogenated coconut oils are all types in which some form of nutrient has been stripped from the oil. Like most oils, there are tons of options out there. So how do you sort through to find what’s best?
How To Find Quality Coconut Oil
One of the best options is an organic cold-press virgin coconut oil. Virgin means that there are no other substances used in the processing of the oil like you would find in refined coconut oil. Unlike olive oil, there is no difference between virgin and extra virgin coconut oil. Cold-pressed means there is minimal heat used in processing it which keeps its health benefits and properties intact.
Another great option is a traditionally fermented coconut oil. This fermentation occurs by wet-milling the coconut pulp. This is said to have the highest level of antioxidants. This process can be done in your own home and is the method of choice in tropical areas where coconuts are found. It is difficult to find this type of coconut oil that ships, but one company Tropical Traditions is doing it. Their website contains a wealth of knowledge on coconut oil, and I would recommend checking it out!
- Like butter, coconut oil is the only other food besides breast milk that contains lauric acid used to treat all types of infections and helps detoxify the body’s systems.
- It is great for sun protection and healing. Indigenous tribes in tropical regions would ingest and apply it topically to help hydrate and protect the skin.
- It acts as a carrier oil, meaning you can apply it topically with essential oils to help carry the essential oils through the skin’s barrier.
5.Olive Oil can be the trickiest to find good quality. Many olive oils in the stores are mixed with seed oils. However, a good quality olive oil is not only good for you but also has great taste! It should have a fruity aroma at first and a spicy peppery taste on the back end. Costco sells a good pure version of olive oil. It is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. We primarily use olive oil as a finishing oil, meaning we do not heat it. Olive oil doesn’t have as high of a smoke point as the oils mentioned above, making it more susceptible to oxidation at high temperatures. It is also great for making lotions and creams!
Cooking Oils To Avoid
Every oil in this category would fall under what is called a seed oil or more favorably named a vegetable oil. Seed oils are liquid at room temperature and are hydrogenated. These types of oils have a number of drawbacks when used as the primary source of fat in our diets. The nine most common seed oils to avoid are…
Why You Should Avoid Seed Oils
Oxidization: Seed oils are unstable and will oxidize when heated causing a number of issues within the body. There are two harmful substances created in the making of these oils which include trans fats and lipid peroxides. We’ve all heard that trans fats are not good for us, and many of these oils claim to have no trans fat. However, they can still contain small amounts of trans fats, but they are below the USDA levels to be included on a food label. Even a small amount of trans fat is concerning when you consider that a 2% increase in trans fat in the diet will double your risk of heart disease! Lipid peroxides, on the other hand, are toxic by products of the oil making process that damage DNA and proteins. This damage promotes premature aging and risks for chronic disease.
Addictive: These oils are actually addictive! Since they do not contain the calories and vitamins that traditional oils do, they never trigger the satiation receptors in your body. This is why foods with seed oils are so hard to stop eating. You will continually want more! On the other hand, foods made with natural fats are filling, leading you to eat less yet higher quality ingredients.
Additives: Since industrial seed oils are unstable, there are a number of additives and synthetic antioxidants in them to attempt to prevent oxidation and rancidity. Unfortunately, the synthetic antioxidants have been found to cause endocrine and autoimmune disruptions in addition to carcinogenic effects.
Illness: Seed oils are making us sick. There is a long list of conditions associated with seed oils which includes…
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Cognition & Mental Illness
- Obesity & Diabetes
- Heart Disease
- IBD & IBS
- Macular Degeneration