What are the healthiest fats?
Hi everybody welcome back to our blog. The place for nutrition and gut health information.
Today we're talking about "what are the healthiest fats?"
So I'm going to share the difference between Virgin olive oil, and extra Virgin olive oil. What does that mean? What does refined mean?
What fats are inflammatory and which are anti-inflammatory, and more.
So by the end of this topic, you're going to have a great understanding of what fats you should be cooking with for the best health outcomes.
And then also, which ones you should be avoiding.
What are the healthiest fats?
So for most individuals living in the United States, adding more healthy fats into their eating plan is going to really help them. It can help with better balancing blood sugars and the big picture context of right, adding more healthy fats, subtracting other things such as added sugars and usually kind of refined grains and such. So it can really help to balance blood sugars better.
Our cell membranes are made up of fat. So it's really important that we get some good quality fat for all the cells of our body, which our whole body is made up of all these cells. All for producing energy, healthy fat is really important.
And then in the context of blood sugar regulation, it can really help individuals with type two diabetes, and further, Alzheimer's disease is now getting the label of type three diabetes, because we are finding that there is such a big metabolic component to Alzheimer's disease.
And there is new research, the Bredesen protocol, which we can help with at our clinic, showing that we can actually prevent further progression of Alzheimer's and even there are cases of some reversal when making the right nutrition and lifestyle factors. So really exciting.
Signs of not eating enough fats
Back of the arm bumps
Attention deficit disorder
Poor wound healing
Omega-6 versus omega-3
So let's just dive right in and talk right away about omega-6 versus omega-3 because this is the key to the anti-inflammatory benefits that fat can provide. So you've maybe already heard that more omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory, but I know there's also confusion around this because the foods rich in omega-6 fats can often have a sort of health halo, and they're seen as healthy as well.
And it's not saying that they aren't, but it's just, we need that right balance of these omega-3 fats to these omega-6 fats, because actually if you're not getting enough, omega -6 fats, that can be a factor and contributor to inflammation as well. But on average, most individuals living in the United States are getting a 30:1 ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s.
Ideally, what we want for anti-inflammatory benefits is a 3:1 and a 1:1 ratio could be what's most supportive for reversing and getting rid of excessive inflammation in the body.
Interestingly, there is a meta-analysis where saturated fat and trans fats, which certainly trans fats are terrible. And they're being cut out of our food supply because of how dangerous and how significant a contributor to poor health.
But saturated fats are, it's a weird time where they're getting a bit of a health halo, but then also really frowned upon, but listen to this. So both of those were replaced with omega -6 fats, which I'm going to share what these are later on with these omega six fats, and all-cause mortality went up.
So just to give perspective to it, when I say this omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, this is number one when it comes to talking about inflammation.
Okay, that's great Ashley, but what foods are actually omega-3, and what foods are omega-6?
The fats that have a good omega balance to support anti-inflammatory health benefits, so good ones, are going to be olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, flax seed oil, grass-fed butter, and ghee. These are the ones that you're going to want to incorporate more into your eating plan.
Fats that have a very high amount of omega-6 are the ones that you're going to want to avoid.
So these include most of your vegetable oils, which is so common, right? So it's going to be the corn oil, the soybean oil, the safflower oil, the sunflower oil, the canola oil, the peanut oil, the cotton seed oil, often you'll see these and those kinds of larger plastic containers.
So again, more heavy in omega-6s inflammatory, really work hard to cut those out and incorporate more of the olive oil avocado oil, some coconut oil, and flaxseed oil.
So let me explain to you when choosing olive oil, what to look for, and what the different labels mean. And then also, which ones are best for cooking, which ones you should avoid cooking because that's another conversation where you could have this really good quality olive oil, but if you're going to cook with it, it can get damaged and that can be bad for your health as well.
So next let's discuss about these labels, Virgin, extra-virgin, and refined. And what does that even mean?
I get it like going into that oil aisle. It can be so intimidating. So let me give you some clarity and try to make it easier for you to choose the right labels for what you're looking to cook with.
So refined oil is where heat and or chemicals can be used to remove flaws. It also removes a lack of those beneficial health properties. So on the one hand, it can be more stable at high heat, which is a good thing. But on the other hand, it's the big question of whether we're using these chemicals to extract these oils, secrete this refined oil, and how that might be negatively impacting human health.
And we honestly just don't have really great studies for a lot of these chemicals that are being used in the extraction process. That's just my take on it.
Unrefined is going to be no use of heat and no use of chemicals. I would encourage you to go into that category. So it's often like a cold press.
If you have an olive, you squish the olive, the oil comes out, you do not need to add chemicals to it like a canola oil where they have to add chemicals to get the oil out of the rapeseed. You don't think about sunflower seeds when you crush them at home, how much oil comes out, not much compared to olive, right?
So that's why we need to use this high heat and these chemicals to get that oil out of it. So when you're trying to wrap your head around what oils to buy, try to think of that, like what's coming closest to nature. It doesn't make sense that we would get a lot of oil on list food, like peanuts, not really, right? When you crush a peanut, you're not getting a lot of oil compared to again like the avocado or the olive.
Extra-virgin oil versus a Virgin olive oil
So now we have extra-virgin versus a Virgin.
Extra Virgin is going to be from the first picking. So it's, you know, tends to be greener and it's really sensitive, but it also has a great amount of kind of micronutrients, minerals and vitamins and phytonutrients.
And then Virgin is typically from the second and beyond picking. So the flavor difference might just be a little different.
I, and you should not heat these olive oils. So I recommend buying extra-virgin or Virgin but don't heat it.
Use these for salads, and use these for cold cooking types opportunities. Or if you're like making a soup, you can put some on top of the soup after it's cooked, but don't cook it in with the soup.
If you are looking for an oil to cook with, I really recommend avocado oil because it has a high smoke point.
And what that means is you can heat it up to a high temperature above 500 degrees before it's going to start smoking. And when it smokes, that's when the oil is going to start to get damaged.
Now, some olive oils have a slightly higher smoke point, maybe around 400 some of them much lower around 300. So that's a rule of thumb. I just say olive oil always use for cold cooking, avocado oil which has a more neutral flavor is well used for used high heat cooking.
And then your butter and ghee, which is clarified butter that has a higher heat cooking too. Not as high as avocado oil but higher where I would feel more comfortable cooking with it than the olive oil.
So I hope that helps to clarify some of that for you. And the next thing I want to mention, one of the last things I want to share is that when you're looking for oils, try to buy them in a dark glass container.
Why this is important because oil can dissolve plastics and you don't want to be consuming those dissolved plastics.
So if it's the only option like you're at Costco and buying all avocado oil and they only have it in the plastic. And it's really expensive to buy it from other stores, which is like a real-life predicament that's happening right now. I get it and you just always have to weigh the potential benefits and the potential downsides. And I would probably still purchase that.
Just don't keep it in heat, try to keep it in a cool place in your house so that plastics do not get dissolved into the oil. But if you can find glass that is all the better and olive oil as well, try to buy glass because that light can damage the oil too.
So a darker glass container, another trick is when you get home, you can always pour from the plastic container into a dark glass container for, at your house. And then it's going to be more protected as you use it throughout that month or the next couple of months.
So I hope this topic was helpful for you.
If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.
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So thank you all. I hope you have a great rest of your day and I'll see you next week.