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Essential Fats

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Essential Fats

Many people are confused about which fats promote good health and which ones lead to disease. I understand the confusion.

Many people are confused about which fats promote good health and which ones lead to disease. I understand the confusion.

Fats and oils are a complex topic that I have researched, taught, and written about for more than 30 years. Some people love to delve into the detailed science; others simply want to know the basics.

Here’s my list of the basics–20 things everyone needs to know about fats and oils, how to choose them, and the differences they can make to your health.

20 Essential Facts Everyone Needs to Know About Fats and Oils

  1. The only fats we must eat to live are omega-3 and omega-6; they’re called essential because the body cannot produce them independently.
  2. Optimal health depends largely on having appropriately balanced amounts of the right essential fatty acids (EFAs) in our diet.
  3. The best primary sources of omega-3 fats include flax and algae oil. Secondary sources are fatty fish (herring, sardines, salmon, mackerel, trout, and tuna).
  4. Fat-free diets lead to EFA deficiency, which in turn leads to many serious health conditions.
  5. Essential fatty acids nourish the brain and nervous system. They also improve energy, elevate mood, lift depression, increase calmness, alleviate stress, reduce hyperactivity, enhance concentration, improve mental processing, and accelerate learning.
  6. The health and appearance of skin, hair, and nails are noticeably improved with EFA intake.
  7. Daily supplementation with balanced omega-3 and -6 fats reduces the risk for major degenerative health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
  8. Weight management can be supported by omega-3 (largely) and omega-6 (slightly) fats, which help reduce fat production in the body, increase fat burning and heat production, and shift the body from burning glucose to burning fats.
  9. Digestion and gut integrity improve with essential fatty acid intake.
  10. Allergy symptoms are reduced when essential fatty acids are supplemented (ideally in conjunction with protease digestive enzymes).
  11. Essential fatty acids (omega-3 and -6) reduce inflammation and speed healing.
  12. Omega fats modulate the immune response and are especially helpful for autoimmune conditions.
  13. Glandular and hormonal functions are supported by the work of essential fats.
  14. Choosing Good Fats and Oils

  15. The ideal oil blend contains flax and algae oils (good sources of omega-3), blended with omega-6 fats (organic sunflower and sesame oils) and other minor ingredients to support thorough assimilation.
  16. The best oils are the least refined, pressed at low temperatures without exposure to light or oxygen. They must be refrigerated.
  17. Nuts and seeds supply mainly omega-6 fats. They are a highly nutritious snack when eaten whole, raw, and fresh.
  18. Cooking oils made from corn, soybeans, canola, safflower, and peanuts are frequently damaged during the hydrogenation process to enhance shelf life. This process removes healthy ingredients and produces toxic molecules.
  19. Dark glass bottles are the best containers for packaging oils. Oils must be protected from light, heat, and oxygen.
  20. All hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are harmful to health and must be avoided. I suggest you photocopy this list and put it on your refrigerator. It will help you remember to make the right choices, because
  21. Choosing the right fat matters.
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