It sounds counterintuitive, but not believe it or not, not all fats found in food actually contribute to more fat in your body when consumed in moderation. A lot of what we have been led to believe about supposedly “bad for you” foods is downright false. Saturated fat, especially, has become a red flag in the diet world because it has been linked to heart disease and belly fat. While it’s true that many saturated fats pose a health risk, nutrition studies have found that the saturated fats found in coconut oil and organic, grass-fed butter actually reduce bad cholesterol levels and stomach fat compared to polyunsaturated vegetable oils.
One of the biggest culprits in this saturated fat mix-up is butter. Yes, butter. We’ve all been led to believe that regular old butter, although it tastes great in our favorite comfort food dishes, is not so great for you. Manufacturers try to market margarines and vegetable oil spreads as the healthier choice, but don’t be fooled: real butter is your best bet. Organic butter contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to improve brain function and skin health. Both these fatty acids are essential because the body does not produce them on its own. Butter also contains many vitamins and minerals, and the antioxidant selenium.
Coconut oil contains the good kind of saturated fats that reduce bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol to promote heart health. The medium-chain fatty acids it contains are easily digested by the body and not readily stored as fat; they also improve brain and memory function. Lastly, coconut oil provides antioxidants that serve as an anti-inflammatory to help with arthritis.
In a study conducted with 40 women between the ages of 20 and 40, half the group received two tablespoons of soybean oil while the other half had two tablespoons of coconut oil. Over the course of 12 weeks, the women were instructed to follow a reduced calorie eating plan and walk for 50 minutes each day. By the end of the study, the women consuming the coconut oil increased their good cholesterol, decreased their bad cholesterol, and eliminated belly fat. The soybean oil group, however, experienced the opposite effects.
Macadamia Nut Oil
Many nut oils contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for any diet because the body does not produce them on its own.
Avocados are a trendy food right now, and the good news is that you don’t need to feel guilty about adding some avocado to your salad or having a deep appreciation for guacamole. Avocados are one of the healthiest fruits you can consume, because they’re heavy in monounsaturated fats that increase good cholesterol and decrease bad cholesterol. They’re also rich in vitamin E which boosts immunity, keeps skin looking young and healthy, and helps protect against cellular damage.
The next time you’re about to dismiss a food because it’s “fatty,” do your research first and find out what kinds of fat it contains, because you just may be missing out on a nutritious staple for your diet.