There is generally much confusion about what kinds of fats and oils are actually good for us in our diet. What people eat around the globe varies greatly. All societies have their favored foods that contain a high fat content. Fats are good for us. They form cholesterol in the liver and cholesterol forms a sheath around the spinal cord and all of the nerves. This protects the nerves. If we do not have enough of this covering, the nervous system can ‘short circuit’. Nervousness (mental and emotional and physical) eye health and nervous system degenerative diseases can result. There is a need for both saturated and unsaturated fats in the diet. Finding balance and partaking of only healthy sources, assures us that we will gain the good merits and shun the poor caliber types.
The brain is primarily made of fatty substance. We know that some of the fats from our diet supply the components of the brain such as DHA. DHA is a subgroup of fat and is part of a group of like elements, such as EPA and GLA, which serve some of the most important hormonal and communication functions in the brain and body. For instance, both EPA and DHA assist the liver to not become fatty which may lead to over production of glucagon, implicated in Type II Diabetes.
Most fats and oils can supply the human diet with what are termed Omega subgroups. There are eighteen subgroups that have been identified so far. The major categories are Omega 3, Omega 5, Omega 6, Omega 7, and Omega 9. The subcategories fall within these bigger groups.
All of these forms of fats help to build bridges of communication between our cells and between the hemispheres of the brain. They also provide the fat element of fuel for cells to create energy from. We need the fat element to be present when we are digesting proteins. Proteins are better broken down in the presence of fats. Hence all protein sources, whether plant or animal, have fats naturally occurring in them. We get these fats (Omegas) from plants, fruit seeds, nuts, berry seeds, flower seeds, fish and fish livers, animals and fowl and their by products of eggs and dairy.
Having a wide variety of fats and healthy oils in the diet allows the body to gain from all the different types of Omega formats. All of them have differing benefits when ingested in moderation. However, one of the reasons that we have been steered away from a healthy intake of fats and oils has been because of a modernization of farming and food processing practices.
The quality and quantity of Omega sources in wild animals is far different and much healthier than their farmed counterparts, particularly when fish, fowl or animals are fed foods and by –products that are not their natural food sources. Modern practices alter the fat quality and the types and caliber of Omegas within the fat because the food sources are not what would be the normal to the species. The caliber of care of farmed animals, fishes and plants and their exposure to herbicides, pesticides, hormone enhancement, and antibiotics also creates a vast difference in quality when we ingest foods from these sources that have been raised with those foreign elements.
Fat is a natural repository for all of these toxic substances. Therefore, if we eat toxin-laden fats, those toxins become stuck in our fat. This leads to fat being both overburdened with these malicious substances that make us sick, but also laid down in incorrect, non-functional places, such as under the skin, in arteries and inside major organs. This is the antithesis of the healthy qualities that fats should impart. We should have a goodly distribution of some saturated and more unsaturated fats from a cross-section of fat rich animal and plant sources that have not been exposed to man-made toxins.
Wild herbs and plants that have not had exposure to man made chemicals can provide many, but not all of the oils needed for health in the human body. Wild caught fish are, again, vastly different in their health than farmed fish. The healthier and more natural the source of food, the better the quality of fats and oils it will contain, that we will benefit from.
Modern processing of fats and oils has become one of the most devastating concerns for human and pet health. During World War I, there was a need to stabilize oil so that it would not become rancid. It is certainly true that rancid oil is very harmful in the body and causes what is termed, free-radical destruction of cells. However, the solution that was found created another kind of problem.
Hydrogenation is a processing method where hydrogen gas is pumped through the natural oil source. In doing so, the Omega sources are destroyed. These are the parts of the oils that we use in our body. Without the Omegas, what is left of the oil is the waste product. Our bodies have no use for and cannot breakdown this processed oil waste. We cannot derive any benefit from it. But, worse yet, we cannot rid our bodies of it’s residue. It is a great cause of early onset illnesses caused by toxicity of the body. We are further deprived of the health giving nourishment that naturally derived fats and oils and the Omega subcategories that they contain, can afford us.
Processed and filtered hydrogenated cooking oils, vegetal sourced lard substitutes (Crisco etc.) manufactured mayonnaise and other food condiments and of course, margarine, are the most obvious processed fats that we cannot digest. One must remember that all pre-made food, whether in a restaurant or store or at the local food cart, is usually made with these health damaging oils because they are readily available, cheap and do not degrade with heat or time. However, they also do not bio-degrade in us, as a natural food would.
The best choices for fats and oils in the human diet are: Naturally occurring and not tampered with. Pressed oils, fresh butter, and naturally occurring sources like avocados give us fat to utilize and to burn as energy.
When shopping look for words that speak to the first caliber of quality and clean processing. Making the majority of your foods at home insures that you control what goes into them. When eating out, ask for your food to be prepared with butter or high quality oils.
Extra Virgin Organic, Full Fat, Unfiltered, Cold Pressed, Low Heat Process
Nut and seed oils such as sesame, walnut, hazelnut, sunflower, safflower, macadamia, pomegranate, black currant, evening primrose, borage, flax. These offer a wide variety of the subcategories of Omegas
Olive, Avocado, Coconut : are the most heat tolerant and can be cooked and baked with as well as used on food without having been heated.
Cod Liver Oil contains the correct combination of Vitamin A and Vitamin D in a fatty matrix. Fish liver oils only offer vitamin A and are not as digestible.
Fresh fish, meat, poultry, crustacean, egg, dairy products, snake, crocodile, krill, deep sea algae, all offer fats that are usable providing the source is wild or organically grazed or grown.