A lot of misperception today is that to be healthy we must eat a low-cholesterol, low-fat or nonfat diet. But the truth is, we need fats and oils, but they must be the right kinds of fats and oils, not the processed fats and oils so commonly found in our diets today.
Despite our obsession with fears about fats and oils, these nutrients are in fact important part of a healthy diet. Each of the cells in our body is surrounded by a permeable cell membrane. Fats and oils are the primary building materials used to create those cell membranes. Cell membranes are critically important because all the nutrients your cells need and all the toxic waste products they must eliminate need to pass through it. If you eat the right kinds of fats and oils, your cell membranes properly regulate the passage of materials; eating the wrong food causes your cell membranes to work against you.
When your cell membranes are not working correctly, your cells will malfunction, which can be the start of any health problem you can imagine. Essential fatty acids is the term used to describe the “right kind” of fats and oils. They are essential because the body needs them but cannot make them, so we must obtain them from food. These essential fatty acid molecules have a specific shape that is critical to the way they work in forming cell membranes—like bricks that fit perfectly together to build cell walls.
Because of the way oils are processed, trans-fats (and other toxins) are found in virtually all oils sold in supermarkets and health food stores, including canola, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed and soybean oils, along with food products containing hydrogenated oils, like margarine and vegetable shortenings. Consider the vast numbers of products made with these toxic oils, such as salad dressings, breakfast cereals, crackers, chocolates, candy, potato chips and fried foods such as french fries. The solution? Eat essential (good) fats and avoid hydrogenated and other (bad) trans-fats.
The two most important essential fatty acids are omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. For good health, these fatty acids must be consumed in sufficient amounts and in the correct balance with each other. It has been estimated, however, that a high percent of the population gets too much omega-6s and that up to a very high percent gets too little omega-3s; this imbalance causes disease. Avoid processed, supermarket oils and food products containing them, which perpetuate this imbalance, and supplement with oils combining a healthy balance.
Pioneers in medical research are helping a number of chronic problems (such as depression, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis) by giving their patients the right kinds of fats and oils. But most people have no idea that the bad fats and oils damage cell membranes and therefore cause disease, which explains why society at large is not demanding alternatives.
As with many of our modern foods, we created technologies that are solely designed to produce the highest amount of oils using the smallest amount of raw materials (seeds, beans and grains) in the shortest period of time with maximum shelf life. Time and money are the driving forces, not health and nutrition.
Today, oils are extracted using huge, powerful presses that generate a lot of heat, which, in the presence of oxygen, oxidizes oils, making them rancid and toxic. Yet these now – toxic oils can still be labeled as “cold-pressed” because no heat was added during the pressing process; the heat is an unintentional result of the high-pressure extraction process. This is why cold-pressed is a meaningless term and is not useful for you in
determining what to eat and what to avoid. Harsh solvents are used to extract oils, which remain in the oil as a residue.
To put healthful oils in your diet, eat high-quality olive oil and flaxseed oil. Also, beneficial fatty acids can be found in organic, fresh, unprocessed food in its natural state, such as raw seeds, raw nuts and avocados. High-quality eggs, meat and fish are also good sources of fatty acids.
Keep in mind, though, that essential fatty acids are readily damaged by heat. Use the minimum heat necessary to cook these foods. Supplement your diet with a high-quality essential fatty acid superfood such as Sacha Inchi Oil (http://SachaInchiOilSingapore.com).
Check your kitchen and refrigerator shelves. Avoid using processed oils, particularly hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils (margarine, vegetable shortening, etc.), and products made with those oils, including many baked goods, crackers, chips, peanut butter and nondairy creamer.