Fat has gotten a bad rap over the years, being blamed for the increase in our waistlines, cardiovascular diseases and blood pressures. However, healthy fats are essential to our health! Our brains are about 75% fat so fat is a critical for proper repair and function. Healthy fats support our immune system and keep bones strong by aiding in calcium absorption. Fat also makes foods more satisfying and filling preventing overeating and cravings.
While olive oil has long topped the charts as a healthy fat that should be found in every pantry. While the mostly monounsaturated fat certainly has proven itself as a heart healthy option there are a few other healthy fats you should include.
Here are 4 fats to know and start using in your daily cooking regiment:
Butter: Yes, I said butter! Be sure to choose an organic, grass fed butter so it is free from chemical, antibiotics and hormones. Butter contains important Vitamins A and E, which help with tissue repair and healing, ensure healthy eyesight and keep our immune system strong.
How to use it: Use butter at a very low heat as it does burn easily. Melt some butter on your broccoli, carrots, cauliflower or any other veggies. You can mix it with some salt, garlic and parsley to make a delicious herbed butter for fish and meats.
Ghee: Ghee is clarified butter, and is very popular in Indian cooking. In ghee the milk solids have been removed, so it is very low in lactose making it a good choice for those who are lactose intolerant or avoiding dairy. This also means it can be used at a slightly higher heat than butter.
How to use it: You can use ghee to brown meats, sauté onions and garlic when making soups and stews or scramble eggs in it.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a saturated fat and solid at room temperature. This makes it feared by many but in reality it is very misunderstood. Coconut oil is a type of saturated fat called medium chain triglyceride (MCT). MCT’s do not require bile acids for digestion. This means they are easily absorbed and utilized easily for energy. Plus, it is rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid found in mother’s milk that has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
How to use it: Coconut oil can be used at a medium to medium-high heat for browning meats, onions and vegetables. It may sound strange, but it is delicious for scrambling eggs!
Avocado Oil: Avocado oil is a bit new on the cooking oil scene. It is reported to have the same cardiovascular health benefits as olive oil with more than 50% monounsaturated fat. Plus, it contains Vitamin E and an anti-inflammatory agent called beta-sitosterol, a phytosterol that can help block cholesterol absorption in the intestines.
How to use it: Avocado oil has a very mild flavor and a less oily feel compared to olive oil. This makes it excellent for salads dressings, roasting vegetables and browning meats and vegetables for soups and stews. Avocado oil has a much higher smoke point than olive so it can be used in higher heat cooking.
Article originally published in The Sentinel and on Cumberlink.com.