Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Skinny on Fats and Oils

Ask the average American what they know about saturated fats and cholesterol and they will tell you simply that they're bad for you and are the main causes of heart and other degenerative diseases. One would think, with the collective wisdom, that there is nothing good that can come from saturated fats and cholesterol. But – is it true? You may be surprised to find out that including some saturated fats and cholesterol in your diet is actually ESSENTIAL for your good health.

Did you know that saturated fats:

• Make up at least 50 percent of our cell membranes, providing essential rigidity and strength
• Enhance the immune system
• Help incorporate calcium into our bones
• Some have antimicrobial properties that protect us against harmful microorganisms in our digestive tracts

And cholesterol:

• Contributes to cell membrane rigidity and strength, just as saturated fats do
• Is used to make hormones that help us deal with stress, as well to make sex hormones
• Is converted to vitamin D, essential for proper growth, healthy bones, a healthy nervous system, muscle tone, and proper immune system function
• Is used to make bile, needed for digestion of fat in our foods
• Acts as an antioxidant, actually protecting us against cellular damage that leads to heart disease and cancer
• Helps protect against autoimmune disease by maintaining a healthy intestinal lining.

As you can see, saturated fat and cholesterol are needed for many vital processes. It’s when we eat damaged fats and cholesterol from foods like hydrogenated oils, pasteurized and powdered dairy products, and fried meats that injury to the walls of our blood vessels and plaque build occur – leading to cardiovascular and other diseases. Stick with foods concentrated with sources of healthy fats and/or cholesterol like avocadoes, nuts, seeds, cold pressed virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, red palm oil, organic eggs, chicken, and grass-fed beef. That way, you'll do your body good and keep those pipes flowing like they should.

8 comments:

blessed, grateful said...

In comparison to your last post this one seems quite mellow. Your last post woke up the sleeping idiot in me that has an insane talent for ignoring whats right to continue doing what is wrong. I liked it. I'm probably going to print it and hanh it on my fridge, my pantry, and my office. For those moments I may be acting without thinking it will be a welcome slap in the face. While this post is good stuff your previous post has the threads lighting up with chatter, it is you raw and exposed. You are tough Tony, but your heart and passion are fully exposed in that post. Thank you for loving us enough to say everything you said.

Tai Chi Monkey Girl said...

Hi Tony,

Thank you for the info on Fats and Oils. I'm learning more and more each day through your guidance as I take the P90X journey with you and everyone here.

Your previous post "Chat Room Throw Down" has also gave me a kick toward the right path. I am grateful that you have the heart to take time in reaching out and inspiring us to seek out a better path of life.

nick said...

Tony,

Great and important points made with this blog! How do we keep those pipes flowing free and yet at the same time satisfy our hunger for fats and protein? I personally believe that portion control combined with healthy, fresh cooking methods--as you so eloquently outlined here--is the key to success for this particular issue. Also, I was doing some research and discovered an interesting fact about meats and fats:

All fats and oils are made up of a mixture of saturated, mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Calling animal fats "saturated fats" is very misleading, as many animal fats are actually more than 50% unsaturated, and chicken fat is actually 70% unsaturated. If a fat were completely saturated it would be very solid with the consistency of hard wax. For example, beef fat or tallow is made up of about 50% saturated fatty acids (25% palmitic acid, 22% stearic acid and others), 40% monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid, the main fatty acid in olive oil), and the balance polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic, the ratio depending on the diet of the cattle).

I never knew that!

Nick

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