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The Skinny on Fat – Anti-Inflammatory Omega-3’s, Organic Coconut Oil, and Lauric Acid

Healthy fats, like this avocado oil, can and should be added to your diet to maintain optimal health.

Healthy fats, like this avocado oil, can and should be added to your diet to maintain optimal health.

It’s an easy correlation to make that the fat you consume must be the fat that ends up around your waistline… right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. In fact, cutting all fat out of your diet would be quite detrimental to your health. As more and more people are realizing that the “no fat all carb” diet just isn’t cutting it, questions are arising as to what fat really does for us. While we understand that this is a topic that is constantly evolving, we are happy to engage in the conversation with you.

Why is Fat Essential?

Here is the most important thing to remember: fat, like carbohydrates and protein, is an essential nutrient. The key word here is “essential”. Your body uses fats to carry and absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and it keeps our hair and skin healthy. Also, essential fatty acids (like omega-3’s) do not naturally occur in the body and must be consumed through food. The body burns fat as a quick and concentrated energy source and fat is responsible for mineral absorption. Fat serves even more functions than these, so it’s safe to say that fats are not only important, but also absolutely essential for good health.

Does this mean that you should get on a cheeseburger, fried food and butter diet? Of course not! Your body does not process all fats the same, and it’s always important to take into account your family’s health history and your overall diet.

Not All Fats Are Created Equal

Hydrogenated oils are now widely accepted as unhealthy. Nutiva's organic, cold-pressed coconut oil and organic red palm oil are never hydrogenated and contain no hexane.

Hydrogenated oils are now widely accepted as unhealthy. Nutiva’s Organic, cold-pressed Coconut Oil and Organic Red Palm Oil are never hydrogenated and contain no hexane.

You may have heard nutritionists, doctors, and health foodies talk about “good fat” versus “bad fat”. These buzzwords came into play after health specialist realized that the previously subscribed to notion that all fats are evil was not in fact true. Fats are complex, and they truly are not created equally.

Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s – Finding the Balance

chia pudding

Chia pudding is a wonderful (and tasty) way to get anti-inflammatory omega-3’s in the body.

Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are fats that don’t naturally occur in our bodies and must be consumed through foods. Of these EFA’s, only two are known to be essential for human health (though others can be supportive to health): omega-3 (specifically alpha-linolenic acid) & omega-6 (linoleic acid). While we require both of these EFA’s, many of us are grossly imbalanced in them.

As consumers began to realize that fats like butter and lard were not so great for their health, they demanded a better alternative and found it in plant-based oils. Oils like sunflower, safflower and corn oil are extremely high in omega-6 and have very little, if any, omega-3. Because these oils are in such high demand, they are often times made with GMO produce as well. Someone who eats a typical western diet of fried and processed foods is likely consuming well over the necessary amount of omega-6, which are connected to inflammatory diseases like cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes in high quantities.

The ratio imbalance of the two types of EFA’s creates competition, and because the ratio is typically higher on the omega-6 side, that EFA usually wins. A diet with more balanced EFA ratios (more omega-3 and less omega 6) is tied to less occurrences of inflammatory disease. Our absolute favorite sources of omega-3 are chia and hemp seeds. We love that these seeds are not only nutritious and easy to consume, but eating things like chia seed pudding and hummus with hemp are delicious too! Consider trading your potentially toxic fish oil for an organic, plant-based source of omega-3’s. Vegans, rest easy knowing that there are other options for consuming omega-3 (like hemp and chia seed) besides fish oil.

Coconut oil and Fat

Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids and lauric acid. It is also low in omega-6, which makes it an ideal and healthy fat.

Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids and lauric acid. It is also low in omega-6, which makes it an ideal and healthy fat.

Though the coconut-rich Pacific Islander diet caught on in America, it was unfairly written off in the 1960s as a “bad fat” that had adverse affects on health. The media failed to report that the coconut oil that had been put under scrutiny for being unhealthy was artificially hydrogenated.

Coconut oil in its raw state is rich in lauric acid, a rare medium-chain fatty acid found in mother’s milk and tied to boosting metabolism.It also has less than 1% of omega-6, and has been tied to weight loss because of its richness in metabolism boosting medium-chain fatty acids. You can enjoy the true benefits of coconut oil in its organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin state; it should never be bleached, hydrogenated or refined.

At Nutiva, we believe in empowering consumers to make informed choices about food. Do you have a perspective to share about fats? Please comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts and get the conversation going.

Interested in getting more healthy fats in your life?  Sign up for the Nutiva Healthy Lifestyle newsletter below for amazing deals on coconut oil sent right to your inbox!

Comments

  1. Thanks for spreading the words about healthy fat! I am a huge fan of fats, coconut oil, clarified butter, ghee, butter, chia, hemp, etc! Lauric acid is the same fats found in breast milk, so it just goes to show you that we are designed, as humans, to consume those types of fat!

    I also want to note that, while coconut oil and butter are my favorite to cook with, grass-fed organic butter is a close second, it is loaded with a natural source CLA (which actually helps weight loss!), and it also has a perfect balance of omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids! I can’t believe I ate margarine all those years!

    • Ana Victoria says:

      Thanks for the comment Laury! We love to hear that you are excited about spreading the word about healthy fats. Lauric acid truly is an amazing thing – we believe it will soon be as prevalent as omega-3 in health food circles. Thank you for sharing your favorite ways to enjoy fats!

  2. Camille says:

    I am so in love with coconut oil. I have discovered that it is not only good to cook with, it is wonderful to do oil pulling therapy with and, would not want to forget that it is a wonderful moisturizer for my skin. I tell people all the time that they need to do their research before using vegetable oils. Oh, yes, it is wonderful to pop popcorn with, too.

    • Ana Victoria says:

      We are crazy about coconut oil too, Camille. I use it as a skin moisturizer as well as an oil based cleanser for my face! My skin has never looked better. Thanks for spreading the word about healthy fats.

  3. Very glad to see this posting, indeed. I’ve known from many sources credible justifications of the immense goodness of coconut oil for medicinal and nutritional purposes. Claimed as the healthiest oil by more and more people. It’s now clear to me that human-wise, the highly desirable inherent or natural fatty acid profile, that’s its high lauric acid (C12) content (48 -52%%), and its balance content, meaning higher content of the omega-3 fats over the omega-6 fats, including it good content of the healthy short chain medium saturated fatty acids (capric and capyrilic acid all combined that makes it much better than the other plant oils (like those rich in omega-6 fats).

    Any comment on the two largest sources of plant oils, soybean oil and palm oil, globally. Likewise, on olive oil which is more expensive but still people buy, even in the tropical world where coconut trees (coconut oil derived) and oil palm trees (both palm oil and palm kernel oil derived) are grown. Thanks much for sharing ! All the best.

  4. Hi. A great article. I LOVE coconut oil and have at least 2 tbsps a day either straight from the jar or in a cup of hot water or sprinkled with herbal himalayan salt and some ground pepper is delicious. . But……when I cook with it as in frying, my fire alarm always goes off if the smoke point is reached which is a lot lower than some oils. So what is the best oil for frying which is good for us and has a higher smoke point please? I know lower heat and gentle frying is ok but for frying with a hotter oil? Thank you

    • Hi Elisabeth – We are happy to hear that you love our coconut oil. You are correct; coconut oil is ideal for medium heat cooking, but not recommended for high heat frying. The great news is that we just launched a product that meets your needs. Our Shortening is a blend of coconut oil and red palm oil. Learn more about it here: http://nutiva.com/introducing-new-red-palm-products/.

  5. I am very pleased to find this site,Great health is Great wealth !

  6. Annette McQueen says:

    Please tell me that you use responsibily sourced palm oil. I can’t buy palm oil which is derived from destroying vital rainforests and driving orangutans into extinction. Where do you get your palm oil?

  7. barbara says:

    ow much nutivia coconut oil should u eat a day for youre right omega intake

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