Olive oil is one of the main sources of fat in the much beloved Mediterranean diet. It’s a monounsaturated fat with a deserved reputation for being extremely heart healthy. All olive oil is not created equal. Unrefined extra-virgin olive oil is best. Because it’s pressed at very low levels of heat, the precious health-giving polyphenols are preserved.
A good oil with a high level of monounsaturated fat and a high smoke point (430°F).
This is another oil high in monounsaturated fat, but because of its omega-6 content, it’s best to use unrefined peanut oil in moderation.
Used extensively in Asia, sesame oil contains some monounsaturated fats. Some of its benefits come from its unique antioxidants, which aren’t destroyed by heat. It also contains phosphatidylcholine, an important nutrient for the brain. Limit its use because it does have a high amount of omega-6 fats.
Coconut oil is a superfood. Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is the type known as medium chain triglycerides, which the body prefers to use for energy rather than store as body fat. It contains a couple of powerful antimicrobal fatty acids — lauric acid and caprylic acid — and produces ketones, a wonderful source of energy for the brain.
Butter from grass-fed cows is a wonderful fat. You can’t beat the taste, it stands up to heat and new research indicates that full-fat dairy such as butter has significant health properties and may even help combat obesity. Its cousin, ghee, is essentially clarified butter (i.e., with the milk solids removed).
Palm oil (not palm kernel oil) is another plant-based saturated fat that’s been unfairly demonized. It’s high in a particular type of vitamin E called tocotrienols, which have been shown to have a protective effect on the brain. I strongly recommend Malaysian palm oil – due to the Malaysian government’s pro-environmental policies, this oil is produced using sustainable practices. I use this oil all the time.
Adapted from Clean Eating.