The Alternative Healthy Holiday Fat
December 13, 2016
It’s holiday season, a time for food and lots of it. What with family dinners, special foods and scrumptious Christmas favourites, the challenge is to maintain at least a semblance of healthy eating. As it turns out, it is possible to blunt the sharp edge of overindulgence with choices that do not put a damper on the spirit of the season.
Take, for example, the baked goods that come with the holidays. Because these are typically made with shortening or lard, it raises a key discussion on the nature of fats. From the point of view of healthy eating, shortening may represent one of the worst developments in the history of food. This is because shortening almost always means “vegetable oil shortening,” which involves the hydrogenation of common oils like corn oil by way of a highly synthetic process. Lard, which is usually animal fat, it has its own problems.
A great culinary alternative is coconut oil. It is rich in those saturated fats that are now acknowledged by the latest findings of nutritional science as being a critical component of our diet. Clear and aromatic, coconut oil comes from the “meat” of mature ripe coconuts and has a mild, delicate flavor. Practically, its relatively high smoking point (around 177C/350F) means that it can be heated to high temperatures without producing free radicals or trans fats. It’s also less prone to becoming rancid.
Most importantly, coconut oil enjoys a wide array of health benefits:
- Heart-healthy food that helps to regulate thyroid function and reduces cholesterol
- Supports body’s natural hormone production
- Lower in calories than most other fats
- Promotes weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate
- Helps balance blood sugar levels
- Natural immune properties
- Improves absorption of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids for stronger, healthier bones, teeth, and organ systems
- An effective antioxidant
- Mitigates the effect of aging
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