Why Are Good Fats So… Good?

A word about good fats:

Eat them!

You will not be able to heal your skin properly without them.

And guess what – butter is a good fat, hurrah!

On the farm, we’re big fans of both good fats and natural dairy products. And butter is both. That’s right, butter is good for you. Butter is a source of naturally occurring butyrate in our diets – and butyrate feeds the good bugs in your gut. So anything that contains butyrate may also enhance intestinal barrier function and improve overall gut health.

Healthy gut = healthy skin, so get stuck into your good fats!

Butter is much better for you than margarine, which contains trans fats. Trans fats are artificial nasties which have now been have been associated with greater risk of death and coronary heart disease. Butter, on the other hand has no associated increased risk of death, heart disease, stroke, or Type 2 diabetes. 1

If you’re worried about cholesterol, don’t – recent studies show that butter actually leads to less elevation of blood fats after a meal, even when compared with olive oil. 2

Why is this the case? About 20 percent of the fat in butter consists of short and medium-length fatty acids, which are “good fatty acids. These are used directly as energy and so don’t really affect your blood fat level very much.

Cheese has the same effect. Scientists have long puzzled over “the French paradox, which is this: how come those French folks have low cardiovascular disease rates, despite their yummy diet which is high in saturated fats? (It’s just not fair!)

The answer may lie in the cheese. Recent research into “the French paradox” found that study participants who consumed cheese had higher fecal levels of butyrate, that magical compound produced by happy gut bacteria.

And here’s the best bit: elevated butyrate levels were linked to a reduction in cholesterol. 3

So feed those bugs good fats! They eat it up, and then produce lovely butyrate. This stuff makes your immune system sing – which lowers your overall cholesterol.

Olive oil, avocado, walnuts, salmon are all things that you should add into your diet. And loads of coconut oil, which has amazing health benefits. Personally I can’t be bothered to cook with coconut oil, as I don’t really want everything tasting of coconut. But 1 TBSP chucked into a kefir smoothie works beautifully, or a spoonful just right into your mouth! Let it dissolve and swish it around – oil pulling power!

A diet rich in walnuts and walnut oil may prepare the body to deal better with stress, and reduce bad cholesterol and inflammation. 4 We keep a bowl of walnuts on the table to snack on – I find if I make it easy for the boys, they’re more likely to go for the healthy option.

Cold-pressed virgin flaxseed oil is a terrific source of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for human health, and helpful for everything from preventing heart disease to high levels of bad cholesterol. It’s a delicate oil, so you need to keep it in the fridge, but 1 TBSP added to your kefir smoothie creates an amazing health punch.

C’est magnifique!

PS..Don’t go too crazy, though – remember that all fats have high energy content. If you don’t burn off what you ingest, your weight will go up – it’s simple math. Can’t get you out of that one, I’m afraid!

References:

  1. McMaster University - "Trans fats, but not saturated fats like butter, linked to greater risk of early death and heart disease". Published by ScienceDaily on August 11, 2015.
    sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150811215545.htm
  2. Expertanswer - "Butter leads to lower blood fats than olive oil, study finds". Published by ScienceDaily on February 10, 2010.
    sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209124352.htm
  3. American Chemical Society - "New piece in the 'French paradox' diet and health puzzle: Cheese metabolism". Published by ScienceDaily on April 8, 2015.
    sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150408124618.htm
  4. Penn State - "Walnuts, walnut oil, improve reaction to stress". Published by ScienceDaily on October 4, 2010.
    sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101004101141.htm

2 thoughts on “Why Are Good Fats So… Good?

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  1. Hi. I’m new to the Kefir program, one week in. Now I’m puzzled re butter and cheese, as above. Cow milk is bad for the gut, right? But cheese and butter are made from cow milk. Is there not some contradiction here, or am I not understanding something? If I can go back to standard cheese and butter that would be good as I like the stuff and I’m not getting on well with the goat variety.

    1. Hi Patrick – I strongest suggest you eliminate ALL cow dairy from your butter. You can and should enjoy goats milk, goat cheese and goat butter, all of which are readily available at your local Tesco. Best, Shann