A word about good fats: Eat them! You will not be able to heal your skin properly without them.
On the farm, we’re big fans of both good fats and natural dairy products. And butter is both. That’s right, real 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 delicious diet which is high in saturated fats?
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. And improved immune system means improved gut health, which will help to clear your skin.
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 for both gut and skin. Personally I don’t 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. Allow it to dissolve and swallow, and you will also reap the oil-pulling benefits for your teeth and gums.
These days, everyone is talking about how great avocados are for you. I’m happy to add my voice to the choir! Avocados have beneficial effects on cardio-metabolic risk factors that extend beyond their heart-healthy fatty acid profile. The healthy fats in avocados help to heal the gut, and thus the skin. They’re also a great appetite suppressant if you’re trying to shift a bit of excess weight – chuck half an avocado into a green smoothie and it will fill you up enough to call it supper!
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.