Butter/Ghee: Butter is an easily absorbed source of Vitamin A and also contains lecithin and a number of antioxidants, including Vitamin E and Selenium. Butter is good for baking, sauce making, and frying. It’s best to look for sources of grass-fed, local butter (such as from Amish farmers) but other good brands include: Vermont Butter and Cheese Company, Trader Joe’s organic sweet cream butter, Trickling Springs Creamery and Organic Valley Cultured butter.
Ghee is a type of clarified butter that has been a staple of Indian cooking for centuries. Butter is cooked until the water and milk solids are removed. The result is Ghee - a rich, golden, semi-soft spread used for cooking, baking, or sautéing. Use Ghee in place of regular butter in any recipe or melt it over hot breads and vegetables. It’s great for sautéing and it resists smoking at high temperatures. Purity Farms makes an organic, salt free, lactose and casein free, no trans fatty acids, Kosher, and no GMO's ghee that is available at health food stores.
Extra-Virgin olive oil: Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytochemicals. Extra virgin olive oil is derived from the first pressing of the olives and has the most delicate flavor and most antioxidant benefits. It is best used in dressings and drizzled on food after cooking. It can be used for sautéing and low temperature cooking but should not be heated to high-temperatures or used for frying. Look for cold-pressed, extra-virgin organic olive oil in dark, glass bottles. Bionaturae is a good brand and can be found at Whole Foods and My Organic Market. Trader Joe’s also offers a couple of organic, extra-virgin olive oils.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil contains 92% saturated fatty acids. All of the medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil are saturated. They, however, are much different chemically from the long chain saturated fatty acids found in animal fat and other vegetable oils. The MCFA's in coconut oil increase fat burning in your body and increase the activity of your metabolism. Coconut oil is very heat stable so it makes an excellent cooking and frying oil. It has a smoke point of about 360°F (180°C). Because of its stability it is slow to oxidize and thus resistant to rancidity, lasting up to two years due to the high saturated fat content. Look for cold pressed, extra-virgin coconut oil and be sure to avoid hydrogenated or fractionated coconut oil or RBD coconut oil that has been refined, bleached, or deodorized. Good coconut oil should smell tropical and fresh, like a fresh coconut! Coconut oil is also known as coconut butter but is not the same as coconut cream, which is made by pressing the meat of a coconut. Good brands include Tropical Traditions and Virgin Oil de Coco Crème, both available on-line. You can also purchase brands such as Jarrow, Jungle, Nutiva and Spectrum at Whole Foods or My Organic Market.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids/Fish Oils: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our brains and immune systems to function optimally. Food sources of Omega-3 fats include wild fish such as salmon (not farm raised), sardines, wild game, seaweed, algae, walnuts, flaxseeds, and eggs hatched from chickens fed on flaxseed and fishmeal. Cod Liver Oil is also a good source for Omega-3s and contains Vitamins D & A as well. Cod Liver Oil and Flaxseed Oil should be used as supplements, in salad dressings, or drizzled on food. Fish oil, which contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) promotes healthy benefits throughout the whole body, nourishing the tissues and organs. It helps balance hormones and promotes brain, cardiovascular, ocular, breast, and immune health. A good source of fish oil is Tuna Omega 3 by Standard Process. This supplement has a good ratio of DHA & EPA. Omega-3 Fatty Acids/Fish Oils should never be heated.
The Weston A. Price Foundation (www.westonaprice.org) recommends the following brands of Cod Liver Oil:
BEST (Available Online/Mail Order):
- Dr. Ron's Ultra-Pure: Blue Ice High-Vitamin Fermented Cod Liver Oil
- Radiant Life: Blue Ice High-Vitamin Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Premier High-Vitamin Cod Liver Oil
(888) 593-8333, radiantlifecatalog.com
- GPA Whole Foods: Blue Ice High-Vitamin Fermented Cod Liver Oil
(402) 858-4818, www.gpawholefoods.com.au/
- Health Alert: Blue Ice High-Vitamin Fermented Cod Liver Oil
(831) 372-2103, healthalertstore.com
GOOD (and available in Stores):
- Nordic Naturals Vitamin D Cod Liver Oil (NOT Nordic Naturals Regular Cod Liver Oil)
Carlson's Cod Liver Oil 1,000 mg capsules
Sesame Oil: Sesame oil is is an edible vegetable oil expressd from sesame seeds. Despite sesame oil's high proportion of polyunsaturated (Omega-6 fatty acids), it is least prone, among cooking oils with high smoke points, to turn rancid. This is due to the natural antioxidants present in the oil. Light sesame oil has a high smoke point, and is suitable for deep-frying, while dark sesame oil (from roasted sesame seeds) has a slightly lower smoke point is unsuitable for deep-frying. Look for 100% Expeller Pressed Organic Sesame Oil.
Macadamia Oil: This oil has a perfect 1:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids. It has a rich flavor and works great in salad dressings or drizzled over dishes. Macadamia oil has a high smoke point (410°F) so it’s safe to cook with it at higher temperatures.
Avocado Oil: Avocado oil is pressed from the fleshy pulp surrounding the avocado pit. It has an unusually high smoke point of 491°F (255°C) and functions well as carrier oil for other flavors. It is high in monosaturated fats and Vitamin E. It can be used in place of olive oil in most dishes and has a neutral taste. Look for 100% Expeller Pressed Avocado Oil.
Other Acceptable Oils: Palm Oil, Walnut Oil, Almond Oil, 100% Expeller Pressed Canola Oil (must be highly refined), 100% Expeller Pressed Peanut Oil, 100% Expeller Pressed High Oleic Safflower and High Oleic Sunflower Oil.
Fats to Avoid: Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils (trans-fats), Margarine, Cotton Seed Oil, Corn Oil, Wesson Vegetable Oil, Smart Balance, Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and other highly processed oils. You’ll also want to avoid oils in clear, plastic bottles as heat and light can cause them to go rancid quickly.
Bottom Line: Choose good quality 100% Expeller Pressed Oils in dark, glass bottles. Butter is better! Avoid trans-fats and other highly processed oils.
Rebecca Haines, Certified Nutritional Consultant & Certified Holistic Health Coach