It’s most highly concentrated in coconut oil, and its health benefits are through the roof. However, its reputation is terribly negative, second only to that of trans fats. Can you guess what it is?
The answer: Saturated fat
Moving past the dogma of low fat, high carbohydrate fad, many of us now realize that low-fat just means high sugar, and high sugar equals more insulin, and more insulin leads to stored fat. You are likely familiar with the health benefits and necessity of unsaturated fatty acids like EPA and DHA found in cold water fish, but saturated fat also proves just as essential. But in what ways can butter, coconut oil, lard, and rib-eye steaks improve your health?
1. Lower cardiovascular risk
Saturated fat reduces the levels of lipoprotein (a), a substance found to be strongly correlated with the risk of heart disease. It also increases your level of HDL (good cholesterol).
2. Bone strength
The fat within these foods also contribute to bone strength, as your body cannot effectively incorporate calcium into your bones without it. For this reason, Mary Enig, Ph.D, recommends that 50 percent of your fats should be saturated.
3. Liver cleanliness
A fatty liver is damaging to your health and can eventually lead to cirrhosis. However, the saturated fat that you eat does not directly convert to fat in your liver. On the contrary, adding saturated fat into your diet encourages the liver cells to dump their fat content, additionally protecting the liver from the toxicity of alcohol. The liver’s key role in a healthy metabolism connects the consumption of saturated fat to fat loss.
4. Strong lungs
Saturated fatty acids make up 100 percent of your lung’s airspace coating, essential for the function of the lungs. The absence of these fats will lead to the collapse of these airspaces and breathing will become difficult. In fact, some researchers theorize that the rise in asthma is linked to the fact that children have replaced saturated fats with hydrogenated fats, which do not correctly support the structure of the lungs.
5. Brain building
Did you know that your brain is made largely of fat and cholesterol? EPA and DHA are still important, but the fat found in butter, coconut oil, lard, and meat is more so, as a majority of the fatty acids in your brain are saturated. Without the proper materials, it is impossible for your body to put together the best functioning brain.
6. Fat loss
To get your metabolism cranking, eat more saturated fat! This type of fat directly signals the nerve signals that influence metabolism, leveling out the release of insulin and keeping fat storage to a minimum.
7. Strong immune system
The myristic and lauric acid in butter and coconut oil keep the immune system healthy, helping your white blood cells identify and destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungi. To prove the wholesomeness of saturated fat, it may be important to note that human breast milk is rich in both myristic and lauric acid, killing germs and protecting the immune system of an infant, and is needed throughout the lifetime in order to keep an immune system alert and attentive against cancer development and infections.
Give saturated fat a chance. Your body (and taste buds) will thank you.