Whether you cook with them, drizzle them or freeze them into raw desserts, oils are essential for the body and an important ingredient in a Paleo kitchen. But which ones are best?
My favourite all-rounder has got to be coconut oil. I cook with it, I use it in tons of raw Paleo recipes and it’s my preferred natural skin cleanser and moisturiser. It’s the one ingredient I use every single day. The popularity of coconut oil appears to be a rising trend, but in truth it’s been a best kept nutrition secret in tropical regions of the world for hundreds of years. Coconuts and the food products derived from them are one of the very few things that have nutritionists completely divided. Some swear by its properties, opponents highlight that oil made from coconuts actually contains a high concentration (85 to 90 per cent) of saturated fat. Saturated fats, certainly those derived from animal products, are generally regarded as the baddies when it comes to heart disease.
So what’s the deal? Well it seems that not all saturated fats are created equal. The saturated fats in coconut oil are different to those we’re advised to restrict in animal products. More than 50 percent of a coconuts saturated-fat content is lauric acid. A recent analysis of 60 studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that even though lauric acid raises LDL (bad) cholesterol, it boosts HDL (good) cholesterol even more.
I always buy organic, always virgin and my body absolutely loves it! Aside from the fats
it has some amazing additional benefits;
- It’s an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair.
- Coconut oil has been shown to prevent and resolve candida (a disease caused from excessive and uncontrolled growth of yeast in the stomach). It provides relief from the inflammation caused by candida, both externally and internally.
- Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.
Olive oil is my other favourite. As it’s liquid at room temperature it’s perfect for adding to dips and dressings. I love making fresh garlic mayo with egg yolks and light olive oil. It also protects against heart disease by keeping ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol levels in check, whilst raising the quantity of good (HDL) cholesterol. Olive oil contains more monounsaturated fatty acids than any other natural oil and has even been shown to soothe stomach ulcers.
Nut & Avocado Oils
I love using nut-based oils on salads. They are low in saturated fats and have a lovely smooth flavour. Oils such as almond and hazelnut are a great source of monounsaturated fats and added vitamin E – perfect for hair and skin health. Avocado oil is another brilliant source of vitamin E. You will often see it included in anti-wrinkle creams. Why pay a fortune for cosmetic products with tons of added chemicals when you can use the raw oil applied with a cotton wool pad instead. It’s rich in monounsaturated fats and super low in saturated fats making it another brilliant salad drizzle option.
Linseed or flaxseed oil is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Its alphalinolenic acid helps prevent strokes, heart disease and skin problems such as acne. Flaxseeds contain six times more omega-3 than the equivalent quantity of most fish oils, as a plant powered Paleo getting these oils from a non-animal source is essential to my diet. The downside of flaxseeds is their omega-3s come in a form that’s more difficult for the body to utilise than that in fish oil and they absolutely can not tolerate heat. The chemical structure of linseed oil can change merely from exposure to a warm room, so keep your bottle in the fridge and only use it on salads.