I’m not sure how it started, but somewhere along the line, it was decided that saturated fat was bad for the heart, and that it should be avoided like the plague. PHOTO |
’m not sure how it started, but somewhere along the line, it was decided that saturated fat was bad for the heart, and that it should be avoided like the plague.
Let’s take an example of the US, where this message was rolled out in the 1970s. Since that time, not only has heart disease not declined, but the shift to eating more carbohydrate has left them in the middle of an obesity epidemic.
It is only now that people are beginning to realise that saturated fat isn’t as insidious as it’s been made out to be.
So here are some supposedly “dangerous” foods that are actually quite healthy.
Let me start with some facts. While countless studies have linked the consumption of processed meat (bacon, sausages, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham and salami) to cancer, the same cannot be said for unprocessed meat.
In fact, a 2010 study of 1.2 million people found that eating unprocessed red meat does not lead to heart disease or diabetes.
The only problem is that the meat we eat isn’t the same as the meat our grandparents had. In those days, chicken ran around eating insects and seeds, while cows ate grass.
Nowadays, we lock up our domestic animals to make them grow faster and plumper, and pump them up with various chemicals.
They also tend to eat commercial grain-based feeds.
Does it matter? Well, meat from animals that are naturally raised is actually much healthier. Let’s take beef as an example.
When cows are grass-fed, the meat contains more omega-3 fatty acids and less omega-6 (which makes the meat less inflammatory), more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (helps to lower body fat in humans) and more vitamins, like vitamins A and E.
Meat is also a great source of protein, and contains a bunch of nutrients that you can’t really get from plants, for example vitamins B12, D3, K2, creatine and carnosine.
During my pregnancies, I was encouraged by family members to start eating more ghee (clarified butter).
When I turned to my nutrition books, the advice was the same – but not just during pregnancy.
Turns out it is a nutritional powerhouse and should be eaten daily. Like your meat, you ideally want your ghee to come from grass-fed cows so that it’s rich in vitamin K2 (important for both bone and heart health) and short-chain fatty acid butyrate.
Studies have shown that butyrate not only boosts metabolism and reduces food intake, it is also anti-inflammatory and appears to have a protective effect on the digestive system. Like meat, it’s also rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Eggs really are among the most nutritious foods we have. Just think about it – an egg has so many nutrients, there’re enough to create a chick.
It was once said that eating too many eggs would raise blood cholesterol, however, studies have proven that cholesterol in the diet doesn’t really raise bad cholesterol in the blood.
In fact, eggs raise good cholesterol, which in turn helps to mop up the bad kind.
This probably helps to explain why a meta-analysis of 17 studies found no association between egg consumption and heart disease or stroke.
Eggs contain various minerals - vitamins A, B2, B5, B12, phosphorous, iron, selenium, choline - the list goes on and on.