Diana, a patient of mine, was amazed when I recommended she add flax meal to her horse’s diet. I explained that flax meal contains fiber and is a marvelous source of Omega 3 fatty acids; it reduces inflammation, contains soluble and insoluble fiber to help with bowel elimination, has a mild estrogenic effect and is very important to the brain and its development.

Eating good fats is one of the most important factors for optimum health. But there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation out there. Is it better to eat no fats? Are all solid fats are bad? What about trans fats, saturated fats, and medium chain triglycerides? How do you translate all this?

Watch toxin laced fats

The heart prefers fat as its first choice of food. When you eat something with fat in it, your body absorbs it from the intestines into the lymphatic system and straight up to the heart. Then it travels through your body before it gets to the liver for detoxification. Knowing this, you can see why many people feel better on fat-free diets – they’re no longer eating all those pesticides, hormones and toxins stored in the fats of the animals we eat.

Trans vs. saturated fats

Trans fats are the mirror image of the good fats our bodies need. They are created when oils are heated to high temperatures. Our bodies don’t know how to use trans fats, so I recommend avoiding them.

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and some, including coconut oil, cocoa butter and palm oil, are reported to be very beneficial for health. The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil are helpful for the intestines and the heart, coconut milk makes a delicious milk substitute on cereal or in puddings and custards, and the cocoa butter in dark chocolate has been shown to have marvelous heart-healthy properties.

Fish can be good and bad

Last but not least are fish oils. People especially benefit from eating wild, cold water fish. Farmed fish does not have the same level of good fatty acids. My concern is that our oceans are very polluted, so fish is not ideal to eat all the time. Fish oils have to be cleaned with chemicals because there really isn’t a good organic fish anymore.

What can you do?

  • Include fish, nuts and seeds (especially sunflower and flax seeds) regularly in your diet. If you consume a large amount of fish or fish oils, make sure they are as clean as possible
  • Eat only organic meats and dairy products.
  • Cook with olive oil, coconut oil or organic butter.
  • Take a basic vitamin packet with clean fish oil twice a day.

As you can see, fats aren’t all bad. Many are crucial to your health. You just need to know the good guys from the bad guys.