Oils are a type of fat, and healthy fats are a very important feature of a healthy diet. A healthy oil will help your body absorb nutrients which rely on fats to be utilised by the body.
Dietary fats (or “lipids” as Natural Chefs learn to call them) will play an important role in the production of energy, keeping your cells healthy, nourishing your brain (which is made predominantly of omega 3 fatty acids – a key component of healthy oils), help you absorb essential, fat soluble vitamins and form the base product from which healthy hormone production occurs.
Some dietary fats will produce more waste product than others, making them more toxic than they are nutrient dense and healthy. Some healthy oils are healthy at one temperature and become toxic at another.
Understanding how to work with oils for maximum nutritional benefit is one of the core elements of training as a Natural Chef.
As a rule of thumb, refined oils that have been through a manufacturing process to become an oil are best avoided. These oils are known as “trans fats” and they are so named because they have transformed from one type of fat to another. Margarine is a good example of a trans fat;it is a milk that has gone through multiple processes in order to become a soft substance which retains its qualities at room temperature. Trans fats increase the level of‘bad’ cholesterol and decrease the level of ‘good’ cholesterol in the human body. ‘Good’ cholesterol is needed for healthy hormone and brain function, and ‘bad’ cholesterol plays a role in cardiovascular disease (among others).
As a Natural Chef, you can easily recognise a refined oil by words found on the label such as “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils. Some oils may be labelled “organic” but that doesn’t mean they are unrefined or healthy. Corn, Rapeseed (Canola), Soybean, and Vegetable Oils (organic or otherwise) are all examples of refined, unhealthy oils.
A healthy oil will have a high level of Omega 3 fatty acids. These are the oils that are needed for healthy cells and brain tissues. If you are working with a healthy oil, it is important to know the temperature at which that oil loses its health benefits and may even become toxic.
Healthy oils tend to be from foods that have a naturally occurring lipid content such as Olive, Coconut, Avocado, Sesame and Linseed (Flaxseed).
As a Natural Chef you will learn about oils, the nutrients they help deliver to the body and also how to source and cook with them to preserve their health benefits.