The Western diet tends to be deficient in beneficial oils (essential fatty acids). Many people in the Western World are afflicted with inflammatory diseases due to the typical western diet which sees people eating high amounts of refined foods, red meats and sugar. These foods cause an imbalance to the ratio of oils in the body and may cause inflammation in many individuals as well as cardiovascular diseases, immune depression, integumentary system inflammation, dry skin and brain and learning problems.
There tends to be a lot of controversy surrounding which oils and fats are most beneficial for good health and which ones are not ideal. If you decide to take a supplementary form of beneficial oil it is important to purchase quality oil which is cold pressed from the seed rather than ones extracted with chemical solvents and heat processes as this degrades the vitamin E levels within.
The cheap oils often use the latter method of yielding the oil, it may be economical but it also leaves the oil void of many of the life giving components. These oils are also bleached to make the oil cleaner tasting, odourless and the appearance clear. This process also leaves chemical residues in the oil as many chemicals are fat-soluble and therefore stay with the oil to be bottled and eventually digested. Some of these chemicals such as Hexane which is used as a solvent is a derivative of petroleum refinement.
Cold pressed extra virgin oils are made as the name implies, with no heat, via one pressing of the seed. Using no heat means that the chemical structure of the lipids within the precious oil is not changed, leaving it in its natural state for better absorption and health giving properties. The healthiest forms of oils to use internally are extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oils (linseed oil) and small amounts of coconut oil.
There are many television advertisements, which harp on about the value of margarine as a source of good oils. However, common table margarine provides mostly Omega 6 oils. It is estimated that 80% of the Western Population is deficient in the Omega 3 oils and this is why there is such a large predominance of inflammatory conditions such as excema, dermatitis and arthritis in today’s society. This is also why many of the margarine companies promote that they have added extra Omega 3 oils to their coloured, hydrolysed, heat -treated products.
When cooking with oil it is best to use oil in its raw state rather than heating it. When people make stir fry’s and heat the oil, when oil boils it is rendered useless as the chemical structure is changed (oxidized), making it unstable and toxic to the human body. This is also why there are so many health risks with consuming take away and deep fried foods, the oil becomes rancid and contributes to cardiovascular diseases.. Use oil liberally on salads, add it to smoothies or at the end of the meal when the food is taken off the heat to maximise the anti-oxidant, free-radical scavenging properties of the oil.
Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) in your diet to help moisturise the skin and reduce sensitivity. Many westerners are chronically deficient in the omega 3 essential fatty acids due to a diet full of Omega 6 essential fatty acids and this is the primary reason for many inflammatory diseases being prevalent in the western society.
The Omega 3 oils are anti-inflammatory in action whereas the Omega 6 oils cause inflammation (Omega 6 do however have some health promoting properties):
Omega 3 Essential fatty acids