3 Flavor-Packed and Nutritious “Paleo Oils”

olive_oil_lgFrom the cardiovascular benefits to the healthier skin, hair, and nails.. Healthy dietary fats are vital to maintaining optimal health through diet.

One of the questions that may arise for you in your Paleo diet journey is: What foods should be eaten in order to eat enough healthy fats?

While there are tons of  foods that provide dietary fats, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which ones to eat. Mainly because some of our best dietary fats are in foods that many would instinctively classify as “protein food sources”.

Foods like eggs, beef, and salmon are superior sources of both proteins and fats. That can get confusing sometimes when you’re trying to set specific macro nutrient ratios for your meals.

Not to mention, it’s just simply not convenient or cost=effective to rely on the aforementioned foods as your sole source of dietary fats. Now, maybe your primary, but not you sole source.

That’s where dressing and cooking oils come in. They taste awesome, they’re healthy, convenient, affordable, and flexible.

If you learn to incorporate the following 3 oils into your diet on a regular basis, you’ll be better off in a multitude of ways.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Might as well start with what is probably the most commonly used oil in this list.. and for very good reason.

For starters, it’s delicious and can be used in a wide variety of ways!.. It can be added to many foods that you may not have thought of before.

For example, one of the simplest tricks I use when designing a Paleo inspired diet for a client is to have them add 1-2 tablespoons of EVOO  to their protein shakes.

This simple little trick does a couple of things.. It allows you to quickly, conveniently, and affordably add some healthy fats to a meal that would otherwise consist of nothing but protein.

We’ll get more into how to ratio your macro nutrients in the future, but for now just know that none of your meals should consist of only one macronutrient. You should almost always have a protein base, and add in either a carb or a fat depending on which meal of the day it is.

Protein shakes with EVOO is one the best and easiest ways to get a healthy protein and fat meal. Especially if you’re short on time like many of us are!

It’s usually best to consume olive oil uncooked or cooked at low levels of heat. The thing many people don’t know about olive oil is that it has a relatively low smoke point.. Which means if you use to fry or deep fry, you could potentially be killing many of the healthy ingredients of this amazing oil.

Speaking of healthy ingredients, olive oil has plenty of them! It’s a source of nutrition that provides ample health benefits..

From being shown to help prevent heart disease, and other major diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and diabetes to it’s ability to keep blood pressure levels in check..

Olive oil is one of those foods that if you’re not already using it in your diet… then it’s time to start!

Coconut Oil.

This another oil that is at the top of the list right up there with olive oil.

Actually, the two Paleo friendly oils complement each other perfectly. Olive is great when used uncooked in dressings, or in your protein shakes, but if it’s cooked on too high of a heat, it loses much of it’s nutritional benefits.

Coconut oil, on the other hand, is the perfect cooking oil, due to it’s high smoke point. For an absolutely amazing recipe, fry up some thinly sliced sweet potatoes in coconut oil, and top with some chopped pecans. Trust me on this one.  Eggs are also delicious when fried in olive oil.. give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

As far as the other benefits of coconut oil.. Hmm, where to start..

Many people use coconut oil as a skin and hair lotion and shampoo. The omega rich oil serves a revitalization to dead and dried out hair, skin, and nail cells.

Coconut oil is also a potent source of  lauric acid, which has been clinically shown to boost the immune systems of chronically ill patients that suffer from various immune deficiency disorders.

Last but not least, and certainly one of the more intriguing properties of coconut oil, is it’s high concentrations of MCTs, or medium chain fatty acids. These specific fats are processed by the body in a more efficient way than normal, longer chain fatty acids, and thus help your metabolism do it’s job even better.

So, if you’re looking for a delicious source of healthy fats, that you can bathe in and eat, that will also just so happen to help you lose weight and have a healthier heart: coconut oil fits the bill.

Macadamia Nut Oil.

Macadamia nut oil has hidden in the shadows of coconut oil, and olive oil for far too long.

It’s time to give macadamia nut oil it’s much deserved time in the spotlight!

Granted, in most parts of the country, it is about 15-30% more expensive that either coconut or olive oil, but it’s most definitely worth every penny.

For starters, macadamia nut oil has the highest smoke point of most all of the commonly available dietary oils. This makes it perfect for frying, grilling, or anything else that usually involves cooking with higher temperatures. Combine this with it’s rich, nutty, and slightly sweet taste and there are a million ways to use this amazing oil.

Macadamia nut oil has come to be known for it’s benefits to skin tissue. Due to an antioxidant called squalene, that is found in human skin cells and is used to protect those very cells from sun damage. Squalene is what is thought to give macadamia nut oil it’s very strong anti-oxidative properties (the reason it has such a high smoke point), so in a way.. when you eat this oil, you borrow it’s ability to protect itself from heat and oxidative damage.

Lastly, macadamia oil has an almost perfect omega-3 nutrient profile, and even includes an omega-7 fat that isn’t as common as the other fatty acids, but provides human skin with a natural moisturizer, so to speak.

With all of it’s benefits, for human skin tissue, it’s important to realize that it’s just as beneficial to the heart, joints, and other bodily systems.

Definitely a dietary that you should consider making a regular part of your Paleo routine!

Those are 3 “Paleo Oils” that have come to be a staple in the diets of almost everyone here on the paleoIQ team, but of course, there are tons more delicious and nutritious oils that could be effectively used in your Paleo diet.

Let us know which ones we left out that you think deserve to be int the top 3 positions of the very best “Paleo Oils”..

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  1. Here’s Why You May Want to Think Twice About Olive Oil

    • From Dr. Dean Ornish: It’s 100% fat and 14% of it is saturated. At 120 calories a tablespoon it’s very easy to eat too much of “a bad thing”. It won’t raise your LDL as much as butter or other saturated fats will, so it might look like it’s reducing your cholesterol, but it’s still raising it. It’s just not raising it as much other fats would! It’s the omega-3’s that reduce inflammation and are “heart healthy”, and olive oil has very little omega-3, maybe 1%. It’s mostly omega-9, which has been shown to impair blood vessel function. Canola and flax seed oil are much higher in omega-3’s–and are much healthier oils to use. Just go easy on them!.
    • From Dr. Robert Vogel of the University of Maryland: This is the study that convinced me! Back in 2000 Vogel based his study on the Lyon Heart Study, which is the big-time study that got us all to eat the Mediterranean Diet. He wanted to see how olive oil, salmon (fish oil) and canola oil actually affect the blood vessels. Using the brachial artery tourniquet test he had 10 healthy volunteers with normal cholesterol ingest 50 grams of fat, in the form of olive oil & bread, canola oil & bread, and salmon. Measuring their arterial blood flow before & after each meal Vogel could tell whether or not a meal was causing damage to the endothelial lining of the brachial artery, based on how the blood was flowing through the artery after the meal was eaten. The results really surprised him. The olive oil constricted blood flow by a whopping 31% after the meal; the canola oil constricted it by 10%; and the salmon reduced it by only 2%. Why should we care? Because when the arteries constrict, the endothelium (the vessel’s lining) is injured, triggering plaque build-up, or atherosclerosis. Vogel RA. Corretti MC. Plotnick GD. The postprandial effect of components of the Mediterranean diet on endothelial function. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 36(5):1455-60, 2000 Nov 1. Similar results have been found it later studies. This isn’t just a one-hit wonder. Interestingly, walnuts, which have Omega-3’s have also been shown to improve blood flow by 24% using the brachial artery tourniquet test. Go omega 3’s!
    • How does olive oil constrict blood vessels?: Dr. Vogel discovered back in 1999 that a high fat meal blocks the endothelium’s ability to produce that all important NITRIC OXIDE, which is a vasodilator and critical to preserving the tone & health of our blood vessels. When olive oil constricts the blood vessels it’s because it’s blocking the production of nitric oxide. Not a good thing!
    • From Dr. Lawrence Rudel of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Rudel ran a five year study feeding monounsaturated fat (similar to olive oil) and saturated fat to African Green monkeys. The monkeys metabolize fat in the same way as humans, so they’re good stand-ins.. At the end of five years, their autopsies showed that the monkeys who were fed the high-oleic monounsaturated olive oil surrogate had higher HDLs (the good cholesterol) and lower LDLs (the bad cholesterol) than the ones fed the saturated fat diet. The big surprise here: Both groups had exactly the same amount of coronary artery disease. The higher HDLs & lower LDLs of the high-oleic monounsaturated oil (similar properties to olive results.
    • From Dr. Caldwell Esseltsyn: Dr. E tells a story in his book about Rev. William Valentine of North Carolina who had a quintuple bypass in 1990. Since his surgery he followed a strict plant-based diet, dropping oil) group were meaningless. Rudel later repeated the study on rodents, and got the same from 210 pounds to 156 pounds. For 14 years he maintained his weight & his diet. But by 2004 he started to experience a recurrence of angina, especially when he exercised. He promptly contacted Dr. Esselstyn after reading about his success in reversing heart disease in a health newsletter. Valentine wanted no part of a repeat bypass or other intervention. He assured Dr. E that he only ate whole grains, legumes, vegetable & fruit. A baffled Dr. E prompted him to repeat once again everything he was eating, leaving nothing out.
    “He had forgotten to mention that he was consuming “heart healthy” olive oil at every lunch and dinner and in salads. It was what they call a Eureka moment. Immediately, I advised him to give up the olive oil. He did–and within seven weeks, his angina had completely disappeared.” Dr. Esselstyn

    Little known fact: Olive oil, which got its big “heart healthy” start with the Lyon Study, wasn’t even used in the study. The study volunteers didn’t like the taste of it, so canola oil was substituted for olive oil. All the benefit that we attributed to olive oil, was actually from Omega-3 enriched canola oil.

    What does Dr. Dean Ornish advise?: The best oils are canola, fish oil (omega-3s), flaxseed oil & nonstick cooking sprays. Always in small amounts. Second best, and in very small amounts, is olive oil.

    What does Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn advise?: When it comes to olive oil, canola or any oil–FORGET ABOUT IT. He does advise taking a tablespoon of flaxseed every day for omega 3’s.

    What Am I Going to Do? Olive oil–forget about it, except in tiny amounts. (at least I say that right now) I admit it, I was using way too much of the stuff, and consuming far too many unhealthy calories than I needed. I thought that because my HDLs were so high I was in good shape. Just like the African Green monkeys, the olive oil could have been raising my HDLs, while all the while plaque was forming in my arteries. Still mulling over a bigger move in the direction of a vegan goody-goody. Except, of course, when I’m invited out!

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