Tag: monounsaturated fats
Avocados and avocado oil had a slow road to popularity, starting with a rebranding of sorts. There’s a bit of an internet debate around the origin of the word avocado. Some reports say that it came from the word ahuacatl, which is Aztec slang for testicle. As the fruit became more popular, that association wasn’t great for marketing, so farmers changed the name to “avocado” and even petitioned dictionary publishers to update the entry. Good move on their part, because “avocado toast” sounds much more appetizing than … the other thing.
Is Avocado Oil Good For You?
Back in the ‘80s when low-fat diets were lauded as the sure path to losing weight, people shunned avocados because of their fat content. About a decade and a half later when word got out that different fats do different things in the body, avocados were regarded as a welcome addition again because of their monounsaturated fat content. With the growth of the Primal and keto movements, people now embrace these fats, and avocados are regarded as a beneficial food that fits into a healthy lifestyle.
Cholesterol usually gets the gold for most demonized nutrient, and fats undoubtedly take the silver. It’s time to confront the misunderstandings around fats.
When I switched from a high-carb, low-fat diet and started to eat healthy fat as a nutrient, my health rapidly transformed. As important as fat is to your body, the fact remains that not all fats are created equal.
A few fats, including but not limited to trans fats, deserve every bit of disparagement they get and then some. But many types of fats are beneficial, and we’d like to put in a good word for them. Here, we’ll go through good fats, harmful fats, and how to eat more of the best kinds of fats. At the end of this article, I’ve included a video explaining how to get more healthy fats and why you would want to in the first place.
Inflammation is your body’s response to infection and injury. When something triggers an inflammatory response, the immune system kicks into gear, isolating the area, removing harmful or damaged tissue, and beginning the healing process. “Inflammation” refers to both the immune processes happening under the surface and the outward signs of an inflammatory response—symptoms like pain, swelling, or fever. Inflammation gets a bad rap in the alternative health world: “The root of all chronic illness!” This is true to some extent. Name a disease, and inflammation is involved. Crohn’s disease, major depression, heart disease, arthritis—all inflammatory. Every autoimmune disease—inflammatory, involving an inflammatory response directed at your own tissues. Even obesity is inflammatory, with fat cells literally secreting inflammatory cytokines. Yes, but the story is more complicated than that. Inflammation is, after all, a natural process developed through millions of years of evolution. It can’t be wholly negative. Just like our bodies didn’t evolve to manufacture cholesterol to give us heart disease, inflammation isn’t there to give us degenerative diseases. The popular refrain that “inflammation is bad” misses the fact that inflammation is necessary and beneficial in certain circumstances and in the right amounts. Where we run into problems is when there is too much for too long, as is so often the case. So how do you know when the line between helpful and harmful has been crossed? What Causes Inflammation? In order to understand what causes inflammation, we first need to distinguish between acute inflammation and chronic inflammation: Acute Vs. Chronic Inflammation Acute inflammation Acute inflammation is the body’s relatively brief response (lasting several days or less) to a specific injury or illness. All sorts of things can cause an acute inflammatory response, including Trauma or injury, whether serious (car accident, stabbing, broken bone) or trivial (paper cut) Infection by bacterial or viral pathogens Burn (including from the sun) Chemical irritant Allergic reaction When an injury or invasion occurs, the body launches a defense involving the vascular system (veins, arteries, capillaries), immune system, and cells local to the injury. As a result, you’ll likely experience one or more of the five signs that an acute inflammatory response is underway: heat, redness, swelling, pain, or a loss of function. Heat, redness, and swelling signal that leukocytes (white blood cells) have arrived to clean up the injury site, mop up pathogens, and oversee the inflammatory process. Pain and immobilization remind you—or force you—to proceed with caution, lest you re-injure the area. Although annoying, these symptoms are only temporary. And they’re a small price to pay. Without acute inflammatory processes, we would quickly succumb to even minor illnesses and injuries. But not all acute inflammation is the result of something harmful. Some things that cause acute inflammation are actually good for us. Sun exposure is one example. Exercise is another. Immediately after a single hard workout, inflammatory markers go up because exercise stresses the body—but in a beneficial way. The short-term damage that exercise induces allows us to be stronger, fitter, … Continue reading “The Definitive Guide to Inflammation”
I’ve always been an avocado fan—and, by extension, an avocado oil proponent. I enjoy the buttery flavor and cooking versatility. I love avocado oil—but…it’s not exclusive.
Anyone who knows me well has seen how much I enjoy Mediterranean food, and for that extra virgin olive oil can’t be beat. It’s been on my list for a while now—create the olive oil I want to eat with every Mediterranean meal. I took my time sampling and choosing for sure, but I couldn’t be happier with the result.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering questions from last week’s olive oil post. First, is there a way to identify real olive oil and distinguish it from fraudulent olive oil? Second, should EVOO be used when grilling food? Third, how can we know if our canned seafood is packed in real, actual olive oil and not some industrial seed swill? Fourth, is algae oil worth eating? And fifth, what about just eating whole olives? Finally, why not just eat beef fat, which is also relatively high in MUFA?
Olive oil is the great uniter of the dietary factions. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, Mediterranean, Atkins, “clean eaters,” folks who tout the most conventional of conventional wisdom—just about everyone agrees that olive oil is a “good fat.” Heck, even a lot of carnivore dieters will use olive oil to increase their intake of monounsaturated fatty acids despite olive oil’s plant origins.
When a food gets this much good press, especially in the popular media, that’s about the time I usually step in to make a contrarian claim, citing some buried research or pointing out an evolutionary argument against it.
Not with olive oil. As much as I love my avocado oil, I see no reason to question the legitimacy of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as a valid member of your diet. Personally, I include both in my diet on a regular basis. Here’s why.
As I’ve written before, although most people’s lipid numbers improve across the board, some people get interesting cholesterol responses to Primal ketogenic diets. LDL skyrockets, even LDL particle number. The jury’s out on whether or not they indicate negative health concerns or if keto dieters are a special breed that hasn’t received enough study. (There may be a few genetic profiles, such as APOE4 carriers, that react differently to certain dietary inputs.) Either way some people just want their cholesterol numbers to look good in a conventional way. These days, whenever I run into someone in the real world with these or similar concerns, I tell them to try “Mediterranean keto.”
What is that, anyway?
Longtime readers of the blog are so inundated with the latest dietary research and results from years of personal experimentation that they often take the simple, basic dietary truths for granted. But it’s the simple ones that make the most difference. Today I’m going to sift through the knowledge base to winnow out the dietary truths that, while basic, fundamental, and important, are unknown or misinterpreted in the “normal population.” If you think someone you know or care about could learn from this list, send it along.
What follows are some basic dietary truths that everyone needs to understand.
Much has been made of avocado oil’s ample nutritional benefits; however, its healing properties for skin and hair are too often overlooked. Sure, it’s hard to compete with improving lipid profiles and combating systemic inflammation, but this clean eating elixir offers advantages beyond interior health. While Mark has mentioned using avocado oil as a regular skin moisturizer, in truth there are many applications to nurture both skin and hair. Whether you’re interested in natural cosmetic ideas or simply basic skin and hair health, avocado oil offers a nutritive, non-toxic tool for your care routine.
(This post is an update to an earlier post version.)
A Big-Ass Salad, as you know, is a perfect main meal of the day. However, with a little creativity there’s no limit to how (or when) you can enjoy your favorite combination of vegetables, greens and more. While Primal Kitchen® now offers a literal rainbow of 11 ready-made dressings and marinades that are all natural, whole-food, and fully Primal choices (including vegan and Whole30®-approved options), there’s always room for DIY creativity to fit your favorite salad varieties. Check out these 10 Primal-worthy ideas—and share your own in the comment section. Enjoy!