People think that all fats make you fat.  Well, I am here to tell you that is not true!  In fact, our bodies need fat as a source of fuel to keep us going, provide us with soft skin, fatty acids, and fat-soluble vitamins that the body needs.   However, you may have heard not all fats are created equally; some fats are good for you and some are bad.

Unsaturated and saturated fats are good fats and they are thought to help us with cholesterol, essential fatty acids, fight inflammation, and help shield the brain and nervous system.

Palm oil or coconut oil, a saturated fat, was once thought to be a bad fat. However, because of the way these plant-based fats are made, the body metabolizes them differently. The worst fats have been found to be transfats, since they raise the cholesterol levels.  Transfats are the fats that are found in processed foods and should be avoided.


So what fats should we cook with?  Well based on what we know now, here are a few examples of the types of oils you should incorporate into your kitchens.

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Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil a staple in my house! Due to the Lauric Acid found in coconut oil, (which can also be found in breast milk), it can be found to help fight off infections, bacteria, provide energy and endurance, and also is helpful for the appearance of skin.  I use it to replace any recipe that calls for shortening or oil.  I add it to everything I cook, and bake…and my kids don’t even notice (shhhhhh!).

Palm Oil

Palm Oil is a fairly recent oil to come on the mainstream scene of cooking oils. When comparing it to other saturated oils, like coconut oil, it has more antioxidants making it more favorable. In addition to the antioxidants, there has been several studies finding that Red Palm Oil fights heart disease.  Studies have also suggested that Red Palm oil is also high in vitamin E making it beneficial to the brain’s cells protecting one against stroke, Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

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Image by Jo Christian Oterhals

Omega 3 oils

These types of oils are easy to cook with and are very beneficial to your health. Examples of these oils are flax seed oil, walnut oil and olive oil. These oils are typically best for low cooking temperatures since they have a low burning point.  Omega 3’s do not put any strain on your pancreas, liver and do not clog your arteries.  These oils also stabilize your blood sugar and also help the rate of carbohydrate release into your system, meaning they will help you feel fuller longer after you eat.

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Believe it or not, butter or ghee is also a healthy fat to cook with since they have oleic and myristic acid in them which have cancer fighting properties. Butter from grass fed cows are also high in vitamins which are vital in the development of bones and the preconception and pregnancy phases of one’s life. Now, I am not saying lather your food in butter, just like all other fats, they are to be used in moderation.

Now that you have a quick summary of which oils are good for you, start incorporating them into your repertoire of recipes.  Try swapping some of these oils into your recipes and you will unleash a new world of flavors and health benefits all at the same time.

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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