Heart Healthy Oils

By Patricia Lapena, RHN & Dr. Sharon Gurm

There is a critical requirement for the Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids to be obtained from our food since our bodies do not make them on their own.  Omega-6 and 3 are very good sources of energy and play a key role in oxygen delivery in the body.  Consuming the proper balance of these essential oils can help to reduce cholesterol and improve heart function.  These oils are also important for brain function, the transmission of nerve impulses and the regulation of our hormones.

One to two tablespoons of unrefined essential fatty acid oils should be taken at least once a day.  To protect the heat sensitive Omega 3’s, do not cook with them.  Use them in salad dressings or sprinkle them generously on your fish or vegetable stir-fry.  Dribble them onto grains, baked potatoes, leafy greens, ocean and cultured veggies, or in a soup, once it has cooled down enough to eat.

Most of us obtain ample amounts of Omega-6, it is the Omega-3 that we are seriously deficient of.  Flax seed is our richest vegetarian source of Omega-3.

High quality organic, unrefined vegetarian oils:

Hemp, evening primrose, borage, flax seed, extra virgin olive oil

High Quality organic, unrefined fish oils:

Use the oils that are from smaller fish – herring, mackerel, sardines.  These will have less toxicity from the ocean.  Larger fish are more prone to have heavy metals. Be sure to purchase a high-quality fish oil that has undergone a careful purification process to remove toxins. Otherwise, you may be polluting your body with same toxins that pollute our waters and enter our food chain. The following companies have our ‘seal of approval’ for omega-3 fish oils: Nutra-Sea (Ascenta), Cytomatrix, Metagenics, Nordic Naturals and Carlson’s.

Coconut oil is highly overlooked source of healthy fat. Recent research indicates it can help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease. Although it is a saturated fat, its action in the body is quite different that other forms of saturated fat. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties that make it beneficial in combating heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, intestinal disorders and any other chronic disease condition. Also great for your hair, nails and skin! Coconut oil is a terrific source of fuel for our cells and can help with weight loss. Use 1 tbsp daily of organic coconut oil. Since it is highly stable at high heats, you can cook with.  Alternatively, you can add it to a protein shake, spread it on a slice of toast or mix it in your food. As with any oil you use, choose organic oils whenever possible to avoid consuming pesticides and herbicides used in traditional farming practices.

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