Contrary to popular belief, butter (consumed in moderation) is a healthy saturated fat. Up until 70 years ago, butter was prized for its health benefits. Interestingly enough, as the consumption of butter decreased, the rate of heart disease has increased. Health conscious people are becoming aware of the health benefits of butter.
Butter aids in the transportation and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. It also helps lower the overall glycemic effect of carbohydrates, assisting in maintaining balanced blood sugar levels. Butter contains many essential vitamins and antioxidants in their most absorbable form, and is especially high in vitamins A,K, and D. It also contains selenium, vitamin E, and medium and short chain fatty acids which boost immunity. Medium and short chain fatty acids are converted to energy rather than being stored as fat. These fatty acids also help to reduce inflammation.
Unsalted butter is usually preferred in baking because the amount of salt in the salted variety varies from brand to brand.
Choose organic butter to avoid consuming the antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides contained in conventional butter. Organic grass-fed butter is considered the healthiest type.
Organic butter can be purchased in health food stores, supermarkets and Whole Foods Markets.
Virgin and expeller-pressed coconut oil is extracted from fresh or dried coconut meat and is considered a “healthy” saturated fat due to its lauric acid content. It contains MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) that convert to energy rather than fat and it has numerous health benefits, especially for the heart and thyroid.
Virgin coconut oil is the least processed coconut oil available and has a mild coconut flavor. Expeller-pressed oil is more refined than virgin oil and has a relatively neutral flavor, making it an excellent choice for cooking and baking. As long as the expeller-pressed process is mechanical (or physical) without the use of solvents, the oil retains many of its nutrients. Check the labels to ensure the oil is mechanically expressed. Highly processed coconut oil is not considered to be healthy.
Coconut oil is stable at very high temperatures and is also slow to oxidize, making it resistant to rancidity. The oil liquifies at warmer temperatures, while becoming solid at cooler temperatures. It can be stored at room temperature for up to two years.
Spectrum brand organic expeller-pressed coconut oil is 100 percent mechanically pressed and works well in baking due to its neutral flavor and texture. It’s the oil I use most often with my recipes. I also use Jarrow Formulas and Tropical Traditions. Different brands of coconut oil can have distinctively different textures and flavors.
Coconut oil can replace butter at a 1:1 ratio and is an excellent alternative for anyone who is lactose intolerant.
Virgin coconut oil and Spectrum expeller-pressed coconut oil can be purchased in health food stores, Whole Foods markets, supermarkets, and online.
Expeller-Pressed Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is a polyunsaturated vegetable oil pressed from the seeds of various varieties of grapes. It is a popular choice for baking because of its neutral flavor and light texture. In addition, most polyunsaturated oils are too fragile to be used with high heat, but grapeseed oil can withstand moderately high heat levels. Most important, scientific studies have suggested grapeseed oil can increase “good cholesterol”.
Spectrum Naturals expeller-pressed grapeseed oil has a smoke point of 425°F and is extracted using a heated expeller press, rather than using harsh solvents to extract the oil.
Spectrum Naturals grapeseed oil can be purchased in health food stores, some specialty supermarkets, some Whole Foods Markets, and online.
Expeller-Pressed Safflower Oil
Safflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant. It is a light, non-greasy oil, with a neutral flavor and high smoke point. Linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid, is abundant in this oil, giving it a reputation as a healthy choice for losing weight and heart health.
Many safflower oils are chemically processed, which eliminates the healthy nutrients and contaminates the oil with harmful chemicals. Expeller pressed oil that is mechanically expressed retains the nutrients and is free of any solvents.
Spectrum Naturals expeller-pressed safflower oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees, making it a good choice for cooking and baking.
Expeller-pressed safflower oil can be purchased in health food stores, Whole Foods Markets, supermarkets, and online.