Fertile Fats: Fats that Harm, Fats that Heal – Fats for Fertility
Why we need fats – Fats for Fertility:
Estrogen is stored in the fat cells, so healthy fats are essential for a healthy hormone profile. When I was growing up in the old country on the other side of the Atlantic, telling someone that they put on a little weight was a compliment. The cushion of fat was regarded as a protective mechanism against the harsh winter, and disease in general.
Aside from estrogen, dietary fats are a major component of the structure of our brains, bones, and muscles. Knowing the good from the bad and the downright ugly, can be the next giant step you take in the direction of your desire.
Yes, there are damaging fats, which contribute to indigestion and reduce your absorption of nutrients and minerals. Hydrogenated fats undergo high temperatures in the presence of nickel, aluminum and add hydrogen molecules to unsaturated fats, creating trans-fatty acids in the process. (Hyrdogenation transforms vegetable oils, which are liquid at room temperature into a hydrogenated version, margarine).
Trans fats are harmful because they have almost identical chemical structures as other unsaturated fatty acids, and will replace those fatty acids in our bodies without replacing their functions. Trans fats suppress our immune systems, and interfere with pregnancy, and regular hormone production, and have damaging effects on the liver.
-Margarine or any ‘buttery’ spread made from vegetable shortenings
-refined vegetable oils
-most processed, fried, or crispy snack foods, because they contain highly refined fats, and trans-fatty acids.
-commercial salad dressing- usually has refined vegetable oils
(see below for simple and fertile friendly salad dressing options)
Fertile Fats can be divided into saturated and unsaturated fats.
Saturated fats have historically gotten a bad rap, from large scale propaganda low-fat market advertising, that saturated fats are the true culprit in heart disease and cancer, but many studies have countered this argument, traditions of populations worldwide have consumed saturated fats for centuries, without risk of heart disease.
Saturated fats protect and enhance the immune system
Saturated fats are the most stable fatty acids; the carbons in the fatty acid chains are all bonded to hydrogen atoms, which is why they are solid or semi-solid at room temperature.
Examples of fertility friendly saturated fats:
-Animal fats: Butter, Duck and goose fat, chicken fat, beef and mutton tallow, from free-range, pastured animals
Beef and mutton tallow is a good source of antimicrobial palmitoleic acid.
-Tropical oils: coconut oil- has antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
Unsaturated fats are categorized as monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are ‘unsaturated’, because they contain one (mono) carbon to carbon double bond in the fatty acid carbon chain. They are less stable than saturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats are the least stable of all fats, because they have more than one double bond in the carbon chain. This means that polyunsaturated fats are highly reactive, because of the multiple (poly) carbon double bonds, so they should not be cooked, or heated.
Omega-3s and omega-6s are examples of polyunsaturated fats. The human body cannot produce these fats, which is why they are an essential part of our diet.
Examples of fertility friendly foods containing monounsaturated Fats\
– extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil predominantly stable monounsaturated fat- oleic acid. – rich in antioxidants, – cloudy olive oil is a sign that it has not been filtered.
-avocado (fruit and oil)
– almonds, pecans, cashews (organic raw nuts, and nut butters)
Examples of fertility friendly foods containing polyunsaturated fats
-Omega-3 Fats naturally found in fish- fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, ….
-peanut oil- contains predominantly omega-6, and excessive amounts of omega-6 are thought to be responsible for degenerative diseases
Proper storage of fats
Oils become damaged if they are exposed to light, oxygen, and heat.
Keep in opaque containers in a cool, dark location, (a cupboard, or shelf) tightly sealed.
A Quick & Dirty Review
-integrate a variety of good quality saturated and unsaturated fats into your diet,
-STAY AWAY from highly processed, hydrogenated and refined fats
-Implement Proper storage techniques, to maintain freshness
-For cooking and heating- best to use more stable saturated fats- animal fats, or coconut oil, olive oil, and butter
-Olive oil, is the most stable vegetable fat, because of its high percentage of monounsaturated oleic acid.
-Always buy organic, cold-pressed, and unrefined oils
-Look into local choices! Look into Local sources of beef and mutton tallow- a chance to develop relationships with local, small farms, or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) projects.
-Limit consumption of vegetable oils – safflower, corn, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed oils.- never eat after they have been heated.
Simple salad dressing:
Apple cider vinegar
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Black pepper
Pour all ingredients in a clean glass jar- (mason jar, empty jam jars work, just make sure you have a tight fitting lid!)
Screw lid on jar, and shake to mix the dressing!