Processed Oils

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Refined vegetable oils are highly processed oils such as canola, soybean, sunflower, corn, etc.

Refined vegetable oils were not available until the 20th century, when the technology to extract them became available. These are extracted from plants using either a chemical solvent or oil mill. Then they are often purified, refined and sometimes chemically altered.

I always recommend using good quality cooking oils that are made by crushing or pressing plants or seeds, rather than those produced using chemicals (e.g extra virgin olive oil, coconut, avocado, flaxseed).

The main problem with these oils is that they promote an unhealthy balance of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. Both fatty acids are considered essential because the body needs them but cannot produce them. But more importantly, our bodies need them to be in balance with one another.

Omega-6 fatty acids are inflammatory by nature while omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory by nature and a balance of around 3:1 (omega-6 to omega-3) is necessary to keep inflammation at bay. While a version of omega-3 (ALA) is found in seeds, the omega-3 the body really needs (EPA and DHA) are found only in eggs, poultry, meat, dairy and fish.

Omega-6 fatty acids are needed by the body but because these oils below are found in so many packaged and processed foods, it is common to have an imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 if you’re eating these foods in addition to meat, eggs and dairy. The imbalance in combination with a leaky gut can promote constant inflammation in the body.

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