Most kids I know would finish half a stick of butter or a few slices of bacon in no time, if they are let to do so! Many parents fear that’s not healthy for their kids and most pediatricians advise to start them on reduced fat milk after they turn 2. And then make up for the “loss” by adding some more oxidized, artificial “kiddie vitamins” with omega 3??
But did I mention that our brain is 60% made out of fat and that children’s brain require brain-building fats like cholesterol and saturated fat for proper development? Did I mention that cholesterol helps building a strong immune system, contributes to the strength of the intestinal wall and helps babies and children develop a healthy nervous system?
I’m sure I mentioned all these many times…I strongly believe that around 50% of all existent health disorders that start as early as infancy these days can be corrected just by using the healthy oils and eliminating the toxic ones. I also believe that the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio can be corrected by the use of healthy fats and oils in the diet, without the need of supplementing, unless there are specific health disorders that need to be addressed.
But how can you make sure your child eats all the healthy fats she’s supposed to in order to ensure a good immune system and robust health? Here are my tips:
- the most important thing to do is to ditch all the other toxic oils and fats first! That means stop buying margarine, shortenings and other butter imitations, canola, corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, peanut or any other of these kind of polyunsaturated oils. They are highly processed oils, they go oxidized and rancid even before they hit the shelves, they contain too high amounts of omega 6 fats and are NOT stable at higher temperatures. That means they generate harmful free radicals. Regular consumption of these oils leads to inflammation in the body, a wide range of metabolic imbalances and ultimately cancer.
- now that your pantry is clean and free of toxic oils, ensure that your child limits (and better yet completely avoids) processed, commercial food that includes the above mentioned oils. The most prevalent foods that contain these oils and fats are : candy, restaurant foods, frozen dinners, processed snacks.
- you have to fill up that pantry with nourishing, healthy oils that should be your staples in all your cooking. Stick with only these and you won’t ever have to worry about not getting the proper healthy fats into your and your child’s body:
GRASS FED BUTTER
Why is grass fed butter healthy?
- it’s rich in the most easily absorbable form of Vitamin A necessary for thyroid and adrenal health.
- contains lauric acid, that has antifungal properties and strengthens the immune system
- contains lecithin, essential for cholesterol metabolism.
- contains anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage.
- it’s a great source of Vitamins E and K.
- it’s a very rich source of the vital mineral selenium.
- it contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster
- vitamin D found in butter is essential to absorption of calcium.
- protects against tooth decay.
- it’s a source of Activator X, which helps your body absorb minerals.
- it’s a source of iodine in highly absorbable form.
- it’s a source of quick energy, and is not stored in our bodies adipose tissue.
- cholesterol found in butterfat is essential to children’s brain and nervous system development.
- contains Arachidonic Acid (AA) which plays a role in brain function and is a vital component of cell membranes.
- protects against gastrointestinal infections especially in the very young
EXTRA VIRGIN, UNREFINED, ORGANIC COCONUT OIL
There are several very good, high quality online sources to buy coconut oil. I prefer the NUTIVA coconut oil; in my opinion, the quality vs. price can’t be beaten with this brand! I usually buy it from Vitacost where I get an even better price for the 54 oz. This oil is delicious and can be used both in cooking, added to porridges, nut butters and shakes, as well as eaten plain. For those that don’t like the flavor and smell, you can buy the expeller pressed version and still enjoy all the health benefits. Here is a reliable source from Wilderness Family Naturals.
Why is coconut oil healthy?
- it helps in improving the digestive system and prevents various stomach and digestion related problems like indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
- it strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
- it contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure
- it contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems.
- helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
- it improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones
- it helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.
- helps in keeping hair and scalp free from lice and lice eggs.
In one of my previous articles, Less Explored Healthy Fats: Lard, Tallow, Suet and Bird Fat I talk about the importance of using animal fat from grass fed, healthy animals. The fat our ancestors used and didn’t know what degenerative diseases meant. Totally different situation today, with the canola- and soybean- oil- generation and de-generation!
LARD, TALLOW and SUET are stable and a preferred fat for frying. Lard is an excellent source of vitamin D, tallow is a good source of antimicrobial palmitoleic acid.
EXTRA VIRGIN, UNREFINED, ORGANIC OLIVE OIL
Latest reports have shown that most imported olive oil in US is mixed with other cheap oils and sold as extra virgin “fake” olive oil. So it makes sense to find a local, trustworthy source of olive oil, especially now that you ditched canola! The further you remove yourself from the grower the less you know about what is happening in the processing of that product.
Online or at health food stores you can find a variety of brands that come from local, smaller farms. Choose the ones in dark glass bottles. They are more expensive but olive oil shouldn’t be consumed in big quantities anyway. And use it for salads and light sauteeing. This oil is not as stable as butter and coconut oil when heated and gets easily damaged.
Why is olive oil healthy?
- it contains heart-healthy flavonoid antioxidants and vitamin E. Extra-virgin olive oils—they’re made from the first pressing of olives—contain the highest levels of these beneficial substances.
- olive oil is predominantly a monounsaturated fat and contains beneficial phenol compounds if processed optimally.
A few words about Lauric Acid
Lauric acid is contained in saturated fats like mentioned above and they are important for our health. In the United States today, there is very little lauric acid in most of the foods. Infants probably consume between 0.3 and 1 gram per kilogram of body weight if they are fed human milk or an enriched infant formula that contains coconut oil. This amount appears to have always been protective. Adults could probably benefit from the consumption of 10 to 20 grams of lauric acid per day. Growing children would need about the same amounts as adults.
In the past 3-4 years there has been reformulation with a loss of a portion of coconut oil in baby formulas, and a subsequent lowering of the lauric acid levels.
With all this being said, rethinking your FATS and ensuring a healthy start for your kids will totally be worth it! You feel challenged by this dietary change? I’d love to hear about it and help you out, so comment below for your questions!
From The Skinny on Fats