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Oils Allowed on the Paleo Diet

Leah Spencer

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Vegetable or plant derived oils were obviously not included in the caveman diet or pre-agricultural diet. Technical discoveries and advancements made just a few thousands of years ago extracted oils from flax seeds, sesame seeds, olives, almonds and walnuts. Oils play a main role in balancing the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio in our bodies. The major infusion of vegetable oils into the present day western diet has elevated this ratio to an unhealthy value of 10. During the cavemen times, the ratio was closer to just 2. So, it only makes sense for you to think of eliminating all vegetable oils from you diet. At this point, it is important to note that the cavemen consumed wild fatty plants including seeds and nuts, and the entire raw carcass of wild animals including all its organs. Therefore, they maintained a good balance of fatty acids in their diet. We simply do not have access to, or rather it is not practical to consume raw organs in the present times. There are a few oils that help you achieve a good fat balance in your diet. These include oils from avocados, coconuts, macadamias, olives, walnuts, and flaxseeds. The source, type, quality and how the oil was processed are all important factors to take into account when you choose an oil or two for your paleo diet.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil has naturally occurring un-hydrogenated fats that are not only good for the body, but also play a role in preventing a number of diseases and illnesses. The oil consists of 3% polyunsaturated fat, 6% monounsaturated fat, and 90% saturated fat. The saturated fat content makes it highly stable to heat and imparts a long shelf life too.

Olive oil: Olive oil is mostly monounsaturated oleic acid, and it is healthy and more stable than poly unsaturated fats. Olive oil is not as stable as coconut to heat, and it is best as a dressing, rather than for cooking.

Flax seed oil: Flax seed oil is high in ALA (alpha-linoleic acid) which accounts for about 57% of its composition. ALA is a precursor to Omega-3 production in the body. Every tablespoon of flaxseed oil contains eight grams of ALA, which is also a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Flaxseed is thus beneficial in bringing down the cholesterol levels. However, it is important to note that flax seed oil can alone not work wonders. It is best when you include the oil as part of a healthful paleo diet plan.

Walnut oil: Walnut oil is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. The interest in walnut oil has increased in the last few years. Unrefined walnut oil has a shelf life of six months. Studies have proven that the consumption of walnuts and/ or walnut oil balances the ratio of LDL to HDL and also lowers the total cholesterol, LDL.

Avocado oil: Avocado is one of the healthiest oils that has not become very common yet. Avocados have a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids along with good levels of oleic acid, phytosterols, vitamin E, carotenoids, and lutein, all of which work together to prevent inflammation.

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