It’s official — a review of more than 80 studies suggests that raising your intake of the right fats sends your risk of heart disease, weight problems, diabetes, and other health hassles plunging as much as 50 percent.
Butter helps keep your heart ticking.
Butter consumption has shot up 36 percent in the last few years due to smart shoppers switching from chemical-laden fats to natural ones. That’s smart: At least eight studies suggest eating butter won’t raise your risk of heart problems one bit. In fact, they show that using it in place of margarine and other processed fats actually lowers your heart-disease risk as much as 25 percent. Butter is rich in lecithin, vitamin K-2, and other nutrients that block the buildup of artery-clogging plaque, Canadian researchers explain.
Red palm oil cuts cancer risk.
Red palm oil is an excellent choice for sautéing and deep-frying food because it doesn’t smoke at high temperatures — and because consuming just 3 tbsp. weekly could lower your risk of cancer as much as 20 percent, reveals Alabama A&M University research. “This oil is rich in tocotrienols and vitamin E, nutrients that strengthen your immune system, helping it to quickly destroy precancerous cells,” explains Bruce Fife, ND, author of Eat Fat, Look Thin ($9.28, Amazon). One option: Nutiva Organic Red Palm Oil ($8.03, Amazon).
Peanut butter boosts your weight loss.
According to Harvard researchers, simply adding 2 to 3 Tbsp. of peanut butter to your daily diet can trim as much as six inches off your waistline in six months. The reason: Healthy fats in peanuts help stop cravings — and they fire up the fat-burning mitochondria inside each one of your cells.
Coconut oil helps you dodge diabetes.
A preliminary study in the journal Diabetes shows that just adding 2 tbsp. of coconut oil to your daily diet could lower your blood-sugar levels and improve your insulin sensitivity — two key steps in preventing diabetes — in as little as one week. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), plant compounds that stimulate cells to absorb and burn food and fat for fuel, according to lead researcher Nigel Turner, PhD.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.