We are bombarded with advice to cut out saturated fat. Somewhere along the line, coffee gets slammed, so giving it up becomes a virtue. Eating chocolate and boozing are viewed as sins. As an aid to removing the hair shirt, here are the cardinal virtues of the above ‘vices’, plus links to longer blogs written previously.
- A source of antioxidants, provided it is drunk with double cream or black.
- Helps liver detoxification.
- Stimulates stomach acid and peristalsis.
- A source of both magnesium and chromium, both linked to improving insulin sensitivity and therefore weight loss.
- The following benefits are found in dark chocolate – 70% and above. Chocolate containing less cocoa lacks sufficient punch to give the benefits.
- An excellent source of anti-oxidants.
- A good source of magnesium, the calming mineral of the menopause and weight loss.
- The components of cocoa have various excellent effects: muscle relaxant, so lowers blood pressure, soothes coughs, calms asthma, improves sexual performance; acts like cannabis, so makes us feel most good and can help cravings; gives us an energy boost. Maybe this all explains why we sometimes hear the cry, ‘Give me chocolate…..’
- The most effective way to eat dark chocolate is to suck on it – place a small piece in the mouth and let it dissolve without touching the teeth.
- A good source of antioxidants again. These are found in the skin and pips, which is why the wine should be red instead of white.
- Small amounts of alcohol are good for us because of the relaxing effects.
- The red wines with the best effects will be labelled as good for ageing.
- 56.7% of goose fat is oleic acid, the oil most predominant in olive oil (which is 73% oleic acid). Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat, which is slowly gaining preference over polyunsaturated fats such as sunflower oil, and here’s why.
- Fats such as goose fat, lard or clarified butter are more stable when heated than other fats. Rancid fat – fat that has been heated too much or heated and cooled repeatedly, is appalling for our health. So when cooking with fat, saturated fats do not cause the health problems that cooking with polyunsaturated fats will. Therefore roast potatoes are best cooked in goose fat, duck fat or lard rather than sunflower oil. Olive oil and avocado oil are both monounsaturated fats, and these fats are also more stable at heat than polyunsaturated fats – but not as stable as saturated fats are.
- In the usual misguided efforts to make us slimmer and healthier – clearly having such a good effect upon the nation’s waist line, poor old saturated fat loses out every time in favour of manufactured spreads, vegetable oils and sugar, and is the subject of much knee-jerk advice.
So three of the four good things in life are very good sources of anti-oxidants. Yes, we should eat plenty of vegetables everyday, but life is full of ‘shoulds’ and many people, for many different reasons, fall short of their five a day. Since we also need a wide variety of anti-oxidants, cutting out coffee, dark chocolate and red wine, when we need every bit of help we can get, may not be the best plan of action. And as for goose fat – well for those of us in the know, it is an uphill battle. I do recommend reading The Great Cholesterol Con by the Scottish doctor, Dr Malcolm Kendrick – a book backed by massive research that will, at least, give us courage to dare to enjoy our butter and goose fat again.