ABC Circle of Health reporter and food coach Lori Corbin interviewed Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, author of the newly updated “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” and she was surprised to learn that when it comes to foods to help you stay healthy, certified sustainable Malaysian palm oil is towards the top of the list.

Bowden stated, “I think the number of accumulating studies that have happened since 2010 have pretty much absolved saturated fat of any role in heart disease.” He suggests eating grass-fed and organic animal proteins; omega-3 rich fish; and oils such as olive, coconut and Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil due to their nutritional benefits. “Because we are learning so much about brain issues, like mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s and dementia and their relationship to blood sugar, we’re also finding out that fat is the perfect fuel for the brain.”

Bowden had other tips for improving your diet to fuel your body.

  • Avoid polyunsaturated fats. That means oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower and soybean. “All of which are extremely inflammatory and all of which are not doing our health one bit of good,” says Bowden. Corbin pointed out that Americans consume 16 to 20 times more of these oils than we should.
  • Up the Omega-3 rich foods. Flax, walnuts, hemp, and fatty fish are all rich in this fatty acid that your body needs to function.
  • Opt for fibrous plant foods. In lieu of pasta and bread, Bowden recommends avocados, beans or potassium-packed pumpkin. “Fiber does a lot more than help you lose weight.  The condition of our gut is critical to human health and fiber is the fuel.”

Certified sustainable Malaysian palm oil is found in many packaged foods, including microwaveable popcorn and the Smart Balance line of spreads and peanut butters. Most of the palm oil used in the United States comes from Malaysia. The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification program ensures that palm oil produced in Malaysia aligns with the country’s stringent sustainability policies. Achieving MSPO became mandatory as of 2020, and the country is working toward 100% compliance.

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To add even more sustainable palm oil to your diet, check out these recipes.

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