Gabby Reece has been a professional volleyball player, sports announcer, fashion model, actress and now hosts a podcast to help followers navigate health, fitness, relationships, parenting and business. During her recent podcast conversation with Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS, she learned how he turned his unhealthy life around, and why he is so passionate about eating real food such as Malaysian palm oil. 

Many people may not realize that Bowden took a circuitous route to his current career, from professional musician to personal trainer to having six nutrition-related certifications and becoming the Nutrition Myth Buster. He is highly motivated to educate consumers so that they can make more informed choices about their diets. 

Why some oils are not as healthy as others 

While Bowden said we shouldn’t obsess about not eating tiny amounts of vegetable oils, he said we should stop cooking with them and stop making them our oils of choice. 

“Next to sugar, vegetable oils are probably the most pro-inflammatory and unhealthy things in our diet,” because they contain mostly omega-6 fatty acids. He explained that we should be eating a 1:1 balance of anti-inflammatory omega-3s and pro-inflammatory omega-6s. But we are getting 16 times more omega-6s than omega-3s, leading to unhealthy inflammation. 

Bowden added that Malaysian palm oil is not inflammatory, and that it’s loaded with vitamin E tocotrienols and carotenoids that are really good for the brain. 

Unlike many other cooking oils, palm oil is a more balanced fat, containing an equal proportion of unsaturated and saturated fats, and a low pro-inflammatory omega-6 level. Red palm oil’s natural red color comes from its abundance of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant with numerous health benefits. 

Palm oil is also rich in tocotrienols, antioxidants that are up to 60 times more potent than tocopherols, the more common vitamin E form. And, it won’t break down into toxic substances when you cook with it at any temperature below its smoke point.

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