What is Tallow? Uses and Benefits
When you think of glowing skin or disease prevention, melted animal fat is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, tallow is a saturated fat you’ll want to keep stocked in your pantry for its numerous benefits and countless uses.
Many refer to tallow as an ‘old fashioned fat’ because historically, it was the primary fat used for cooking and frying thanks to its unusually high smoke point. However, tallow was replaced with refined vegetable oils (such as canola), when some studies claimed that saturated fats cause heart disease. (Spoiler alert: many would argue there’s still no scientific evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease)
What is Tallow?
As a saturated animal fat, tallow almost looks like a hybrid of coconut oil and butter, but with a dry, waxy texture. It’s generally made from cattle fat, but can come from any animal, except pork — pork tallow is called lard. So, tallow is basically cow lard.
Beef tallow is: 50% saturated fat, 42% monounsaturated fat and 4% polyunsaturated fat.
Tallow is made from rendering suet, which is the hard, white fatty layer that surrounds an animal’s organs, specifically the loins and kidneys.
Tallow is rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a fatty acid which, according to some studies, can help burn fat.
Supports Skin Health
Believe it or not, tallow is the original ‘body butter’.
Sure, slathering beef fat all over your body may not sound appealing at first, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it.
The structure of our cell membranes is made up of approximately 50% saturated fats, which is very similar to the percentage of saturated fatty acids in tallow. Fatty acids are also considered the building blocks of skin cells, which makes them an important component for skin repair and regeneration.
Since anything we put on our bodies is absorbed through the skin, you may also get some of the benefits of tallow by applying it topically, as well as by eating it.
Supports the Immune System
Fat is needed to absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which help support your immune system. Adding tallow to your food can help increase the healthy fats in your diet, which in turn may help you absorb these nutrients more efficiently.