Patients often ask me which oils are the healthiest when cooking. This can be a confusing topic because there are so many different options and marketing companies are focused on getting people to buy their “healthy” oil.
Take canola oil, which is often marketed as a healthy choice, is low in saturated fat and has healthy omega-3s. However, have you ever wondered where does rapeseed oil come from? What is a “rapeseed”?
Well, there is no oilseed rape plant. Rapeseed oil is obtained from rapeseed. The oil from the rapeseed plant is not a food, but an industrial oil that is used in lubricants, biofuels, soaps, inks, lipstick and candles. Canola actually stands for “Canadian Oil Low Acid”. It is a genetically modified version of canola oil that is inexpensive because it is subsidized by the Canadian government. The low cost of canola oil is why it is used in most packaged and processed foods.
The following article by Tatum Young, titled “The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Healthy with Oils and Fats,” offers some excellent guidelines on this matter, so I’m reprinting it:
When it comes to choosing which oils and fats to use for cooking, there are many options to choose from. And while the taste an oil gives a dish plays an important role in its selection, your choices should be based on a lot more.
First, you need to consider which oils can withstand high heat. If you’re cooking at high temperatures, you’ll want to use oils that are stable and won’t oxidize or go rancid easily. Oils that oxidize (react with oxygen to form free radicals and harmful compounds) that you certainly don’t want to consume. These compounds cause the body to break down faster, making the body more susceptible to inflammation, degenerative diseases, and accelerated aging.
So what are the safest, healthiest oils and fats to use in cooking?
- Coconut oil. Coconut oil is the best choice when it comes to high heat cooking – and because of its numerous benefits, it’s an oil you’ll want to use over and over again. It can be used for roasting, frying, roasting, baking and grilling. It is also rich in healthy saturated fats, fat-soluble vitamins, antioxidants and valuable compounds for weight loss. The antioxidants contained in coconut oil make it an effective one anti-inflammatory food and help reduce arthritis. At room temperature, the oil is semi-solid, which means it can last months and years without going rancid. When choosing a coconut oil, I recommend extra native varieties as refined or processed coconut oils can eliminate many of the health benefits.
- Palm oil. Obtained from the fruit of the oil palm, it is mainly composed of saturated fats with small amounts of polyunsaturated fats, making it a great choice for cooking. It’s fairly nutritious and especially high in vitamin E. However, the main concern with using palm oil is that growing these trees means less environment for the critically endangered orangutans.
- butter. We all know “butter-like” substances; Margarine, I can’t believe it’s not butter and all those other “vegetable oil spreads” that you find in stores. But real butter, preferably raw or organically sourced from grass (Kerrygold is an easily available brand made from grass) is what you should be reaching for.It may have been demonized in the past due to its saturated content, but real butter (unprocessed margarine) is actually quite nutritious. It’s a good source of vitamins A, E, and K. It’s also high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to lower body fat, and butyrate, which has been shown to fight inflammation and improve bowel health. Butter tends to burn when cooked over high heat. So if you do choose butter, be sure to keep the fire low and watch out for smoke. Alternatively, you can use ghee (purified butter) – you get the same (or at least very similar) taste without burning.
- Avocado oil. When cooked at very high temperatures, avocado oil is a very stable oil. It can be used for sautéing, roasting, and roasting, and can withstand temperatures of up to 520 ° F. Avocado oil contains a high concentration of monounsaturated fats (good and healthy fats – a necessary requirement for a healthy diet), potassium and vitamins A, E and D. If you are new to avocado oil and are not sure about its taste, use it Use it first for sautéing vegetables.
- Animal fat. Animal fat has been avoided in the past due to its saturated fat content and high serum cholesterol. However, the fear of saturated fat is decreasing as more studies show that such foods are not the cause of heart disease or obesity. As long as they are consumed wisely and in moderation, animal fats such as lard or tallow are great for high-heat cooking and are not considered unhealthy if they come from animals that are fed a natural diet (grass-fed) and in a natural setting .
- olive oil. Olive oil has numerous health benefits and is an exceptionally heart-healthy oil. It has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and decrease the amount of oxidized LDL cholesterol. Most sources, however, suggest that olive oil can withstand 320 ° F heat – and should preferably be used cold as a dressing. Although there are some olive oils on the market (virgin and refined) that are better suited for high heat cooking (they can withstand temperatures up to 400 ° F), these oils are inferior in terms of nutritional properties. So if you choose to go for an inferior olive oil, make sure it is either expeller or cold pressed.
- Seed oils. Seed oils are often refined with chemicals, bleaches, and deodorants. These oils are generally used in commercial high heat cooking because of their high temperature resistance and low cost. Since oils such as soy, canola, corn, safflower, grape seed, and vegetable oils are made from tiny seeds, they are often refined using many chemical extractions.
Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove uses a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing, and lifestyle counseling, to help clients achieve optimal health and wellbeing in an environment. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.