By now you have probably heard over and over that Olive Oil is the healthiest oil out there. It does get the popular vote, but there are other oils just as healthy. Take for instance Canola Oil. This Oil is derived from the canola plant, and has the least amount of saturated fat of any other common cooking oil. It has high oleic oil content with the ability to reduce disease risk factors. Another oil that is not talked about a lot is Avocado Oil. Avocado also is high in oleic acid and contains powerful phytonutrients like beta-sitosterol, which has been shown to lower cholesterol, and glutathione, which provides protection against certain types of cancer. Some other great oils are Coconut oil, Sacha Inchi Oil, Grapeseed and Flaxseed oil.
Once you pick one of these oils from the multitudes of options on your grocery market shelves, here are a few ideas of what to do with them.
Flavor with Olive oil
One of the richest sources of monounsaturated fats, olive oil seems to cool the inflammation that leads to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and worsening arthritis. In one Spanish study of 755 Canary Islands Women, those who had 1/3 ounce a day were the least likely to get breast cancer.
Watch the calories, though. A tablespoon of olive oil – or virtually any oil – packs 120 calories, so use a light hand. Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons on veggies like squash, asparagus, and green beans instead of butter. Buy an oil mister and spritz your pans with it instead of spray on oil. Get only what you’ll use in the next two months and store it in a cool, dark spot. Old olive oil goes rancid and tastes like soggy cardboard.
Splurge on extra-virgin
This is the fruity, full-bodied good stuff to use in situations where taste is important, such as in salad dressings; it also has the most antioxidants. In a Spanish study comparing the effects of extra-virgin olive oil with olive oil that had all of its antioxidant phenols filtered out, the arteries of people who had the extra-virgin oil expanded and contracted easily in response to changes in blood flow – a trait that cuts heart attack risk.
Use Canola oil when you don’t want an assertive flavor
Replace butter in baking recipes with Canola oil, using a ratio of ¾ tablespoon of oil for each teaspoon of butter called for in the recipe. Also, switching from corn or sunflower oil to canola oil in muffins, cakes, and sautéed dishes is one of the most powerful “good fat” strategies you can deploy.
It’s smart to keep canola as well as olive oil in your pantry; each has its nutritional and culinary charms. Canola is lower in saturated fat and has more polyunsaturated fat, which lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol more effectively than monounsaturated fats do.
Try Grapeseed and flaxseed oil.
Grapeseed oil, also rich in healthy fats, is perfect for high-temperature cooking. Flaxseed oil, which breaks down in high heat, is best used at room temperature cooking. Flaxseed oil, which breaks down in high heat, is best used at room temperature as a salad dressing. Dress leafy greens with flaxseed oil by shaking up a smart vinaigrette with flaxseed oil, balsamic vinegar, and your favorite herbs and spices. Then store the extra in the refrigerator. Heat destroys the essential fatty acids in this fragile, light-tasting oil. Think oil’s too much of a luxury on your salad? It’s time to rethink fat-free dressing. New research shows that none of the cancer-fighting alpha – or beta-carotene antioxidants found in salad greens are absorbed unless oils are present. (You could add nuts or avocado instead).
Use Coconut Oil in your desserts
Coconut oil carries a natural sweetness so it’s a great choice for desserts that require oil. Plus, it is safe for cooking, so it makes a great choice for baked goods that might benefit from a coconut flavor. Try using coconut oil to replace butter in your sweet bread recipes or even try it in your marinades for Chicken, Fish or Vegetables for a slightly tropical island flavor.
In summary, it isn’t about avoiding oil but about choosing the healthiest oils to use in your everyday cooking and baking.
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