Similar to good fats and bad fats there are good oils and bad oils, so what is the best oil for cooking?
Typically I have used extra virgin olive oil for both cooking and for salads and I know some people swear by coconut oil for cooking, but not all good oils remain healthy when you apply heat. Why are some oils bad for cooking?
Oils have different stabilities when heated. Some oxidize and create free radicals that you don’t want to ingest. Free radicals basically turn good cells into unhealthy cells at a rapid pace and can cause many health problems like heart disease and even cancer. The oils that you want to stay away from are oils that are high in polyunsaturated fat. That’s good because you want to avoid these fats in your diet regardless of whether or not they are heated.
The good oils and cooking products to look for are high in the good fats: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Healthy oils for cooking include:
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Animal Fats
- Palm Oil
You may be surprised that butter is on this list. I was too. But it turns out that thinking that butter is “bad” is based on old thinking and research that thought saturated fats were bad for us.
Saturated fats are actually a dual purpose good fat for cholesterol. Not only is it a source of the good cholesterol (HDL), but it changes the bad cholesterol (LDL) to a benign type of LDL.
Some oils sound like they should be great for cooking, but due to their high concentration of polyunsaturated fats, they make a poor choice.
- Fish Oil
- Canola Oil
- Nut Oils
- Peanut Oils
- Flaxseed Oil
- Seed and Vegetable Oils
Most of these oils really should be avoided, especially in large quantities. Oils like Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil in doses like a tablespoon per day can provide great health benefits. They are high in Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 is essential in our diet because it helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce mental diseases like depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as well rheumatoid problems and joint pain.
The next question I have is if I am I utilizing too much oil? Sometimes I think we are going through bottles pretty quickly and maybe that’s not good for my diet. Health Canada says that in one sitting we should limit our intake to 10ml or 10g/serving. I didn’t see the daily intake, but at 3 meals/day, about 30ml or 30g/day sounds about right when cross referenced with what the US Food guide says. The amount we take should be based on our overall calorie intake as well, so factor that in if you are looking for yourself.
For now, I will start measuring what we are utilizing to assess how much over the daily allowance we are and then start a reduction plan to get to the correct amount. It should be interesting to see if that has a large effect on our weight and overall health over time.
What oils do you normally use when cooking?