Are You Cooking with Healthy Oils

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olive oil

Cooking with the Healthy Oils

As we age, more and more attention goes into making sure we are taking better care of our bodies. From diet to exercise, there are a plethora of ways in which we can make small changes toward a happier, healthier, body-mind-soul. One of the ways in which we might not think our health is being negatively affected is through the oils we use to cook. Often times throughout history, health studies and ideas have changed regarding healthy oils to cook with. With some up to date expert knowledge about cooking with oils, greater insight can be gained into your health; furthering down the path toward a happier, healthier you.

 The Facts

When cooking with oils, it is not only important to pick an oil that his healthy for you, but also an oil that will remain healthy once you cook it. The heating of oils can often times change their chemical makeup, releasing harmful toxins and carcinogens into your food and body. It is best to avoid polyunsaturated fats due to this, as they break up easily under heat. It is best to choose oils with a high level of stability under high heat, according to nutrition experts. This will prevent the oils from oxidizing, a process that releases the harmful free radicals aforementioned. It is also best to choose cooking oils and/or fats that are low in saturated fats, as these can raise the risk for high cholesterol and heart disease.

 What to Avoid

Now that it is known to avoid polyunsaturated oils, one may be wondering what those are. Common polyunsaturated oils include safflower oil, sunflower and sesame seed oil, corn and soy based oils, fish oil, flaxseed oil, as well as several other nut oils. Monounsaturated fats hold up better under heat and include olive, canola, peanut and avocado oils. The monounsaturated fats aren’t the greatest for you when cooking if using them all of the time, however they are certainly a lesser of the two evils. Other oils to avoid include cottonseed oil, grapeseed, and rice bran oil, as well as canola or rapeseed oils. While they do not all low heat indexes, some are highly processed, and to be avoided. Butter substitutes such as margarine and Crisco are also harmful to one’s health, as they contain hydrogenated oils which have been linked with higher cholesterol and even diabetes.

coconut oils

Oils Great for Cooking

Experts have concluded that substituting polyunsaturated and saturated fats in one’s diet with monounsaturated fats works well at lowering cholesterol. This is particularly important as we age. Because of this factor, as well as its incredibly high heat tolerance, coconut oil is the number one best oil to use in the kitchen. If one is to cook with olive oil, peanut oil, macadamia nut oil or avocado oil, it should be done at a lower heat so as to avoid free radicals. Other substances that are OK to cook with sparingly include butter and lard, however, they are high in saturated fats and not recommended as a healthy part of a diet if one is battling high cholesterol or heart disease.

When in doubt about the healthiest oil to cook with, it is best to simply gravitate toward the coconut oil, and use other monounsaturated fat based oils sparingly at low heat. If there is that special occasion where nothing but butter will do, go for the real thing rather than the margarine, as using a hydrogenated oil would be worse. Lard can be similar to butter with a low amount of polyunsaturated fats and high monounsaturated fats depending on the diet of the animal. Those fed grains will have a higher polyunsaturated fat makeup, while a grass-fed diet will yield high monounsaturated fats within the lard. One should note that it is best to consult a physician before applying and changes to your diet that you are unsure about.

For more great tips on healthy living, visit us at MD Home Health. Until then, start cooking your way into better health.