Which Oil is the Right Oil For You?

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Which Oil is the Right Oil For You?
There’s been a narrative that eating and using oily products is not good for your health.  Sure, there are plenty of unhealthy, oily food items out there, like french fries, fried chicken, fried oreos, basically anything with the word fried in it, should be avoided.  With this narrative, people have been lead to believe that all oils are bad oils, which is not true at all.  No two oils are created equally and all oils can have different benefits while others may actually live up to that narrative that they are unhealthy.  It’s time to put that old narrative to rest and find out which oils you should be using, and which you should steer clear of.

 

First off, there are many types of oils out there, from coconut oil to avocado oil.  They also have different types of fats in them.  There are saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats.  The fats found in the oil determine what temperature they can safely be cooked with.  Saturated and monounsaturated fat oil can handle a high temperature of cooking, while polyunsaturated fat oil cannot handle the heat and maxes out at about medium temperature, but it depends on the brand.  Usually, the label on the bottle will say what it can handle.  There are also different ways they are made.  The main differences are cold-pressed, chemically extracted, unrefined and refined oils.  Fruits and nuts that are soft are usually cold-pressed, while hard seeds are usually chemically extracted.  Unrefined oils are filtered only to remove large particles and usually have a low cooking temperature, if that.  Refined oils are made for high cooking temperature, although they go through more of a process to get there and usually don’t have a pronounced taste like unrefined oils1.

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Now that you know how oil is made and what all the differences are, it’s time to break down the healthiest option in terms of oil.  Olive oil is one of the more popular healthy oils and with good reason.  It’s been labeled one of the healthiest oils you can use, but you can’t use it for all of your oil needs.  Unfortunately, it has a low cooking temperature and is best used for salad dressing and things of that nature.  That doesn’t stop it from having plenty of benefits, like cardiovascular health and prevention of stroke, inflammation, high blood pressure and cholesterol.

 

Other, lesser-known oils that are good for you are coconut, almond, avocado, and sunflower seed oil.  Coconut oil is one on the rise, with many of its benefits becoming more well known to society.  It has plenty of benefits, and lots of uses for it, even outside of the kitchen.  However, the unrefined version of this has a low cooking temperature, which limits what you can do with it.

 

Almond oil is another oil with many benefits both inside and outside of the body.  It can help with healing scars, hair, chapped lips, and much more.  The refined version also has a high cooking temperature, so you can use it for just about anything.  Sunflower seed oil is another healthy oil with a high cooking temperature.  It’s also a good source for vitamin E and can help with constipation problems and with lowering bad cholesterol2.

 

Although there are benefits to cooking with oil and using it for other purposes, there are some that you should try to avoid. Oils like palm oil, canola oil, and vegetable/soybean oil are all oils you should stay away from.  They tend to be high in saturated fats, which can be very bad for cholesterol levels and lack in any health benefits.  A lot of oils have some great benefits to them, but everything in moderation.  Deep frying foods in healthy oils isn’t going to magically keep or make the food healthy, but it is best to use the healthiest oils possible in any situation.

 

Yours in good health,

 

Vanessa Ardila

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  1. http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/guides/tips_cooking_oils.html
  2. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-40-sunflower%20oil.aspx?activeingredientid=40&activeingredientname=sunflower%20oil
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