How to choose a healthy cooking oil

healthy cooking oil, heart healthy cooking oilWith so many choices available, it can be confusing to select the best cooking oil. You should know the few basic points, which will make the selection much easier. Different cooking oils have varying amounts of fats and temperature ranges. The knowledge of smoke point and fat contents of the oil will enable you to make healthier choices for your family.Usually, the best approach is to have 2 or 3 different types of oils and use them depending on cooking methods and taste. The following article will help you in choosing good and suitable cooking oils.

1) Decide on the cooking methods or usages like deep frying, sauteing, salad dressing etc. According to smoke point, shortlist the oils.
2) If you need to heat the oil, use refined oil with higher smoke point. Otherwise for direct drizzling, salad dressing, unrefined oil with higher healthy fats is a better option.
3) Always read labels. For better health, choose oils that are low in Saturated fat and high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Oil should be free from trans-fat.
4) Along with health benefits, Weigh the price of oil. Choosing the expensive oil does not mean you have selected the healthy oil.

Choose oil according to usage
Deep frying:
For deep frying, you will need oils with high smoke point and low in saturated fat. Example Avocado oil, Safflower oil, Corn oil, peanut oil, Canola oil, sunflower oil

Sauteing and stir frying:

Any oil with low saturated fat like canola oil, avocado oil, safflower oil, corn oil, Olive oil, walnut oil, peanut oil are good for stir frying.

Salad dressing and direct drizzling:

Any oil, refined or unrefined but low in saturated fats is good.

Choosing Oil according to Fat content
Every oil contains three types of fats - Saturated fats, Unsaturated fats, Polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated Fats:
Always consider the oil, low in saturated fats. Saturated fats raise the level of bad cholesterol, LDL. Lowering the intake of saturated fat reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity. Coconut oil, palm oil, butter, margarine, lard are the examples of high in saturated fats.

Monounsaturated Fats and polyunsaturated fats:

These two fats lower the level of bad cholesterol and LDL. It contains essential fatty acids like omega-6, omega-3 that are needed in our diet. These important acids may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, obesity. Monounsaturated fats has better effect on our health that polyunsaturated fats as monounsaturated fats also maintain the level of good cholesterol. Oils containing both of these fats are generally good source of vitamin E.

Oils/ fats which should be avoided:
Coconut oil, palm oil, butter, margarine and other fats/ oils with high in saturated fat should be avoided or consumed in limited quantity. Food prepared in these fats will taste amazing, but it will increase the cholesterol level which is very dangerous to heart health.

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Anonymous August 7, 2010 at 2:24 PM  

It is important to not use any GM oils such as corn or soy. You can look up the results of lab tests on rats/mice fed GM foods. The results were very scary.
Also in regard to oil producing crops that are sprayed with chemical pesticides and grown with chemical fertilizers that the toxins are absorbed by fat cells which are then transfered directly to the end user (you). So it is extremely important to stick strictly to organically grown oils (including butter).
Select cold pressed produced oils as heat damages and alters oil, causes rancidity and rancid oils are known carcinogens. So be careful not to burn your cooking oils.

Anonymous August 7, 2010 at 2:48 PM  

The bad rap given Coconut oil is has now been proven incorrect. Coconut oil is one of the best, healthiest oils available. I have used nothing but (raw, organic, extra virgin) coconut oil for years and have very healthy cholesterol levels which are a considered an hereditary problem in my family. I still use a good olive oil (extra virgin, organic, cold-pressed) for things like salad dressings and some saut├ęs but I have come to prefer the taste of (Aloha Nu) coconut oil -some brands do taste just a little different. It also has the advantage of being able to lightly crisp things without burning (where olive oil fails).
Butter also has been given a bad rap. But the truth is real organic butter (rich in Vit E) is so much healthier than the 'substitutes' like margarine (which REALLY are NOT good for us). Please re-evaluate the information on these 2 forms of oil - because our bodies need what they have to offer. The "Fat-Free" concept is an unhealthy idea and a very dangerous recommendation.
Read about the Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

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