When it comes choosing to oils, there are two things to consider; the type of fat (healthy vs. unhealthy) and it's heating capacity. One important thing to understand is that anytime you cook with an oil, you risk heating it too much, which can cause oxidation and lead to the formation of carcinogens and other unhealthy compounds that you definitely do not want to be consuming. Below we've outlined a few of our recommendations for the healthiest oil choices and when to use them - we hope you find this helpful.
Best for High Heat Cooking = Coconut Oil
Why Use It:
This is the most stable oil at high heat, it's smoke point is 450 degrees which means its the BEST choice for cooking at high heat. Coconut oil also has some amazing health benefits - it can help improve cholesterol, it is naturally antibacterial and can help ward away colds, flus, and candida growth, and several studies have shown its therapeutic effect for brain injuries and disorders.
How To Use It:
We recommend the unrefined, virgin, unprocessed varietal. If you have never used it before, don't be surprised that it is semi-solid at room temperate. We love coconut oil in baked goods, soups, curries, stir-fry's, and even some grilled or sauteed fish and meat dishes. Try our Chicken Stir Fry Wraps or our Colorful Corn Chowder.
Other Oils For High Heat Cooking:
Avocado Oil - are a great source of healthy fats like Omega 3's to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Great for sautes, frying, and baking!
Ghee - which also has a 500 degree smoke point since its the pure fat of the butter and no milk solids.
Best Choices for Medium-Low Heat Cooking:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - While this oil is packed full of the heart healthy Omega 3's most of need, it is not stable at temperatures above 250 degrees. For this reason, it is best used for low heat sauteing, dips, sauces, marinades, soups and salad dressings. Check out one of our past blog posts on Making Your Own Salad Dressing for some recipes.
Other oils that are great for salad dressings are hemp, walnut and flax oils. Flax oil actually has the very best ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids, and has been called one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. It's been shown to fight heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, so it's worth keeping some around! Be aware that you can NEVER heat it, though, and it has to be stored in the refrigerator. In addition to being amazing in salad dressings, it's great drizzled over steamed veggies or added to smoothies.
Healthy fats are essintial for healthy people. Every cell in your body depends on healthy fats to stay functional. They can even out your energy, protect against disease, and are great for your hair and skin so don't eliminate fats from your diet--just make sure you're making the best choices. If you want to learn more, read our blog post, 3 Big "Fat" Suggestions: Why You Should Focus on the Types of Fats you Eat, Not the Amount
Questions about healthy fats? Please let us know in the comments!
~Billie and Jen
Billie Shellist, FDN-P
I practice functional nutrition, an approach that allows me to look at your entire health history and help you find the "root causes" of your chronic health complaints.
This cuts out the trial and error process and helps you get real symptom relief and resolution!
Food is medicine and knowledge is power -I hope you enjoy my anti-inflammatory recipes which are gluten, dairy, and soy free as well as very low grain and sugar.
If you'd like to heal from the root cause(s) of your chronic symptoms, try starting with a complimentary 15-minute consultation. Click here to request your free session.