There are plenty of selections when it comes to oils for cooking. Many people get deceived by oils that are labeled “Vegetable Oil,” which they think are healthy. Unfortunately, they are unhealthy as they have been processed or refined soybean oil. Some are from corn, grapeseed, safflower, and cottonseed, which have been processed using extreme heat and pressure and with the use of industrial solvents.
The mentioned oils are not good for you and your family as they come with polyunsaturated fats that can increase the production of free radicals and faster oxidation process whenever they are exposed to light and heat. When consumed, this can result to health problems, including Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases, along with diabetes and heart disease.
What to Look for in Your Cooking Oil
When you shop for cooking oil, you need to make sure it uses not just any kind of fat, but saturated fat only. This type of fat is very stable and does not cause as much bodily inflammations as polyunsaturated oils. Saturated fats only contain single bonds in their fatty acid molecules whereas polyunsaturated fats have at least two.
Those that have double bonds can quickly react chemically and are generally sensitive to heat. Saturated and monounsaturated are good at resisting heat, but those oils with polyunsaturated fats should not be used in cooking.
The Best Cooking Oils
Without further ado, here are the top four cooking oils that you should use when cooking food:
1. Coconut Oil
When it comes to cooking in high heat, you should use coconut oil as this is the best choice. It has fatty acids that are more than 90% saturated, which means this type of oil is very heat-resistant. Additionally, it is semi-solid when stored at room temperature. It does not go rancid even if you don’t use it for several months.
Another huge plus is the fact that coconut oil has a number of health benefits. It has Lauric Acid, which has the ability to lower bad cholesterol levels, while killing bacteria and other known pathogens. Also, coconut oil is said to boost metabolism and gives satiety to your served foods. When buying coconut oil, make sure it is virgin coconut oil, which is organic and tastes good as well.
For quite some time, butter had a bad reputation because it contained high saturated fat. However, more studies came up and it was proven that there is nothing to be scared about real butter. Instead of the processed margarine, use real butter when you cook food because the latter is good for your health and has a lot of benefits to offer, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K2
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
CLA and Butyrate are both fatty acids with health benefits. CLA helps in lowering your body fat percentage, while Butyrate helps in fighting inflammation, improving the health of your gut, and resisting obesity as observed in rat studies.
Real butter has 68% saturated fat, but there is one caveat when you use it for cooking: it burns fast when you expose it to high heat because of the small amounts of proteins and sugars in it. To avoid this, clarify your butter to remove proteins and lactose, giving you pure butterfat. The butter you buy should be from grass-fed cows only. This type of butter has the nutrients mentioned above and is so much healthier than those produced from cows fed with grains.
3. Olive Oil
You may have heard about the health benefits of olive oil for your heart. It increases the production of good cholesterol in your bloodstream and has 14% saturated fat and 75% unsaturated fat. Despite having fatty acids that contain double bonds, olive oil is still resistant to heat.
When you buy this type of oil, make sure it is extra virgin because it has more nutrients, tastes better, and contains so much more antioxidants when compared to the refined oil. The only problem with olive oil is that it can go rancid easily if you don’t store it in a cool, dry place with just the right amount of light.
4. Palm Oil
From the oil palm fruits, palm oil has saturated and monounsaturated fats, making it an excellent choice for cooking. The unrefined variety, also known as the Red Palm Oil, is considered the best type to buy. It offers vitamin E and coenzyme Q10 among its many nutrients.
Oils to Avoid
Cooking oils with high polyunsaturated fat content should definitely be avoided. Don’t use nuts and seeds for cooking because they are usually processed. If you really want to consume them, make sure they are not processed and are still in their whole food form. You can use these oils as a part of recipe, but it is wise to avoid using them when you fry food. A good alternative to these oils is macadamia oil, which you can use when cooking in low to medium heat.
You should also avoid industrial seed and vegetable oils because these oils are highly processed. They have high omega 6 fatty acid content and are too refined that experts believe you should avoid them altogether.
Knowing what to look for in your cooking oil can help you prevent and decrease the risk for various diseases.