With all the information out there about different oils, it can be hard to keep straight what oils are good for you and what oils may be harmful. Without getting too technical, I want to offer up my two cents on oil options.
Three things you want to look for when choosing an oil:
1. How is the oil processed?
Some vegetable oils are heavily processed in order to increase their shelf life. This will often mean that these processed oils are high in trans fats. It is important to be mindful of this as there has been indication that oil high in trans fat can get lodged in your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.
2. What happens to the oil at different temperatures?
When certain oils are heated, they become oxidized, which is a process where free radicals react with oxygen. Basically, the elements in the oil have changed and the affect on your body can be harmful and potentially cause inflammation. Inflammation will always cause an increased risk of developing acute and chronic health conditions.
3. Does the oil have useful nutrients and a balanced omega ratio?
The oil you consume should have healthy fats, which can provide a variety of health benefits. You want to be mindful of the ratio between the omega 3 and omega 6 fats. Omega 3 has anti-inflammatory tendencies while omega 6 has pro-inflammation tendencies. While your body does need both types of omega, keeping your omega 3 and 6 ratio balanced will help lower chronic inflammation.
Oils I try to stay away from:
Soybean oil, corn oil, vegetable oil and canola oil.
Most restaurants will cook with these oils because of their lower price point so be mindful how often and how much you're consuming.
My favourite oils and when I use them:
- Virgin olive oil is great to use for salads and sauces because it’s filled with nutrients and great flavour. I will not cook with this oil because of it’s low smoke point of 320°F.
- Virgin coconut oil is great for baking foods because it can withstand a slightly higher temperature of 350°F without becoming harmful. It also contains antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant properties which is why I love using this as my massage oil.
- Avocado oil has a smoke point of 520°F so it’s always my choice when I’m frying or sautéing foods. It’s also high in vitamin E.
Now that you have some awareness about oils, be sure to read the labels of all packaged foods you're eating. You will be shocked to learn how many foods have harmful oils within their ingredients.