Understanding Healthy oils

I get asked all the time “what are the best oils for cooking and for smart nutrition?”
After decades of following low-fat diets, many people don’t realize how essential dietary fat is for overall health, well-being and delicious-tasting food. Healthy fats help you absorb essential vitamins and phytonutrients, help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, are an important building block for cell membranes, help keep hair, skin and nails from becoming brittle and dry, and help you feel full and satisfied after a meal. With the many different types of cooking oils on grocery store shelves, it is helpful to learn which oils support your health and are good for cooking and which ones are not good choices.

The best choice of oil depends in part on how you will be using it. Choose oils that are cold- or expeller-pressed and certified organic whenever possible. Certified organic extra-virgin olive oil should be your “go-to” oil for most uses. Certified organic expeller-pressed canola oil is an excellent choice for baking. Here is a list of our favorite oils and some to avoid.

Good Oils
Olive
Coconut
Canola
Safflower
Grapeseed
Sunflower
Avocado
Flaxseed

Oils to Avoid
Soybean
Corn
Palm
Cottonseed
Crisco*
Lard*
*The most common brands contain
hydrogenated (man-made) oils.

Completely avoid any oil that is “partially hydrogenated.” Partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fats, which raise your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol levels, while increasing your risk of developing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and stroke.

Tips for Cooking with Oils
• Cook over low to medium-high heat whenever possible
• Use moist-heat methods, like braising, stewing, steaming and poaching for cooking at lower temperatures
• Use spice rubs rather than marinades when grilling
• Grill with indirect heat

Recommended Oils for Cooking
Low- to Medium-Heat Cooking
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• Organic expeller-pressed canola oil
• Coconut oil
High-Heat Cooking
• Avocado
• Safflower oil
• Sunflower
• Organic refined expeller-pressed canola oil
• Ghee (clarified butter)
Salad Dressings and Dips
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• Flaxseed oil
• Walnut oil

Much more information on this topic is available on our subscription resource and meal-planning website: www.smartnutrition.solutions.