Even when following a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet, it will still be necessary to prepare certain foods using oil. The best oil to cook with will not only make nutritious foods taste great, but will also help ensure your good health. Here are some healthy cooking oils you should add to your shopping list.
Derived from the flesh of avocados, this oil is high in monounsaturated fat, which can effectively lower bad cholesterol levels. It also provides an antioxidant known as lutein, which is known to boost eye health. According to a study at Ohio State University, avocado oil may be the best oil to cook with when making salad dressings. That’s because avocado oil improves how well your body absorbs antioxidants such as beta-carotene and lycopene, two substances that are present in high amounts in vegetables.
Refined coconut oil, which is sometimes labeled “virgin”, contains high amounts of medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. MCTs are more likely to be burned as energy in the liver instead of being stored in the body as fat. A report published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics stated that replacing long-chain fatty acids with MCTs could result in a reduction in fat mass. Aside from being one of the best oils to cook with, coconut oil can also enhance the immune system, strengthen bones, stabilize blood pressure, and promote healthy kidney function, among other things.
Canola oil comes from the seeds of the rapeseed plant, a specimen primarily grown in Canada. This oil contains a very healthy 2:1 ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. This is important, as consuming oils with a high Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, and may also promote inflammation in the body. For best results, choose certified organic canola oil, which is not produced from genetically-modified plants.
Extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat. In fact, as much as 78% of its fat content in monounsaturated. This is important because monounsaturated fats have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels and promote hearth health. Another reason extra virgin olive oil may be one of the best oils to cook with is the fact that it contains high levels of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that also help keep your heart healthy. Trace amounts of Vitamins E and K are found in extra virgin olive oil as well.
When it comes to cutting fat and calories, oil often receives a bad rap. The truth is that cooking oil does not have to be unhealthy when the right type is chosen and it is used in moderation. What the best oil to cook with is is up for debate; however, any of the ones listed here are healthy choices that you can use in all your favorite dishes without feeling guilty about it.