Do you need an oil change?
You’ve probably got a couple of different kinds of oil cluttering up your kitchen, and I’m sure most of us have stared down the rows of shelves of cooking oils in the supermarket and had no idea what to buy.
To protect your body, ease your mind, and please your palate, have a look at these:
Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is – freshly pressed from the fruit. It’s highest in monounsaturated fat, which is the “heart-healthy” kind of fat. Eating olive oil promotes healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
What’s the difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil?
Extra virgin oil comes from the first “pressing” of the olive, is extracted without using heat (a cold press) or chemicals, and has no “off” flavours.
Save your extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings, drizzling over cooked vegetables, pasta, baked potatoes, or even popcorn.
But for sauces, sautéing, or roasting vegetables in the oven or on the grill, reach for the 100% olive oil instead. You’re still getting the heart healthy benefits of the monounsaturated fats, but you’re not wasting money on compounds that are largely destroyed in the cooking process.
Using sunflower oil is another good way of cooking smart and getting healthy. It’s excellent for baking and frying.
Peanut oil is used in Asian cooking to add great flavour to a number of dishes. It’s light and easy to cook with. Peanut oil is a good way to fry meats because of its high “smoke point” (the temperature at which an oil will begin to burn).
Sesame oil is used in Asian cooking and has a distinct nutty taste that adds flavour to a number of dishes. Use it to stir-fry vegetables, beef and chicken. Its health benefits include magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, and vitamins B6 and E. In studies, sesame oil has also been shown to reduce blood pressure in men with hypertension. Because it has such a toasty flavor, sesame oil can overwhelm more delicate dishes, so go easy on it. Adding a teaspoon to your bottle of salad dressing can add flavor and nutrition without overwhelming your taste buds.
Don’t cook with it! Best reserved for dressings, although it does have a distinctive taste so use it as part of your salad dressing to mask the flavour.
Containing all kinds of omega-3 and omega-6 goodness it is best consumed raw and should be kept in the fridge.
Like olive oil, walnut oil is an important part of the Mediterranean Diet that we always hear so much about. In fact, walnut oil rivals olive oil in terms of anti-inflammatory properties. Walnut oil’s smoke point means that it is appropriate for cooking at medium heat, but less useful for high-heat sautéing. It can be used for baking as well.
Extracted from the meat of mature coconuts, coconut oil is a bit of a natural food “star” at the moment, with tons of health claims flying about. Although coconut oil contains a high percentage of saturated fat, these fats are in the form of medium chain triglycerides, which are handled by the body differently than regular saturated fats. Your body will use them immediately for energy and it seems they won’t pose the same health threat as typical saturated fats. It’s good for frying due to its high smoking point, or can eaten cold because of its unique flavour.