Dec 26 2021

How well do You know your Cooking Oils?

Published by at 12:12 pm under Cooking Pils

Do you know your cooking oils?

Kitchen oils are plentiful and knowing how and when to use them can be confusing… here are a few tips.1*  

When you scan the cooking oil shelf in the grocery store, there are many varieties. Do you have a favorite? Cooking oils are not all used the same way. Some are best at different temperatures, have different shelf lives, and have different nutritional values. Although they all have many similarities, there are major differences among the most popular kitchen oils such as flavor and their smoke point. Using the right oil can make all the difference in your recipes and using the wrong one can result in a kitchen failure. Let’s look at the different oils and how they are best used. 1*

Vegetable Oil

Let’s start with the most common and the one that is the worst for you. That is vegetable oil. Because it has the word vegetable in it it’s easy to mistake this oil as healthy. But don’t be fooled. Many are highly processed and are simply refined extractions of various seeds. Due to its questionable ingredients, it typically causes an imbalance in the recommended ratio between omega-3s and omega-6s. This makes it an inflammatory food that can lead to cancers and many other health-related issues. So skip the vegetable oil and instead, choose from some of the healthier options below.(1,2)*

Olive Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

All olive oil comes from the fruit of the olive plant, but what accounts for the difference is how the oil is extracted and processed.

Olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil taste different and do not react the same way to heat. Regular Olive oil, often called “Pure Olive Oil” or “Light Olive Oil”,  is usually light in color, has a neutral flavor, and is less costly than extra virgin olive oil. It is typically a blend of cold-pressed olive oil and olive oil that has been refined either chemically or with heat to remove any natural impurities. It is also able to handle a higher temperature than extra-virgin olive oil.1*

Extra virgin olive oil has been cold-pressed from the fruit, meaning it has not been exposed to chemicals or heat treated. This higher-quality oil is more flavorful and has a darker color. The flavor ranges from herbal and fruity to bitter and peppery, depending on the olives harvested. This oil has a lower smoke point since it is unrefined, so use extra caution when cooking with extra virgin olive oil. It is best drizzled on foods, used in salad dressings, or used for dipping. There is true art to creating delicious extra virgin olive oil and some can be quite expensive. 1*

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is very versatile and full of taste and has a very high smoke point. Unlike many oils that are pressed from seeds, avocado oil is made from the actual avocado. This heart-healthy oil has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help prevent heart disease, arterial damage, and blood pressure.1*

 Coconut Oil

Not only can coconut oil be used on your skin and even in your hair but you can also use it in cooking. The fats found in coconut oil convert more easily to energy than other fat, help boost your metabolism, curb your appetite, and aid in weight loss.

 Coconut oil has a moderate heat roasting level, so it is great for sautéing and roasting. It can be used in baking instead of butter or other oils. Because it solidifies at 74 degrees, it does not work well in salad dressings or marinades. 1*

Canola Oil

Canola is a good option for everyday cooking, from eggs to chicken. Canola oil can endure relatively high levels of heat and has a neutral flavor that won’t overpower a dish. From a health perspective, it has a near-even ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. This dietary ratio has been shown to help battle cancer, arthritis, and asthma. It also contains the essential omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic which may play a role in weight maintenance.1*

Grape seed Oil

Grapeseed oil has a simple, neutral taste that doesn’t overpower other ingredients and has a high smoke point so can be used for all types of cooking. While it is a great source of essential fatty acids and vitamin C, it should be consumed in moderation because it also contains a high amount of omega-6s. Omega-6s can increase inflammation and cause weight gain. Note, that grape seed oil is also found in beauty products, so make sure you are buying food-grade when purchasing.1*

Pumpkin Seed Oil

Pumpkin seed oil is a power-packed food rich in vitamin A, K, E, as well as both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It has a rich green color and nutty flavor that makes it the perfect addition to a dish.

Pumpkin seed oil is good for light sautéing or low-heat baking since it may lose some nutritional value when heated. It’s great for getting creative by using salad dressing, dips, or a marinade base.1*

Walnut Oil

Walnuts are full of nutritional benefits such as high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and a significant source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. It has a rich and nutty flavor so it is great for drizzling over pasta and used in salad dressings. At high temperatures, it gets slightly bitter so it is best uncooked. Diets rich in walnuts and walnut oil have been shown to help the body respond better to stress and keep diastolic blood pressure levels down.1*

Sunflower Seed Oil

The sunflower seed oil has a high smoke point so it is great for searing meats, fish, and sautéing vegetables. It is shown to improve heart health, help fight cancer, lower bad cholesterol, and boost energy. 1*

Peanut Oil

Peanut oil has a high smoke point and has a bold and nutty, slightly sweet taste. It is commonly used in Asian dishes, and great in stir-fries and for sautéing veggies. It is high in calories yet low in saturated fats. Its mostly monounsaturated fatty acid content helps lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. It’s high in omega-6 and can mess up the omega 3:6 ratio, which can cause health problems. Go easy on this oil and stick with the unrefined, cold-pressed versions as opposed to the commercial peanut oils which are generally found in grocery stores and fast-food restaurants. These are refined, bleached, and deodorized. While the unrefined cold-pressed versions are more expensive, it is well worth the benefits to your health. 1*

Sesame oil

This oil has a very distinct nutty taste. It is loaded with antioxidants which help slow down cell growth and replication, lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and improve skin. Sesame oil provides 17% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K which provides bone support and prevents blood clotting.

With a high smoke point of 410 degrees, it is suitable for most cooking purposes. Cold-pressed sesame oil tastes great in vinaigrettes, dressings, and marinades while toasted sesame oil brings great flavor to dishes like stir-fries and dips.1*

Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil or Hemp oil is not recommended for cooking as it loses not only its flavor but also nutrients when it reaches a high temperature. Instead, add it to your smoothies, hummus, dressing, and sauces. It also has properties that help heal skin, reduce cholesterol, and control metabolism. You can also find Hemp oil in many natural body care products.1*

Flaxseed Oil

The upside of flaxseed oil is ingesting it daily has a positive effect on the digestive system and can be a natural way to treat constipation. It has also been linked to helping reduce high cholesterol and heart disease. The downside is that the taste is so-so. It has a funky smell and taste when overdone so it’s best in small amounts. Also, it doesn’t tolerate heat, so use uncooked.  

Ghee

Ghee is a form of clarified butter that has gained popularity of late for those on dairy-free diets. The milk protein has been removed so most people who are dairy-intolerant can consume it. It’s a great source of fat-soluble vitamins with a more intense nutty flavor than butter.

Ghee can be used similarly to butter. It has high smoke points, so can be used in cooking, greasing a pan, buttering toast and it can be left a room temperature because it doesn’t contain dairy.1*

 When using oils, follow these guidelines:

Oils that can be used at high heat:

Canola oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil, ghee, avocado oil

For moderate heat: Coconut oil

Low heat: pumpkin seed oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Without heat: Flaxseed oil, hemp oil

With or without heat: Sesame oil, pumpkin seed oil, avocado oil

 

Enjoy your oils but because of the high-calorie content, use in moderation!

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.eatthis.com/cooking-oils/
  2. https://maxliving.com/healthy-articles/gut-health-and-hormonal-imbalances

 

 

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