As I promised a few weeks ago in my article on the best foods for metabolism and energy, I owe you an article about oils. Oils are an important part of our diet. We use it for cooking and salads and they can really enhance the taste of our food. But, as you can imagine, oil contains a lot of fat, so it is important to select the right oil that can assist with your health, weight and well-being.
Although oils may all give you the same amount of calories and fats, some are defined as “bad” fats (saturated and trans fats which increase the risk for certain diseases) and the “good” fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and play a number of other beneficial roles.
So in order to make the right choice here are some essential facts you need to know about fats and cooking oils.
- Oil is high in fat, containing 9 grams of fat per gramme, so from a weight loss point of view all oils are equally bad.
- From a general health point of view it is much better to choose oils that are low in saturated fat & high in monounsaturated fat and omega 3 fatty acids.
- Avoid oils and food high in saturated fat. So avoid coconut oil, palm oil, butter and hard margarine. For food, avoid dairy and red meat. Transfats are even worse so avoid these at all costs. They are found in fast fried foods.
- All olive oils contain exactly the same amount of calories but extra virgin olive oil is the most natural and has the most aroma and flavor. This oil is called cold pressed as it is produced by mechanically squeezing the oil under pressure. So only use this extra virgin olive oil for cooking.
- It is important not to overheat oil beyond their smoking point and also never re-use oil for frying as it is a cancer causing agent. You should also not add fresh oil to fired oil.
- Omega-3 fats are an important fat with anti-aging benefits like the regulation of blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also influence the genetic function. The body can’t make these, so they must come from food. Fish 2 or 3 times a week should be part of your weekly diet as it is an excellent source of omega-3 fats. Other good plant sources of omega-3 fats include chia seeds (sold as Salvia), flax seeds, walnuts, and oils such as flaxseed, canola, and soybean. Canola oil is rich in fatty acids.
- For deep frying food use oils with a high smoke point such as canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil.
- For salad dressing only use cold-pressed unrefined vegetable oils such as sesame, olive oil, sunflower or safflower oil. Another good choice is canola oil which is rich in omega-3 fats.
- The good monounsaturated fats are found in canola, peanut, and olive oils, avocados, nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans and seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seed.
- The good polyunsaturated fats are found in sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils, and also in foods such as walnuts, flax seeds, and fish. Omega-3 fats are an important type of polyunsaturated fat.
I believe that eating the right foods and fats can make all the difference with your health in your later years, so hopefully you will find this useful!