By Melody Simanian
Nothing tastes better than a fresh, home cooked meal, especially when we are looking to lose weight or maintain our weight loss. We often forget about how important the type of oil we use affects maintaining a healthy diet. Cooking oils can be a good source of essential fatty acids, which are necessary for maintaining good health, brain function, and overall cell growth and development.
The healthiest oils to cook with are those that are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil and avocado oil. These oils are less likely to oxidize and cause inflammation when heated, as compared to oils that are high in saturated fats like coconut oil and palm oil.
Oils high in monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil and avocado oil, are good for you because they can help lower your risk of heart disease. These oils can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood, which can help improve your overall cholesterol profile. Monounsaturated fats also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Additionally, monounsaturated fats can help improve insulin sensitivity, which can be beneficial for those with diabetes or metabolic syndrome!
Oils high in saturated fats, such as coconut oil, palm oil, and butter, are considered less healthy because they can raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease. These oils are also more likely to oxidize and form harmful compounds when heated, which can contribute to inflammation in the body. Partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) are considered harmful to health and should be avoided, as they can also raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease.
One important thing to remember is to never use olive oil on high heat! Cooking with olive oil at high heat can have many negative effects including the following:
Low Smoke Point: One of the main reasons why it's not recommended to cook with olive oil at high heat is that it has a relatively low smoke point of around 410°F (210°C). This means that it begins to break down and smoke at relatively lower temperatures than other oils, such as canola oil or avocado oil which have a smoke point of over 400°F.
Loss of Nutritional Value: As mentioned before, olive oil is a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and other beneficial nutrients. However, when it's exposed to high heat, it can lose some of these beneficial compounds.
Harmful Compounds: Heating olive oil to high temperatures can create harmful compounds such as acrolein and aldehydes, which can affect the flavor and nutritional value of the food.
Change of Taste and Smell: Olive oil has a distinct taste and smell that is prized by many people. However, when it's exposed to high heat, it can change in taste and smell, making it less desirable.
So which oil seems to be the best for cooking?
Avocado oil is the way to go. The oil is unprocessed like extra virgin olive oil, but has a higher smoking point, which means it can be used to cook at higher heat and is great for cooking. And don’t forget the best part of it all..avocado oil doesn’t have much flavor, which makes it definitely make it a great option for cooking!