Oils: The Two I Use
For those of you who grew up during the low-fat craze, you may have a hard time letting go of the idea that fat will make you fat. But it’s time to get over it.
You need fat in your diet:
- Is a critical part of our nervous system.
- Keeps our hair, skin, and nails healthy.
- Helps keep us satiated.
- Is the best way to absorb our fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K), which also means that a low-fat diet is going to reduce your intake of these vitamins and indirectly affect everything those help. For example: eye health, hormones, immunity/powerful antioxidant, and blood clotting, respectively.
Fat is your friend.
So hopefully since you’re not scared anymore, you want to know what the best fats to include are. In this article we’re just going to talk about the healthiest oils, but there are other healthy fats that you can eat as well.
Before we get into oils, I need to explain “smoke point.” Smoke point is the term given to the degree in temperature at which an oil starts to break down. You won’t be able to tell looking at it, but the chemical structure of the oil will start to change and release a smoke. This can change the flavor, but what’s worse is that it can release ROS (reactive oxygen species), which can contribute to a whole host of problems if they accumulate in your body, from aging to cancer.
Has anyone ever said anything bad about olive oil? I don’t even think I have to defend this as a healthy choice. The trick though is HOW you use olive oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil has the most flavor and is the least refined. It is also the one with the lowest smoke point. For healthiest results, don’t cook with EVOO but just use it drizzled on top of salads, vegetables, chicken, etc. AFTER it’s cooked. A refined olive oil that you can sauté with is a “light olive oil.” This is the kind of olive oil you wouldn’t want to dip a piece of Italian bread in (although you wouldn’t want to do that anyway, right?! You gluten-free person, right?!?!) because the taste wouldn’t be as good.
But I’d rather cook with…
I’m a big fan of cooking with coconut oil because it has a high smoke point, so won’t have the negative effects that olive oil has. It is full of flavor, and is a good source of lauric acid, a kind of saturated fat that some people think might have some benefits for metabolism, efficient absorption, and energy. I like how it tastes, how it is to cook with, and that it’s healthy.
I could talk about fat for days! What oils not to use, how much fat to have, full fat or no fat dairy, omega 3s vs omega 6s… stay tuned! More articles to come about fat!