Choosing the Best Cooking Oils

By: Bel Marra Health | Cholesterol | Monday, December 12, 2011 - 11:52 PM

The type of oil you cook with can go a long way towards protecting your circulatory system and preventing heart damage. Some contain saturated fat and some contain unsaturated fat. You want the ones highest in the latter, which is very healthy. Here are the oils you can trust beyond others to be exceptionally good for you.

1. Olive oil: One of the best ones for you, it’s rich in monounsaturated fats. One ounce of extra virgin olive oil nets you more than 85% of your daily needs of these fats. The oil has high amounts of vitamin E, which provides antioxidant protection. In countries along the Mediterranean Sea (where olive oil is common in diets), the incidences of heart disease, clogged arteries and type 2 diabetes are much lower than over here. Adding just two tablespoons a day of olive oil could significantly lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. One ingredient in particular, oleic acid, has been identified as the key one that lowers cholesterol. It is a type of unsaturated fat.

2. Canola oil: Another great source of monounsaturated fat. It is very high in omega-3 fatty acid, a heart-boosting nutrient. Margarines made from canola oil are good to use as well. This oil is extremely low in cholesterol and salt, and extremely high in beneficial fats. Its name is derived from “Canada” where the oil may first have been used in cooking. Researchers have suggested that it might be the best oil to use to meet your healthy fat needs for the day.could reduce blood pressure and strengthen the walls of the aorta.

3. Peanut oil: Able to withstand high temperatures, this one calls about half of its fat “monounsaturated.” Another 30% is “polyunsaturated.” That leaves little of the bad stuff. It may help reduce cholesterol levels in your blood as well.

4. Sunflower or Sunola oil: Sunflower oil is high in oleic acid like olive oil. Many studies have shown that oleic acid is an incredibly healthy component of cooking oils. Researchers have found that cooking oils high in oleic acid actually promotes increased insulin sensitivity in the general population. This means that sunflower oil could help thwart diabetes. Sunola oil is very high in monounsaturated fats and is more stable than sunflower oil in heat.

5. Cold-pressed oil: These are oils that undergo very little processing, with cold water used to keep temperatures down. If done correctly, they are rich in the group of antioxidants called polyphenols, and rich in vitamin E. The best known is extra virgin olive oil, made from the cold pressing of olives, which come with a whopping 30 to 40 antioxidants. Cold-pressed oil will be darker than others, and stronger in flavor.

With all of these options, you can stay far away from oils and fats that have unhealthy concentrations of saturated fat in them. These include any of the following: palm oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, lard, ghee, cooking margarine, shortening, and solid frying oils.

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