When it is time to cook, you may grab for canola oil or olive oil. You may only buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil, EVOO, because you remember watching Rachel Ray cook with it on her show. But did you know that not all oils are created equally? In fact, some oils can be downright bad for your health.
Vegetable oil can do more harm than good, which may be the reason that it is usually the cheapest at the grocery store. Typically, no matter the brand, vegetable oil contains 62 percent polyunsaturated fat, which means that when you cook it, it oxidizes very quickly– which is a bad thing. Although it has the word vegetable in it, it often comes full of GMOs, and can dramatically raise your risk of cardiovascular disease, among other diseases.
Canola oil, made from rapeseed oil, used to be only used for industrial purposes and wasn’t exactly edible. Using selective breeding, Canadian scientists created seeds to make cheap oil. Canola is actually not a unique plant. It’s just a name for rapeseeds that have been bred to be low in these undesirable compounds. While it is not quite as bad as its mate, vegetable oil, it is still not good when used for cooking.
For the purposes of cooking, it is important to make sure that your oils aren’t genetically modified and full of GMOs. Just like you read the labels of the foods you buy, you should also read the labels of the oil you are considering. It will tell how the oil is extracted, how fatty the oil is, and other ingredients you are likely to find in it. When possible, buying cold pressed or expeller pressed oil is best.
While each oil may seem like a mystery, I have broken down a few of my favorites to help you stay away from canola and vegetable oil.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is able to withstand higher temperatures than other oils while still keeping its health benefits. Coconut oil is abundant in lauric acid, a type of saturated fatty acid that increases HDL, the healthy type of cholesterol that you want to be high. Coconut oil also contains medium-chain triglycerides, which are used directly for energy by your body. You can use this oil to cook and it tastes great.
2. Flaxseed Oil
Although this oil can go bad in storage more quickly than other oils, it also packs quite a punch with Omega-3 Fatty Acids. It is also proven to lower blood pressure and help those with cardiovascular disease.
3. Olive Oil
This might be one of the more recognizable oils. It has great benefits like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It also is great when used cold. But, it is important to make sure that you are purchasing high quality olive oil, as some of the cheaper brands have been known to cut it with vegetable oil.
4. Avocado Oil
This oil is also able to withstand really high temperatures and is loaded with Vitamin E. Plus, it is great for your immune system. You can purchase this oil at most stores as well and it is only slightly higher in price.
Remember, even if you just plan to use it to fry something, it is still important to check the ingredients and to know what is going into your family’s food. Not only will it make the food taste better, but it will be better for you.