Fat has a pretty bad rap in the kitchen, but healthy fats (in moderation, of course) get a free pass because they are really beneficial to our health.
With the 2015 ban on trans-fats activated across the US, the demand for healthy oils has really increased. Have you noticed the HUGE diversity of oils at the grocery store? It's amazing, but it can be downright overwhelming in the store - and in the kitchen.
Every dish seems to call for a different oil. Each oil has a different smoke point, and, not all oils are made the same. Some oils are stable at room temperature, others at low heat (olive oil), some (ghee and coconut) are stable at high heats. MCT oil is not stable at high heat - it changes into something else entirely, and is really BAD for you to ingest. What’s more, over-processed oils like canola, which has to be bleached and deodorized can actually rob the body of vital antioxidants. Crazy, right?
To assist us, I've broken down my favorite oils, and how to use them.
- Unrefined oils are most beneficial.
- Less processing = richer, more robust flavors.
- Using healthy oils in combo with a healthy diet is essential to reaping nutritional benefits.
- Store oils in a cool dark place to prevent oxidization of fatty acids which make oils taste rancid.
- Even though oils can be a healthy fat, you should use them sparingly.
UNrefined Vs. Refined:
Unrefined processing uses minimal heat and does not include bleaching or deodorizing. Refined oils have been processed through heat, color stripping, and a deodorizing process (ew).
Versatile + delicious, it’s an important staple in any kitchen.
- Olive oil is best as a dressing, and extra virgin, cold-pressed is best.
- Extra Virgin is the purest form of olive oil, meaning it has been cold pressed and has not gone through bleaching and deodorizing. However, it has a low smoke point. EVOO is great for consuming raw, but not for cooking.
- Virgin olive oil is made with riper olives. It has a lighter flavor and a bit of a higher smoke point, so you can cook with it at low temperatures.
- Reduces inflammation, helps lower cholesterol, and reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E.
MCT oil, is similar to coconut oil but easier to digest and doesn't raise your blood sugar. MCT provides quick and lasting energy and are easily absorbed by the body. Instead of being metabolized through digestion like most other foods, Medium Chain Triglycerides are processed in the liver.
- Flavorless, liquid at room temp with a low smoke point.
- Great for salad dressing, bullet-proofing your coffee or smoothies.
- When choosing MCT oil, quality is important.
- Start using this oil slowly, as it's readily and easily absorbed by the body
Bold and delish but has a low smoke point which makes it difficult to cook with.
- Perfect as a light dressing over a salad, in dipping sauces and soups.
- Helps to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
- Good source of Vitamin E and rich in Omerga-6 fatty acids.
I Use: Spectrum Sesame Oil and La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil
Coconut oil is one of the most delish and healthiest oils to cook with. Moderation is key though, as it has high levels of saturated fats.
- Regarded as a stable oil, great for cooking and baking at high temperatures.
- Contains Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Iron.
- Immune system booster.
Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Ghee is spreadable at room temp and no refrigeration is required. It has a high smoke point and can be used as a substitute for any oil or butter.
- Great for sauteing, eggs, lobster, popcorn or oven-cooked chicken
- I use it often in any recipe that calls for cooking oil.
I Use: 4th & Heart
I love grapeseed oil. It's Iight and perfect to use when you want a flavor pop.
- Great for cooking because of its high smoke point and neutral flavor.
- Known to fight cancer and lower cholesterol. Anti-inflammatory.
- High in protein and fiber
I Use: La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil
Sunflower Seed Oil
Mildly sweet and healthy.
- Great for cooking at high heat.
- High in essential Vitamin E + B, which supports a healthy nervous system, good digestion, and boosts energy. Helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Natural antioxidant
- Low in saturated fat.
Mild and delish on everything from sautéed fish to salad. Avocado oil has a uniquely beneficial ability to penetrate cells down to the mitochondria and actually improve the function of our cells.
- Good for cooking at high heat (think searing meat).
- Rich in heart-healthy fats like Vitamin E, + plant- based Omega-3's.
- Contains powerful antioxidants for repairing blood vessels and removing free radicals.
- Avocado is a good solution for those who are allergic to coconut or nut-based oils.
I Use: La Tourangelle Avocado Oil