Healthy Cooking Oil Alternatives
If you want to live a healthy life, then you should pay attention to the oil you use for cooking. Have you ever thought about the effect the oils you use on your food have on your general health? Using saturated animal fat and other types of highly refined oils is a major cause of obesity and increased cholesterol. Some of the healthiest oils you can use for cooking are:
Extra Virgin Coconut oil (EVCO)
This oil is rich in fatty acids (lauric acid) which helps in lowering cholesterol levels. Research also indicates that coconut oil increases metabolism, and can help you lose weight if used in the right proportions.
Another reason why you should consider using EVCO is the fact that it has a long shelf life. It can take several months or even up to two years without going rancid.
Since it can sustain high heat cooking, you can use it effectively in diverse recipes. It adds flavor to foods, especially baked products.
Also known as clarified butter, ghee comes with a lot of health benefits. It is rich in vitamin A, D and K and it also has traces of calcium and other minerals. Ghee is made by removing milk solids, so if you have lactose intolerance, you can still use it. You will have to consult with your doctor though to confirm if it is safe for you to take it.
It is one of the oils with the highest heating points, and some people find the aroma in ghee very pleasing, especially on vegetable dishes.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants that protect your body against diseases caused by free radicals. It promotes a healthy heart by introducing good cholesterol in your system and lowering bad cholesterol. Some people suffering from arthritis find that when they use olive oil, their joint pains reduce significantly. This can be attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of this oil.
You should use it mainly for your cold dishes such as salad dressing. This is because olive oil tend to oxidize when exposed to elements such as too much heat and light. However, you can still maintain all the necessary nutrients if you use it on dishes that require low heat.
This oil is made up of saturated and monounsaturated oils. It is rich in vitamins, Co-enzyme Q10 and other nutrients needed in the body. It has a high heating point, so you can use it for most of your cooking that require high heat.
The best type to of palm oil to use is the unrefined red palm oil because it gives maximum nutrients.
However, there have been controversies surrounding the use of palm oil because growing of palm trees have led to degradation of rain forests and endangered tree species. There are still responsible farmers who grow and harvest their trees responsibly, so you can search and buy from them.
It is rich in monounsaturated fats and also provides vitamin E and other nutrients. It also has antioxidants that give a wide range of health benefits. It can withstand high heat, so it is suitable for different cooking methods that need heat. It can also be used effectively in cold dishes.
It is derived from the tiny sesame nuts and it contains high amounts of polyunsaturated fats. The nutrients found in sesame oil includes:Calcium, copper, magnesium, vitamin B6 and iron. It works well in marinating foods, and in stir fried vegetables. There are two varieties, the light sesame oil which is mostly untoasted, and the dark toasted one that comes in a strong nutty aroma.
This oil can be mildly heated because it has a lower smoking point.
This is one of the most healthy oils you can use for your cooking. It contains the lowest saturated fats compared to other oils and it is very rich in monounsaturated fats. It is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, and has been linked with reducing heart diseases. It also provides Vitamin A and E in the body.
Due to the fact that it has a neutral flavor and relatively high heating point, it is suitable for most dishes that require oil.
Another reason why you should consider using these oils is the health benefits they have on your hair and skin. Not only are they a good source of nutrients in your food, but you can also apply them topically on your skin and hair for beauty purposes.