—> Healthy Cooking Oils <—
What on earth does “cold pressed” “extra virgin”/ “expeller pressed”/ “raw” / “regular” mean when it comes to healthy cooking oils?
If you are at all like myself… I get a bit confused when it comes to purchasing oils and understanding all the terms associated with them – so I decided to look into it.
Here’s what you need to know:
Refined < Unrefined.
To get oil out of it’s source it must be processed either using chemicals and heat (refined) or mechanically (unrefined). Unrefined oils are more minimally processed and better for you.
= Unrefined. Oil is squeezed out of the source using a mechanical press (no added heat or chemicals… although through the process some heat occurs naturally). Oils from soft fruits and nuts are often prepared this way: avocado, walnuts, olives.
= Unrefined. Same as expeller pressed, but in a controlled temperature setting. Again heat occurs naturally when expressing oil, but in a cold pressed setting, it won’t rise above a certain temperature.
Raw/ Pure/ Virgin/ Extra Virgin:
These terms offer indication as to how many times the fruit, nut or plant was pressed to extract the oil out. Extra virgin means that the oil was extracted from the first press only (closer to it’s original source than virgin). These terms don’t necessarily indicate whether your oil is refined or unrefined (some extra virgin olive oils were processed using chemicals and heat). The terms “raw” and “pure” indicate that the oil is as close to it’s original form as possible.
This means that your oil was expressed from a source not exposed to chemicals or pesticides in the farming process.
Use unrefined/ organic expeller pressed or cold pressed oils that are extra virgin or raw <—- mouthful yes? Good luck at the grocery store 😉
Healthy Cooking Oils | My Favorites:
Yes. Butter: the real stuff from grass fed cows. Contains a high amount of saturated fat – so use in moderation.
Use for baking, sautéing, & flavoring.
Unrefined Coconut Oil
Has gotten a bad reputation for it’s high content of saturated fat; however, most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is made of medium-chain fatty acids. Medium-chain fatty acids are metabolized by the body for energy, and are less likely to be stored as fat. In other words – the majority of fats found in coconut milk are the “good-for-you” fats. Coconut oil is considered a “superfood”, but any product high in saturated fat (even good saturated fat) should be used in moderation.
Use for baking; it’s a great alternative to butter + and is a fantastic skin moisturizer (bonus!).
Has a high level of monounsaturated fat, and it has a high smoke point (430 degrees F).
Use for high heat cooking & Sautéing.
Also high in monounsaturated fat. It’s smooth and has a wonderful flavor.
Use for sautéing; also wonderful in marinades, sauces, and dips.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
High in monounsaturated fat, making it heart healthy.
Wonderful for sautéing, salad dressings, sauces, dips, and marinades.
Is a combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and low in saturated fat.
Use for baking and sautéing. Also a good healthy substitute in dessert recipes.
Unrefined Safflower Oil
Low in saturated fat.
Use for high heat cooking like sautéing and frying (has a high smoke point).
Virgin Unrefined Red Palm Oil
High in tocotrienols (vitamin E), which has brain health benefits.
Contains some monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and it’s antioxidant properties won’t be destroyed by heat. Contains a high level of omega-6, thus use this oil in moderation. A healthy diet contains a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The average american diet is disproportionate, utilizing far too many omega-6 fatty acids – which as been linked to heart disease and other diseases.
Contains a lot of monounsaturated fat but also a lot of omega-6 fatty acids; so also use this oil in moderation.
Good source of Omega-3’s and polyunsaturated fats.
Use for baking or sautéing on medium/ low heat.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Has a strong nutty flavor, so it’s best used for salad dressings or as a garnish (uncooked).
Low in saturated fat and contains polyunsaturated fats.
Great for salad dressings or as a garnish.
Good source of Omega-3’s and polyunsaturated fats (promote brain function and heart health).
Use for mixing into meals after heating them or add to smoothies or salads (due to a low smoke point).
Cold Pressed Organic Canola Oil
Canola Oil is usually highly processed and genetically modified unless it is cold pressed and non-GMO. Processed Canola oil is processed in a way to withstand high temperatures for cooking. Un-processed, organic, cold-pressed canola oil won’t work for high temperature frying and sautéing. Use in moderation. It does however have a low saturated fat content and a high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Use in medium to high heat for baking and sautéing.
Use 3 tablespoons of good-fat (healthy cooking oils) per day… don’t over do it!