Healthy Cooking Oils

There are many oils on the market and sometimes knowing which ones are healthy becomes confusing. First, there is canola oil, which is high in mono and polyunsaturated fat (the good fats). Canola oil doesn’t have a strong flavor, so it is easy to use in a variety of recipes. Then, there are avocado and peanut oils. Both have a high smoke point, which means they can be heated to high temperatures without a heavy smoking point. Both have nutty flavors, although avocado oil has a buttery flavor, too. Both oils are mostly monounsaturated which places them on the heart healthy list. Then, flax seed oil is also a heart healthy choice. Flax seed’s smoke point is low, so it may not be the best choice for high temperatures, but excellent for drizzling or using on salads.

Next is coconut oil. What’s the truth about Coconut oil? Is it really as healthy as all of the latest health claims? Coconut oil is a saturated fat (contribute to high cholesterol) and should be limited to 7-10% of total calories consumed in one day. Because it is from a coconut, shouldn’t it be healthier, after all a coconut is from a plant? Preliminary studies show that coconut oil may have a neutral or beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. Medical experts are still unsure of any health benefits and state there needs to be much more research evidence before promoting increased intakes of coconut oil. Lastly, we have another very healthy choice of oil: olive oil. Olive oil is fat obtained from fruits of the olive tree and is monounsaturated fats. Long-term research studies show olive oil fats decrease incidences of heart disease and promote an increase in HDL (high density lipoproteins). HDL is good cholesterol which helps rid the body of unhealthy cholesterols which contribute to heart disease.

Market Basket has a very large selection of oils. Keep one simple fact in mind when shopping oils… if the oil is not hardened at room temperature, it is most likely a healthy type oil or fat to incorporate into your diet.