A question I get asked a lot is about the benefits of different oils in the diet. The truth is that certain oils have different health benefits and should be utilised in the diet in different ways. Some oils are better consumed fresh, whereas others can be utilised during cooking. When cooking you want to pick oils that have high smoking points so they do not heat beyond this point and become rancid. Rancidity can cause all kinds of complications in health. Below are some of my recommendations on what to consider when picking your oils.
Flaxseed oil contains a high amount of the omega-3 essential fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid than any other vegetable oil, giving it its anti-inflammatory and heart health benefits. Too many omega-6 and not enough omega -3 in the diet can cause an inflammatory response. As flaxseed oil has an omega-3 to 6 ratio of 1:4, it is a preferable vegetable oil to use in the diet. Flaxseed oil however has a low heating point of 107°C and therefore should only be used fresh in the diet.
Extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil contains roughly 73% of monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to lowering the risk of cardiovascular complications. Olive oil has a heating point of 160°C and therefore should only be added to food fresh or at the end of cooking to avoid it becoming rancid.
There is now a hype about coconut oil and damn right there should be. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides, a healthy form of saturated fat. The liver converts these into energy, which is utilised as fuel in the brain and muscle instead of completely being stored as fat. Research has shown that coconut oil has many benefits including weight loss, sugar cravings, immunity and strong anti-viral properties due to the lauric acid found in it. Coconut oil has a smoking point of 177°C and therefore can be used in cooking.
Even though rice bran oil contains a high omega-6 to 3 ratio of 21:1, it contains good sources of antioxidants and vitamin E. It has a smoking point of 254°C and is great for cooking meals that require higher temperatures such as stir-fry’s or if deep-frying is required.
Avocado oil has a much better omega-6 to 3 ratio of 12:1 compared to rice bran oil oil. With its high smoking point of 271°C it is a preferred oil to use during high temperature frying. It is high in vitamins A, D, E and lecithin, making it great for skin health.
Remember oils have their benefits and are excellent sources of nutrients in the diet when used in moderation and correctly. When choosing an oil look for the following:
* Disclaimer: My posts are not to be used to treat or diagnose health concerns and provided as information only. They should not be used as individualised treatment plans and programs. Contact your health professional to investigate what advice is best for you.