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cooking oils


THE 6 HEALTHIEST COOKING OILS TO USE IN THE KITCHEN 450 450 Delphine Remy | Holistic Nutrition & Eating Psychology Coach

Which are the healthiest cooking oils to use in the kitchen? This is a very common question. There has been a huge movement against the consumption of fatty foods, primarily animal fats, over the past 30 years. Due to this, most people in the United States and western Europe have grown accustomed to cooking oils such as canola oil, vegetable oil or olive oil. Let’s unpack this myth about the harmful effect of animal fats; and let’s look at the science regarding which oils are the healthiest for cooking.

We’ve been taught to fear saturated fats like butter for so long that it can be hard to look seriously at all the evidence that says that saturated fats are not something to fear. However, the amount of evidence that links saturated fats and cholesterol to heart disease is practically non-existent. Unfortunately, the medical industry and the nutrition industry have been slow to accept this compelling information and continue to prescribe unhealthy and ineffective low-fat diets and cholesterol lowering drugs to those with heart disease.

The evidence for this is so overwhelming, that many are beginning to take notice. World renowned heart surgeon Dr. Dwight Lundell has spoken out against the vilification of saturated fats:

“Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labelled polyunsaturated. Forget the “science” that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.” – Dr. Dwight Lundell, MD Cardiologist (source)

Simply put — the evidence that links heart disease to fats are slim to none, while the evidence linking inflammation to processed foods is much more compelling, and quite frankly, frightening.

Dr. Lundell, other notable physicians, and myself advocate a more traditional diet that includes whole foods and healthy fats. One of the most incredible functions of the human body is it’s ability to reverse years of damage caused by processed foods found in the inner isles of the grocery store. By cutting out processed foods and adding fresh unprocessed foods to your diet, you can literally reverse years of damage sustained by your arteries.

The following is a list of the 6 healthiest cooking oils, and the smoke point of each oil (the highest temperature that an oil can be heated before becoming dangerous and carcinogenic!). Knowing the smoke point of each oil will help you determine whether to use it in low or high temperature cooking.

Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Ghee has been traditionally used in India for thousands of years in Ayurvedic cooking. Ghee has wonderful health benefits and is the ideal cooking oil for people with dairy sensitivity since the milk solids have been removed. Ghee has a fairly high smoke point (up to 485°) making it a great choice for stir fries, or skillet cooking.

SMOKE POINT: 425-485° (depending on purity)

Coconut oil
Not only does coconut oil have a wonderful flavor that goes great with any sweet baked good (try my recipe for Guilt Free Chocolate Spread) or even some savory dishes (try my Indian Chicken Curry). It also has wonderful health benefits. If you’re not the biggest fan of a coco-nutty flavor, try using refined coconut oil. It doesn’t quite have the full list of unrefined or virgin coconut benefits but it’s still a healthy option. Refined coconut oil is also a great choice for sauteing, stir fry or baking since it has a higher smoke point than virgin coconut oil.

SMOKE POINT: 280°-365° (Virgin, raw or unrefined), 400°-450° (refined)

Olive oil
Olive oil is a heart healthy fat that that contains beneficial antioxidants and has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. It is best used for COLD FOOD (like salad dressing or try my Cauliflower Couscous), but can be used in some LOW-HEAT cooking.

SMOKE POINT: 320°-350°

Avocado oil
Most people forget about Avocado extract and never think to use it as a cooking oil. Avocado oil is one of my favorites because it has such a HIGH SMOKE POINT (475°-520°) and can be used for roasting or sauteeing. Use avocado oil as a substitute for the traditional olive oil on your salads and bonus — avocado oil can be used as a facial and body moisturized. Dermatologists have been known to recommend avocado oil as a treatment for acne, eczema and other skin inflammations.

SMOKE POINT: 475°-520°

Palm oil (sustainably sourced)
Palm oil can be used for cooking but we recommend using it sparingly. Palm oil is high in saturated fats and low in polyunsaturated fats which could promote heart disease if overused.
Palm oil is a great option for HIGH HEAT cooking. It’s technically healthier than a hydrogenated vegetable oil yet less healthy than an olive oil. There is also a bit of controversy concerning the issues of deforestation and human rights violations derived from the development of oil palm plantations.

SMOKE POINT: 430°-455°

…and last but definitely not least, we have butter. Contrary to popular belief, butter is not bad for you. In fact, high-quality grass fed butter can be good for you. This links into a recently published article about cholesterol and why our body (and brain) needs cholesterol to function.

Long story short — stick to raw grass fed butters and you’ll be a-okay!

SMOKE POINT: 325°-375°


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