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Choosing the Best Oils for Your Health

as reported in Natural News by Jonathan Benson, 18 Augsut 2012

 

Contrary to popular belief, not all fat is bad for your health.  Many fats actually promote healthy weight maintenance and a well-functioning cardiovascular and nervous system among other benefits.  To help simplify what is misinformation and what is deteriment to your health, here are some helpful tips for choosing the best edible oils.

 

COCONUT OIL:  This may be the most misunderstood and the healthiest of the oils you can consume.  Coconut oil is an amazingly versatile, nutrient-dense super food that is the richest known source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs).  MCGAs aid proper digestion and assimilate fats as well as boost energy levels.  Coconut oil is also rich in healthy saturated fats and antioxidants and has been found to promote brain health, boost immunity and strengthen thyroid function.  

 

It has a high smoke point and an incredibly stable shelf life.  Coconut oil is great for both cooking and eating raw.  Many people regularly eat unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil by the spoonful as it is a powerful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-food that is rich in disease-fighting lauric acid.  It also quickly penetrates cells and provides rapid nourishment.  (I use it when making popcorn, and everyone wants to know my secret - it really adds to the taste and, as all you popcorn lovers know, there isn't much that can improve on popcorn.) fh

 

RED PALM OIL:  This one is a bit controversial because palm plantations are said to be slowly overtaking the natural habitats of orangutans and other animals.  When cultivated responsibly, however, red palm oil is an excellent shelf-stable oil that is rich in tocotrienols (vitamin E) and carotenes (vitamin A). Similar to coconut oil, red palm oil has a high smoke point, does not require hydrogenation to remain stable and is completely free of trans-fatty acids which makes it an excellent option for cooking and baking.  

 

Red Palm oil is pretty much the only oil that has a perfect balance of both tocopherols and tocotrienols which together encompass the gamut of vitamin Es many unique forms.  Red Palm oil also contains nearly 13 times more vitamin A producing more carotenes than carrots which make it one of the richest plant sources of this important nutrient.

 

AVOCADO OIL:  A relatively underrated fat, avocado oil is gaining popularity as a powerful, free radical-fighting "super oil" that protects cellular mitochondria from destruction.  Rich in phyto-nutrients, avocado oil does not easily oxidize which makes it preferable to sunflower, safflower, canola, soybean, corn and peanut oils which are often recommended in many mainstream health circles as being healthy.

 

The antioxidants found in avocado have a unique ability to effectively enter cell mitochondria and shield cells against disease-causing oxidation.  Many fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants lack this ability (at least to some degree).  Avocado oil is also a powerful weapon against heart disease and aging.


MACADAMIA NUT OIL:  The average American consumes far more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids which is a major contributor to chronic inflammation and disease.  Macadamia nut oil is uniquely low in omega-6s compared to other nut oils which are also relatively high in omega-3s. Macadamia nut oil is said to contain an ideal 1:1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which makes it one of the healthiest nut oils you can consume.  It is rich in oleic acid (omega-9 fatty acids) that contains its own unique cancer-fighting and heart-protecting properties.  With a rich, sweet buttery flavor, as well as a high smoke point, macadamia nut oil is both a delicious salad topper and a tasty frying and saute oil.

 

OLIVE OIL:  Nearly everyone knows about the health benefits of olive oil as it is one of the most highly acclaimed, heart-healthy oils talked about today. When it is truly fresh and authentic, extra virgin olive oil really is everything the health industry claims and more - especially when consumed alongside other healthy oils like coconut and avocado.

 

It is a staple of the so-called Mediterranean diet and is rich in monounsaturated fats and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) which helps reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood.  It's various vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants effectively guard against heart disease, promote healthy digestion, ease the symptoms of ulcers and gastritis and prevent gallstone formation among other benefits.

 

SESAME OIL:  Popular in Asian cooking, sesame oil has a pungent flavor that makes it a favorite in many foods.  The great news is that is also beneficial to health, having been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.  Sesame oil is also rich in iron, calcium and magnesium, the latter of which is known for its incredible calming effect.  Sesame oil is rich in poly-unsaturated fats and helps contribute to proper fat absorption, cognitive acuity, healthy skin, a lowered risk of heart disease and strong teeth and bones.  It helps fight diabetes, reduces blood pressure, prevents gingivitis and dental plaque, protects against kidney damage and fights depression.  (Who would have thought one oil could do all of that?) fh

 

OTHER BENEFICIAL OILS:  There are several other oils worth checking out.  They include almond oil, pumpkin seed oil, flax seed oil, grapeseed oil, walnut oil, hemp oil and ghee (also known as clarified butter).  The recipe for ghee, if you would like to make your own, is located on the "Dump the Margarine" page. 

 


To learn more about cooking oils, be sure to visit the page on "Cooking with Canola Oil".