When it comes to either stir frying your veggies or dressing your salad it can be a tough decision choosing which oil to opt for, not only for flavour but also for it health benefits. Here I’ll take you through my top 5 healthiest oils for cooking.
1. Unrefined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Yes I know it’s a saturated fat and most vegetable fats are not the healthiest to cook with as they can oxygenate or turn rancid when heated to high tempretures. However the great news about coconut oil is that it can withstand extremely high temperatures up to about 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Another great aspect of cooking with coconut oil is that it comes with lots of health benefits and can actually:
- Improve digestion; this is one of the biggest reasons I have coconut oil with most of my meals. It triggers the gastrocolic reflex which helps with constipation. It also prevents inflammation and helps prevent SIBO by regulating the bacteria in the gut.
- Promotes weight loss
- Prevention of heart disease (many people believe that because it is a saturated fat it raises cholesterol levels, but in fact coconut oil contains lauric acid)
- Building a strong immune system
It is made up of medium-chain tryglycarides (known to the fitness world as MCTs) which are easily broken down in the gut, and are often used in the treatment of digestive problems such as:
- Celiac disease
- Liver disease
- Seizures in children
How do I use it?
I love the taste and smell of coconut oil and use it in:
- My morning porridge
- Soups & stews
- Roasting veggies
- Stir fry’s
- In my afternoon coffee
Choosing your coconut oil is vital. Choosing a high quality unrefined coconut oil is what you need to look for when shopping. Refined means that it has been over processed by removing the smell and taste, this is where most of the benefits are lost.
2. Extra Virgin Olive oil
Again I love the taste of olive oil and actually like to consider myself a connoisseur. I often go for quite a robust flavour and an almost emerald green/gold in colour. When I lived in Spain (before the low FODMAP diet) I would snack on a bowel of fresh picked tomatoes, crushed garlic and olive oil…(que Homer Simpson drooling).
Olive oil is an unsaturated fat which is healthy for:
- The heart; it raises HDL (high density lipoproteins) and lowers LDL (low density lipoproteins) in turn lowering cholesterol.
- Olive oil is great for constipation, it trigger the gastrocolic reflex, in turn speeding up digestion and preventing constipation.
How do I use it?
- When ever I have a smoothie I always add a tablespoon of Extra virgin olive oil to keep up with my daily fat intake.
- You can also replace it with butter .
- I don’t cook with it as when it is heated to high temperatures the amino acids can become unstable and turn it rancid.
Keep your bottle in a dark, cool place to avoid oxidation.
3. Peanut oil
Peanuts are not only a great source of Fibre but the oil from peanuts also deliver amazing health benefits such as:
- Low in saturated fats, which means it’s good for losing weight and preventing high cholesterol.
- Its has also been used for constipation as it acts as a mild stimulant if it is consumed alone
- Having a massage while using peanut oil is effective at relieving aching joints and can also treat skin problems including psoriasis and acne. For acne try mixing a little peanut oil and lime juice and applying it to the face for 5 minuets gently rubbing in circular motions (this method also prevents blackheads)
- Diabetics can also improve their insulin levels by consuming peanut oil
Peanut oil also has a super high smoke point of 450 and TH nutritional properties are virtually unchanged, so it’s great for cooking, just watch out for the calories. Even though peanut oil is a great ingredient to use in your cooking the calorie count can be quite high.
How Do I Use It?
- If I have a skin irritation I rub a little on the affected area and in a couple of days the skin irritation is gone
- I use this oil when I cook grilled vegetables it adds a sweet crispy texture, yum!
- After a workout, I will usually have a tablespoon of organic peanut butter, with NO sugar, sweeteners etc, just peanuts and a little salt (Raw)
So there you have my 3 super oils that contribute to maintaining optimal health. Remember fats are not bad for you if you choose those beneficial to your health. Your body needs fats to support high organ performance/function and fight disease.