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The healthiest cooking oils: Good for you fats

Yvette Stines has written about health, beauty, education and entertainment for numerous publications. She holds a Masters of Education and a Masters of Science in Holistic Nutrition.

You need healthy fats

Dietary oil - used in cooking and preparing meals - has both positive and negative connotations. Though saturated fat and trans fat are rightfully maligned, there are beneficial types of fat, primarily unsaturated fats, that are actually essential to your health. Here are a few of the healthiest cooking oils to include in your diet.

Cooking Oils

Fat is everywhere

Fats and oils are inevitably a part of your dietary intake, from homemade meals to restaurant food to processed, packaged products. Oftentimes, as with dining out or when noshing on packaged foods, you don't have control over the type of fat or oil used to prepare your meal. However, you can determine the type of fats or oils you use when cooking at home.

The right fats offer health benefits

Butter and most oils high in saturated fats as well as trans fats have been associated with heart disease, cancer and other conditions. Experts recommend limiting your intake of foods containing these types of unhealthy fats.

On the other hand, cooking oils high in monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil and avocado oil, and polyunsaturated fats, such as the fats found in hemp oil and the omega-3s found in flax oil, provide a range of health benefits.

Research indicates that unsaturated fats have beneficial effects, such as improving cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, and even helping to maintain a healthy weight.

The healthiest cooking oils

Cherie Calbom MS, nutritionist and author of The Coconut Diet sat down with SheKnows.com to inform readers about a few cooking oils that are a boon to health.

Coconut oil

This wonder oil, which has been gaining popularity, is believed to help with weight loss, raise metabolism, and maintain heart health. According to Calbom, coconut oil is great for cooking because it doesn't oxidize easily when you heat it. Oxidizing destroys the health benefits an oil has to offer.

Coconut oil health benefits and recipes

Olive oil

Renowned for its role in the Mediterranean Diet, this heart healthy oil is ideal for low to medium-heat sautéing and using right out of the bottle on foods such as tomatoes and salads. Calbom warns that olive oil is not good for high-heat cooking because it oxidizes when heated, destroying the health benefits.

Mediterranean diet: Healthy recipes featuring olive oil
Mouthwatering Mediterranean meals

Flax oil

One of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, flax seed is associated with lowering cholesterol, fighting cancer and controlling blood glucose levels. Flax oil is delicate and should be used for vinaigrettes or finishing dishes. Additionally, Calbom advises that flax oil should be discarded after three months because it has a tendency to go rancid easily.

Improve your eyesight with antioxidants and omega-3s
Flax seed recipes

Fish oil

Not a cooking oil, but one of the most recognized and recommended oil because it is rich in omega-3s, fish oil should be a part of everybody's diet encourages Calbom. Fish oil has been linked to heart health, brain health (including that of developing fetuses and children), and anti-inflammation. In addition, fish oil is wonderful for the skin and hair.

Fish oil: What every woman needs to know about the hype
The many health benefits of omega-3s

More on healthy fats

Get more fat in your diet
The Anti-inflammatory Diet
The Anticancer Diet

 

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