The Best Cooking Oils for a Healthy Heart

By: Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS

Contributor: Caraline Watkins

Not all oils are created equal.  In fact, the oils we use most just might be the worst for us.  Coconut, palm oil, as well as shortening, margarine or butter – these are the most commonly used oils, but also the least healthy choices because they are high in saturated fat and unbalanced in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.  So what’s the story?

What if we consider some of the good “Non-Tropical Vegetable” oil choices such as canola, corn, olive, peanut, sunflower, safflower, and soybean oils. In addition, some equally good but usually more expensive oils in this category include: avocado, rice bran, grape seed, and sesame oil.

Though more expensive in some of your specialty and regular grocery stores, often times you can find these oils at rock bottom prices in stores that offer smaller home goods sections. These oils are particularly healthy because they have less fats, less saturated fats and a better balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Is this good?

Absolutely. Less fats and saturated fats means a decrease in cholesterol and additional help with lipids.

There are two important factors to consider when selecting an oil for home use:

1) the methods of use and

2) the processing of the oil.

Not all non-tropical oils are created equal. How you cook with it is a key component when choosing the best oil for your dish.

For example, a great choice for deep frying a product would be to choose an oil which has a high smoke point such as avocado oil, which can be heated to about 520 degrees F.

This high smoke point will enable you to avoid  breaking down the oil and generating free radicals. The smoke point is key to understanding which oil is better suited for lower cooking temperatures, higher cooking temperatures and for raw applications as well.

Also, beware of your oil’s heritage as in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

Did you know that 92% of corn grown in the United States is genetically engineered?

Some oils, especially corn and canola, are produced using genetically modified food sources. Some of these foods have been linked to serious health risks and should be  avoided as much as possible.

You don’t have to guess. Have a look at the food label.  Many times there will be a note on the bottom of the package right under the ingredient list stating  the product was created using genetically modified engineering. In addition many manufacturers are now putting this information right on the front label that the product is made without GMOs (non-GMO).

According to the American Heart Association guidelines, the maximum daily intake of saturated fats is 13g based on a 2,000 calorie diet. It is important to follow this recommendation to help keep your heart strong. So, all things considered, it best to go with a non-tropical, non-GMO vegetable or fruit oil best suited for the intended application.

So, ready to eat?

Try these heart healthy meals from Healthy Meals Supreme.

Wishing you a healthy American Heart Month!

* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.

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