healthy oils

The next time you’re tempted to reach for that bottle of corn oil – don’t.  Corn oil is high in omega 6 fatty acids.  Omega 6 fatty acids are important, but the typical American diet tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.   A healthier balance of fatty acids can have many overall health benefits.

There are many healthier oils out there, and I’m not just talking about canola oil.  Both corn oil and canola oil tend to come from GMO (genetically modified) plants and the both of those oils are processed with hexane (a product of crude oil) and some reports indicate that hexane can persist in the final product.

Here are three alternatives to consider:

Raw virgin coconut oil
A very healthy alternative that is largely made up of about 50 percent lauric acid, a rare medium-chain fatty acid found in mother’s milk that supports healthy metabolism. Overall, coconut oil contains 92% saturated fats, and only 1% Omega-6, the fat Americans get way too much of.   Look for cold process expeller processed coconut oil.  Coconut oil has a high smoke point (smoke point is where an oil burn and starts to breakdown) making it great for sauteing.  Coconut oil deserves its own post here and will be highlighted in the future.

Olive oil
A key component of the often touted “Mediterranean diet” – olive oil is another heart healthy alternative.
Olive oil has been used for literally thousands of years, and the basic process for obtaining oil from olives is largely unchanged.  A repeated series of pressing and then filtering yields the oil.
There are many different varieties of olive oil – some with a very mild taste, and some with a heartier full-bodied flavor.  Try the different varieties and see what taste you prefer.  Many reports indicate beneficial effects on many aspects of your health including digestion, metabolism, cardiovascular and blood cholesterol to mention a few.

Grapeseed oil
Grapeseed oil is a clean light tasting oil.   With virtually no taste, grapeseed oil can be used in a variety of recipes and leaves no discernible taste of its own.  Use of grapeseed oil also has been shown in some studies to increase levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and lower levels of LDL.  Grapeseed oil also has a high smoke point making great for sauteing.   Some brands are processed with hexane, so look for one that is expeller processed and produced without solvents.

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