Time To Check Your Oil: A Healthier Choice When Cooking At Home

Childhood obesity and cholesterol levels have been on the rise over the last 10 years. Now is a better time than ever for parents to make a healthier choice for their children and themselves. One way to eat healthier is to cook at home and stay away from fast food restaurants. But even eating at home does not guarantee that you are eating healthy.

One way to make sure you are eating healthier at home is to cook with healthier oils. Most households use either vegetable oil or corn oil, but research has shown that both of these oils lead to higher levels of total blood cholesterol and increased LDL:HDL ratios. Both of these are indicators for obesity and heart disease.

Whether you are baking, cooking, marinating, flavoring or garnishing, you are probably using oils that could potentially be unhealthy and forcing your cholesterol levels to go up. Here are a few healthier oil choices when preparing food.

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Olive Oil

Known as the healthy cooking oil. Compared to vegetable oil, olive oil should be considered a vast improvement. Olive oil is one of few cooking oils that contain about 75% of its fat as oleic acid (omega-9 fatty acid, monounsaturated). This oil is one of the best choices for salad dressing and sauté options, but not the best option for frying or baking due to its inability to handle higher temperatures. Remember, olive oil has a tendency to degrade in a very short time especially if it is stored in a warm place like the kitchen. If it smells like old peanuts or putty, then discard.

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Coconut Oil

This oil is comparable to olive oil as being “healthy oil”. It was once considered to be fatty and unhealthy, but research has shown that it’s quite the opposite. Coconut oil has a high fat content, but they are medium-chain fatty acids which are easier to digest and preferably used by the liver for energy. Other benefits of this oil are high amounts of antioxidants compared to many other cooking oils and it has an impressive shelf life, especially when compared to olive oil.

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Avocado & Grapeseed Oils

Avocado oil is more than 50% monounsaturated and a heart-healthy choice, particularly good in salad dressings and when sautéing. It also has been suggested as a great option for frying because it is able to tolerate higher temperatures. Grapeseed oil is another healthy alternative for salads, served with raw veggies, and in dips, sauces and salsas.

Christopher Kelley