The word “oils” typically conjures up a bad image for most people. From the kind of oil that is known for causing breakouts on a person’s complexion (sebum), to the oils people consume that could result in high cholesterol, it seems that oils in general are given a bad rap. But before unfairly judging oils, it is a good idea to see which ones we should stay away from as well as which ones we should include more of in our lives.
There is such a thing as “good” and “bad” oils, especially when it comes to cooking healthy, nutritious meals. In general, “bad” oils are described as those containing trans fats and is listed on the label as having more than two grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. What makes this characteristic bad for oil is the fact that such properties are known for increasing a person’s cholesterol and, in some cases, their blood pressure, which is very unhealthy. Corn oil in particular is a culprit that is guilty of such crimes. It is best to avoid using corn oil in your cooking altogether.
The good news, however, is that there are more “good” oils than bad. Some of the most notable ones to add to your kitchen pantry include, but are not limited to: olive oil, walnut oil, almond oil, flax seed oil and canola oil. Peanut oil also makes the list of good oils but due to the fact that there are many people with peanut allergies, it is best to avoid using this oil for cooking. Or at least make sure to ask if anyone you’re preparing food for has such an allergy. Remember, even foods that have been exposed to, or come into contact with, peanut oil are strong enough to trigger a negative (even deadly) allergic reaction.
So what makes these healthy oils so good to use when it comes to cooking? For one thing, these oils are rich in natural antioxidants, which we all know contains numerous health benefits, including the ability to prevent or decrease a person’s chances of developing certain types of cancers. Other good oils are also known for having the natural ability to improve heart function overall, as well as lower bad cholesterol while raising levels of good cholesterol. Medical studies done over the years have also shown that individuals who included a moderate level of good oils in their daily diets were able to lower their risk of stroke by over 40%.
Of course it is important to know that too much of anything can still be bad for you, even if they are good oils. Always use these oils in moderation and avoid consuming too much, too often. When shopping for these oils, don’t take the labeling too seriously, either. For example, light olive oil does not mean it contains fewer calories. In fact, light olive oil has the same amount of calories as regular olive oil. The only difference is that the oil is lighter in flavor and color.
When cooking with these oils, make sure it doesn’t get too hot to the point where it starts smoking. When this happens, it causes the oils to break down, which can be toxic when consumed because it automatically targets the joints and arteries, causing them to become clogged. So use the appropriate temperatures when sautéing, grilling or microwaving and you shouldn’t have any problems.