Oil and Fats
It is not uncommon for some tropical island dwellers to get sixty percent of their caloric intake from coconut foods. Unhealthy cholesterol levels, heart disease, and excess weight would be expected considering the saturated fat content of coconut, but that isn't always the case. Many people report favorable HDL/LDL ratios with a diet high in coconut cholesterol. They also claim higher levels of HDL, which is known as the good cholesterol.
Coconut oil has become my essential oil for all cooking, since it can safely be heated to high temperatures (most oils when heated create substances that are suspected to be carcinogenic.) Coconut oil is a source of lauric-acid (C-12) and caprylic acid (C-8) that which are hypothesized to be responsible for the "good cholesterol".
As stated on "Jarrow Formulas" organic coconut oil: Its neutral flavor makes it ideal for use in cooking and baking. I agree! And coconut oil is stable even during long periods of storage.
Olive Oil is my absolute favorite when it comes to salads and steamed veggies. Add some organic cold pressed olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and 'that' taste is just phenomenal.
It does not make sense to use expensive olive oils for cooking. Besides, the cold pressed oil is healthiest when kept raw. So, you should use an oil that can be heated well for cooking, and then add some dashes of raw olive oil on the dish before serving. This will give you the best flavor anyway.
Even when cooking a tomato based pasta sauce, before serving I would add some excellent tasting cold pressed olive oil for flavor and health benefits (it is healthy source of fat).
"Evidence from epidemiological studies suggests that a higher proportion of monounsaturated fats in the diet is linked with a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. This is significant because olive oil is considerably rich in monounsaturated fats, most notably oleic acid.
"There is a large body of clinical data to show that consumption of olive oil can provide heart health benefits such as favourable effects on cholesterol regulation and LDL cholesterol oxidation, and that it exerts antiinflamatory, antithrombotic, antihypertensive as well as vasodilatory effects both in animals and in humans."
"It was discovered that after the subjects had consumed olive oil high in polyphenol antioxidants, they exhibited increased arterial elasticity, while after the consumption of olive oil containing fewer polyphenols, they displayed no significant change in arterial elasticity. It is theorized that, in the long term, increased elasticity of arterial walls reduces vascular stress and consequentially the risk of two common causes of death—heart attacks and stroke. This could, at least in part, explain the lower incidence of both diseases in regions where olive oil and olives are consumed on a daily basis."
"Unlike the high amount of animal fats typical to the American diet, olive oil lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. It is also known to lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure."
Canola Oil (rapeseed), 'Vegetable oil'
Canola oil promotes good health due to its very low saturated fat and high monounsaturated fat content, and its beneficial omega-3 fatty acid profile. But canola oil has many faces, these benefits are only in the 'native' (cold pressed) and organic oil, not in the refined oil.
A cold-pressed organic canola oil adds variety to your arsenal of oils (oils are an important factor in the battle for your health). It's great for use in salad dressings, but do not heat it to high temperatures, otherwise it may develop toxins (you can smell it when you burn oil). By the time you see fumes, it's game over, and start over.
Refined canola oils are perceived as being tasteless. They can be safely heated to higher temperatures. However, they have no health benefits, and one may consider not to use them because 82% of all canola crops are are GMO (genetically modified). GMO canola crops are produced by the agricultural biotechnology giant and monopolist Monsanto.
Oils with the declaration 'Vegetable Oil' are mostly canola oils and a very large amount of this oil is used in the manufacturing of edible fats (margarine).
The safest simple way to think about oils is to use two kinds. One for frying, and cold-pressed oils for dressing dishes. Coconut is my favorite for frying. And for many reasons I use organic oils and avoid GMO oils.
Storing Oils & Rancidity
There are always new and interesting studies being done regarding healthy use of oils and it's important to know more about the foods we take into our bodies. One important area has to do with how long you can keep oils and their rancidity. Note that this is a new area of inquiry so for now these may be good guidelines to use but we may add more to this article later as findings are explored more in depth.
Many oils in natural food stores and supermarkets can be rancid because of poor processing and storage. Bleached, de-flavored and deodorized oils at temperatures above 500 degrees strip the oil of flavor and rancid aromas but it's still there, which means the 'bad oil' is still there. It is believed that this bad oil can be harmful to your health and has been reported to been lethal to rats and can cause several degenerative diseases in people.
Different oils stay fresh for different periods of time.
Always keep oil tightly covered and stored in the dark away from heat.
- Unopened peanut oil, corn oil and other vegetable oils are good for up to one year. Once opened, they're good for about four to six months.
- Olive oil will keep for 6 months in the pantry, but up to one year in the refrigerator.
- Walnut and sesame oil are inclined toward turning rancid. Kept in the refrigerator they are good for two to four months.
Cooking with Oils
- When you cook at high temperature (over 240) use solid, saturated fats, like butter, coconut oil and lard.
- Frying at moderate temperatures (up to 240 degrees) you can use unsaturated, omega-6 fatty acid oils like sesame and safflower.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, like canola, flax and hemp oil, should never be used to cook with. If they were manufactured with high temperature, they're rancid and don't use them at all. If processed at low temperatures and taste fresh they use them as a supplement or in salad dressings.