6 Healthy Fats To Keep In Your Kitchen
Have you heard the news? Fats are good! Our bodies need them to thrive! I’m saying this with a slight tongue in cheek, because after decades of medical advice saying that we need to consume low-fat diets in order to prevent heart disease, and decades of heart disease rates continuously rising despite this advice, it’s finally, slowly being accepted that maybe it isn’t fat that is the problem.
So, while fat is finally being accepted as an important macro-nutrient that plays an important role in a healthy diet, there are still many fats and oils that are harmful to our health.
The main fats and oils that you want to avoid are canola oil and other “vegetable oils” like corn oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, and soybean oil, along with trans fats.
These fats and oils are damaged, inflammatory, and harmful to the body in a variety of ways. It’s best to keep them out of your kitchen and to avoid them as much as possible.
There are plenty of nutritious, versatile oils that you can substitute them for! Below are 6 of my favourites.
1. Coconut Oil: No list of oils would be complete without mentioning the ever-so popular, multi-purpose coconut oil. Coconut oil is great for baking and lower-temperature cooking. For those with dairy sensitivities or allergies, coconut oil can be used to replace butter in most recipes. It is also great for both internal and external use. It can help heal minor cuts and scrapes while reducing the chance for infection, and it works as a great body moisturizer! When buying coconut oil, look for one that is organic and unrefined, and in glass jars if possible.
2. Avocado Oil: A personal favourite of mine, and one of the most versatile oils, avocado oil is great for both cooking and raw uses. Refined avocado oil has a high smoke point, making it great for higher heat cooking. It also works great as a moisturizer for sensitive skin! It’s super effective for removing eye makeup.
3. Olive Oil: This flavourful oil is best used raw for salad dressings, dips and drizzling. While some people use olive oil for cooking, it has a relatively low smoke point and to air on the side of caution and avoid any potential damage, it is best used raw.
Always buy extra virgin olive oil, or at least virgin. “Light” olive oil is usually refined and sometimes cut with other rancid vegetable oils. It has usually undergone chemical processing. Avoid this oil. Good quality olive oil is one of the things in life that is worth paying the extra money for.
Avoid olive oils that come in plastic or clear bottles. Olive oil should come in dark glass bottles. This protects the oil from light damage, and from dissolving any of the fat-soluble toxins from the plastic. After opening, olive oil should be used within a couple of months.
4. Sesame oil: Unrefined sesame oil is high in antioxidants that prevent rancidity and increase the stability of this oil. For this reason, it is one of the best seed oils you can buy!
Unrefined toasted or raw sesame oil are both good choices. They are best used for drizzling at the end of cooking or for use in salad dressings. Toasted sesame oil has a darker colour and a strong nutty flavour that complements Asian-inspired dishes well. Raw sesame oil should be stored in the fridge in a dark coloured glass bottle and can be used in salad dressings.
5. Hemp and flax oil: I’ve included these omega-3 rich oils together because they share some of the same health benefits and they both need to be used and stored very carefully.
When buying these oils look for cold pressed and organic in dark bottles. These are extremely delicate oils, so it’s important that you buy them in relatively small quantities that you know you can use within 6-8 weeks, and that you store them in the fridge. They should not be exposed to any heat, other than drizzling on a dish after cooking. Even when blending them into smoothies you should do so at the end to avoid the heat from your blender damaging them!
Add these oils to smoothies, drizzle into yogurt, or add to salad dressings and dips. Hemp oil also works well as an acne and psoriasis friendly skin-care oil for many people.
6. Ghee: This traditional saturated fat is made from butter that has been clarified to remove the lactose and casein (the sugar and protein that is naturally in butter). It is therefore essentially pure fat, unlike butter. While not recommended for someone with a severe dairy allergy, ghee is often well tolerated by those with dairy sensitivities, because the allergenic proteins and indigestible sugars have been removed.
Ghee can be used as you would use butter, and is great for high-heat cooking. When buying ghee, look for one from grass-fed cows. This means the best quality with the highest nutritional profile, including vitamin A, D, K2 and E!
Switching out low quality oils in your kitchen with high-quality, nutritious alternatives is one of the best things you can do for your health! Choose 1 or 2 from this list to get started on your path to a healthier kitchen and a healthier you.
By: Ali MacBoudreau
Ali is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant. Her mission is to help you discover just how vibrant and amazing you can feel, by giving you the tools you need to make lasting changes. (Hint, it involves delicious food!) To learn more about Ali and holistic nutrition please visit her website https://www.holisticali.com/about