What are the best and worst oils for your health?

Despite what you may have heard, “fat” is not a dirty word. Its functions include promoting cell growth, protecting your organs, and playing a role in the absorption of nutrients. Our bodies need fats to absorb certain fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as beta-carotene.

Fat also contributes to feeling full after eating or feeling full. The body processes fat, as well as protein, more slowly than carbohydrates, helping you feel full and maintain a healthy weight. Fats like oils are an excellent source. Every day, women age 30 and over should have 5 teaspoons of the oil, and men in the same age group should have 6 teaspoons per day.

Make sure you choose the right oil. Replace oils that contain saturated fats with oils rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which may help reduce heart disease risk.

Favorite oils

1. olive oil

Olive oil is a staple in the popular heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. It is ideal for stir-fry salads and pasta. Extra virgin olive oils are those whose oil has been extracted without the use of chemicals. Extra virgin oil is the highest quality. Extra virgin olive oil contains more than 30 different phenolic compounds. A group of phytochemicals, many of which act as anti-inflammatory and dilate blood vessels.

A particular phytochemical is attracting a lot of attention due to its potential protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease. Some types of extra virgin olive oil contain a natural anti-inflammatory compound called oleocanthal. If this compound is present in olive oil, you can smell it like pepper at the back of your throat.

Additionally, extra virgin olive oil contains higher amounts of healthy monounsaturated fats than other oils. Monounsaturated fats can help lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). A study published in February 2017 in the journal Circulation found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with 4 tablespoons (one tablespoon) of extra-virgin olive oil daily helped improve HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.

You can use olive oil for stir-frying and baking, but it has a relatively low burning point (the temperature at which the oil begins to crumble and smoke). So it is not good for frying. While cooking can break down some of the polyphenols, enough of the residue is to give them health benefits.

2. Rapeseed oil

Rapeseed oil contains only 7% saturated fat, and like olive oil, it is high in monounsaturated fat. It also contains high levels of polyunsaturated fats.

Rapeseed oil has a higher burning point than olive oil and a neutral flavor. So it is better to cook on high heat. Since it does not have as much flavor as some other vegetable and seed oils, it is not recommended for seasoning salads and other dishes where you want the oil to add some flavour.

3. Linseed oil

Flaxseed oil is an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, a form of omega-3 fatty acid. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines provide other forms (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid).

Omega-3, a type of polyunsaturated fat that your body cannot produce on its own, may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Flaxseed oil, in particular, can help reduce arthritis symptoms.

Another advantage. Flaxseed oil contains omega-6 fatty acids, which are also important for your health. You may have heard that omega-6 is not good for your health, but that’s not true. Just be sure to balance your intake of omega-3 and omega-6.

Do not heat this oil, as this can disrupt the fatty acid content. Instead, use it in cold dishes like salads. It’s great when poured over green vegetables, whole grains, or in a marinade.

4. Avocado oil

If you love avocados, why not try avocado oil? Avocado oil and avocado oil are high in healthy monounsaturated fats.

Avocado oil has excellent nutritional value at both low and high temperatures. Avocado oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil, so it’s better for cooking at a higher temperature. It can be used for frying, frying or grilling. The neutral flavor of avocado oil makes it a good choice for baking.

5. Nut oil

Walnut oil is a healthy choice and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid.

This oil is unrefined and has a very low smoke point, so it should not be used for cooking. It has a rich, clear nutty flavor and is ideal for seasoning salads and as a flavor enhancer to finish off a dish. Nut oil is great for desserts and other recipes that take advantage of the nutty flavor.

6. Sesame oil

Sesame oil is a staple in Asian and Indian cooking and is included in the list of heart-healthy cooking oils. It is another unsaturated fat. Sesame oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis.
It has a high smoke point, which makes it good for cooking at high temperatures such as stir-frying, but it has a strong flavor.

7. Grape seed oil

Grape seed oil is low in saturated fat and has a high burning point. Making it a healthy choice for all types of cooking and grilling. Its crunchy but mild taste is also suitable for seasoning salads or grilled vegetables.

Like flaxseed oil, grapeseed oil contains omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Grape seed oil also contains vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant to help fight free radicals. It is a key vitamin to support the immune system. 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil is an excellent source of vitamin E.

8. Sunflower oil

Sunflower oil is high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. Research shows that choosing sunflower oil instead of one that is rich in saturated fats can lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Like grapeseed oil, 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil is an excellent source of vitamin E.

Oils to limit or avoid

1. Coconut oil

This oil is controversial. In fact, coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, is made up of 90% saturated fat, but some believe that not all saturated fats are created equal. It contains a large amount of medium chain fatty acids, which are difficult to break down into stored fats in the body. Another benefit: A study published in March 2018 in BMJ Open found that the oil significantly increased HDL cholesterol levels, although not all studies came to the same conclusion.

However, coconut oil may also raise LDL cholesterol levels, according to a study published in January 2020 in Circulation, and that’s not good news. If you want to use coconut oil for cooking or baking, do so in moderation, within recommended limits for saturated fat intake, and as part of a larger healthy diet.

2. Partially hydrogenated oils

The main source of unhealthy trans fats in the diet is partially hydrogenated oil. It is found in processed foods. These artificial trans fats are created through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.

Small amounts of trans fats can build up in your arteries quickly if you’re not careful.

3. Palm oil

Palm oil is made up of roughly equal parts of saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Since it is semi-solid at room temperature, it is often used in processed foods in place of partially hydrogenated oils. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, given that it has less saturated fat than butter and no trans fats.

However, when cooking, palm oil should not be your first choice, especially if you can easily choose to use oils with a lower saturated fat content. In addition, diabetics should be very careful with their intake of saturated fats (as they are more likely to develop heart disease) and avoid sources of fat such as palm oil.

Palm oil use also raises ethical concerns, according to the WWF, as palm oil production has been linked to deforestation and unfair labor practices.

* Presse Santé strives to impart medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In no way can the information provided replace medical advice.

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