3 Best Oils to Cook With for a Healthy Heart

Hot Health
By Hot Health August 17, 2016 23:44
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3 Best Oils to Cook With for a Healthy Heart

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The cooking oil landscape is a flood with a variety of oils, each one touting its health benefits and claiming to be the best choice. As you move down the aisles in supermarkets you are spoiled for choice with refined and unrefined oils, fortified, salad and frying oils jostling each other for space. You are faced with the daunting task of having to choose fats that help you maintain cardiovascular health and you’re worried about choosing the wrong oil.

Let’s understand why the type of fat that we consume is important and why Olive, Avocado and Coconut oils are regarded as ‘heart-friendly oils.’

Fats are generally categorized as polyunsaturated, mono-unsaturated or saturated, but all oils contain these in different proportions. For heart-health, mono and polyunsaturated fats are advocated because they contain important fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid (LA).

 

Avocado oil

avocado-933060_640 (1)

The avocado tree is generally found in Central and South America and favors only subtropical or tropical climates. Avocado oil is extracted from the fruit of the Persea Americana (avocado) and is a great source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids. It has about 16 percent saturated fatty acids and 14 percent polyunsaturated fats and is generally regarded as a very good cooking oil because of its high smoke point of 400°F (204°C). The oil thus doesn’t become rancid easily and its chemical structure remains unaltered. It holds its own against the much touted olive oil in terms of nutritional value and has an  omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is about 13:1. The cold-pressed or virgin Avocado oils are said to contain the greatest percentage of healthy fats. Avocado oil contains vitamin E and is ideal for baking, salads, stir-fry and sauteing. 

 

Olive oil

olives-1266665_640

Olive Oil is obtained from the fruit of the Olea europaea (olive tree) and although the tree is native to Asia Minor, it soon spread to the Mediterranean region and California. Whole olives are pressed to produce olive oil and studies show that it is associated with a low death rate from cardiovascular diseases. This is because olive oil helps prevent the hardening of arteries and retards the development of atherosclerosis. It is stated to be high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids and in polyphenols, both of which are good for heart health. It has a high smoke point and is hence a good cooking oil, can be used in salads, juices and even smoothies. Olive oil also helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk to heart disease.

 

Coconut Oil

Pixabay/Couleur

Pixabay/Couleur

The coconut tree –Cocos nucifera- belongs to the palm family and generally grows in hot areas of Africa, Asia, Pacific region and Latin America. The coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm and refined coconut oil is generally made from the dried kernel of the coconut. Coconut oil was not favored by health experts because of its high saturated fat content as it raised the LDL cholesterol (bad) levels. This opinion has since changed—the presence of the high percentage of fatty acids that helped reduce risk of coronary heart disease, the fact that it caused HDL levels to increase, the presence of antioxidants that helped reduce blood pressure and inhibit the growth of plaque in the arteries—all contributed to the change of heart. With a high smoke point, good flavor and taste, it is used extensively in the kitchen.

Hot Health
By Hot Health August 17, 2016 23:44
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