Most people shy away from fats through low fat diets.
However, not all fats are created equal. Some fats are not only good for you, they are essential for your health. Peggy Kotsopoulos, a registered holistic nutritionist in Toronto, recommends the following five oils for your kitchen.
Flaxseed oil is a great plant-based source of the Omega 3 ALA (alpha linolenic acid), an essential fatty acid that our body doesn’t produce on its own. Our bodies convert ALA to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
- Improves heart health and reduces risk of heart disease. Reduces inflammation. Good for: salad dressings or drizzled on top of cooked foods. Should not be heated.
Like flaxseed oil, hempseed oil is rich in Omega 3s. It’s also rich in Gamma-Linolenic- Acid (GLA) which has great immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.
It also has the optimal ratio of Omega 3:Omega 6 fatty acids.
- Can be applied externally on the skin to improve it.
- Has a unique nutty flavour.
- Good for: salad dressings, mayonnaise, and dips.
- Should not be heated.
Avocado oil, which is similar to olive oil, is low in acidity and has no cholesterol. Avocados contain more than 20 vitamins, including powerful antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, minerals and phytonutrients. The fats in avocados are primarily made up of monounsaturated oleic acid and linoleic acid.
- Helps lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.
- Helps improve heart health.
- Helps digestion.
- Good for: cooking, because it has a high smoking point.
Although it tends to have a bad rep because it is high in saturated fat, coconut oil actually has fewer calories than any other fat source, ounce for ounce. Plus, the saturated fat is easy to absorb because the oil is a medium-chain fatty-acid.
- Helps lower cholesterol levels.
- Helps restore thyroid function and increase metabolism.
- Helps normalizeblood sugar levels.
- Good for: Cooking, because it has a high smoking point.
Olives are a super food. Jam-packed with Vitamin E, they contain the highest fruit-source of minerals and calcium, and have a high concentration of amino acids. So, it only makes sense that olive oil is good for you too, but which oil is which?
- All virgin olive oils are unrefined.
- Extra virgin olive oil is made from the highest quality olives and adheres to strict manufacturing guidelines.
- The levels of acidity are the main difference between the extra virgin and virgin olive oils. Extra virgin has 0.8 percent acidity, while virgin olive oil has more than 0.8 percent, but less than two percent.
- Refined olive oil is chemically treated oil with no nutritional value.
- Olive oil is a blend between refined oil and virgin olive oil.
- Good for: EVOO is best used in a salad dressing or drizzled on top of steamed veggies, while virgin olive oil is better for cooking because it has a higher smoking point (roughly 350°F).
Published in May, 2011.