Is Your Cooking Oil Hazardous to Your Health?

If you have ever walked down the grocery store aisle for cooking oil, you know there are several to choose from. What you might not know is which ones to avoid, which ones to use raw, and which ones to cook with. It is very important to educate yourself on how to properly utilize your cooking oils to benefit your health.

Let’s begin with the oils you should avoid as much as possible:

  • Vegetable Oil
  • Canola/Rapeseed Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Peanut Oil

These oils are highly processed, both chemically and mechanically, to remove the oil from their seeds. The result is nutritionally void and very fragile unsaturated fats. They are too unstable to cook with and easily become rancid. Your body cannot identify these rancid oils and therefore treats them as toxins. These toxins get stored in your fat cells and cause inflammatory problems that lead to joint pain, weight gain, weight-loss resistance, fatigue, etc.

Limit consumption of these oils as much as you can. By making more of your own food and checking food labels carefully, removing these oils from everyday cooking is possible.  It is nearly impossible to avoid them altogether because these oils are what most restaurants and stores use to cook and prepare their foods with. Even Whole Foods throws Canola Oil into most dishes they create (quite a pet-peeve of mine!).

Then there are oils that are incredibly healthy when consumed raw but should not be used with heat:

  • Olive Oil
  • Flax Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Nut Oil (e.g., Walnut, Macadamia)
  • Sesame Oil

These oils, especially extra virgin and cold pressed, have wonderful health benefits that are best obtained when raw. When these oils come in contact with anything more than a few minutes of low heat, the nutrients are destroyed, the oil becomes rancid, and free radicals are released in the smoke which are not only hazardous to your health but also accelerate the aging process. Use these oils to drizzle on your food after it has been cooked.

So what oils should you use for cooking? You want to use fats and oils that are saturated. Saturated fats can withstand high temperatures and remain stable throughout the cooking process. You never want to let the oil reach its smoking point, which is the temperature that causes the oil to smoke and discolor. If you are using high heat, unrefined coconut oil is the best oil to use. If you are cooking on medium-medium high heat, coconut oil, butter (preferably raw) or ghee should be used.

It is difficult to achieve a healthy lifestyle if you are preparing your healthy ingredients and nourishing foods in toxic oils. Look through your most recent food journals or be especially observant this week about the oils you use and at what temperature you use them so that you can achieve optimal health.






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