One of the best places to get started living a healthier lifestyle is to sort out your fats and oils.
I noticed a drastic change with my own health when I started eliminating vegetable oils like canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, etc. These oils are some of the most chemically altered foods in our diet. They oxidize easily and therefore cause inflammation. Consumption of these oils can lead to food allergies and auto-immune diseases such as Psoriasis/Eczema – something I’ve struggled with since I was young. It’s hard, if not impossible, to completely avoid them because they’re used at almost all restaurants. What you can do though is to cook at home more often and talk to your server when going out to eat to see if you can have your meal cooked in olive oil instead of canola oil, for example.
Learn more about vegetable oils and what they do to our health here on this website posting.
Now it’s time to talk about smoke points!
(photo by: ultimatepaleoguide.com)
The polyunsaturated fats found in seed oils such as canola and sunflower oil are marketed to have the highest smoke points for cooking such as frying. However, they are extremely susceptible to oxidation so will therefore become rancid very quickly.
The saturated fats found in coconut oil or butter/ghee for example; however, are stable at high smoke points and don’t breakdown. Hence, should be chosen over seed oils for high heat cooking.
The monounsaturated fats found in avocado and pure olive oil (not extra virgin) are considered fairly stable but only under low heats. Extra virgin olive oil is meant to be used as a topping such as a dressing or dip and not for roasting, sautéing, grilling, or deep frying.
Check out this short video for more great information/tips on choosing a healthy fat and oil.
Note: You will notice I link to a lot of paleo diet websites and articles. I do not follow a strict paleo lifestyle but I do incorporate many of their guidelines into my diet and lifestyle. The key is to find what works best for your body and for me being strict paleo did not. You don’t have to follow someone else’s diet; make your own diet to fit your individual needs! Listen to your body and what it’s telling you.