If you’re a big fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, then you’re familiar with one of his expressions, “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?”. The Rock is certainly dedicated to eating healthy and staying in shape. This is fairly evident just by looking at his astounding physique. He obviously chooses what he eats and which oil he (or his personal chef) cooks his food with. Choosing the right vegetable oil for cooking and eating creates a huge positive impact on your health and physical appearance. There are some vegetable oils out there which are far superior to others. Keep in mind the ones which support your healthy. Take a quick look at our list.
The Good (Healthy) Vegetable Oils. We now know that not all fats are bad. Fats are made up of fatty acids and vegetable oils have different types of fatty acids depending on the oil. The type of fatty acids the oil contains gives you a clue about whether it is a healthy or unhealthy oil. Another factor determining how healthy the oil is, is whether the oil has been refined or not. Its always best to look for the least processed ones. Whenever you hear the terms unrefined, organic, virgin, extra-virgin and cold-pressed, the vegetable oils are of a far better quality than their respective counterparts. So don’t be scared when you hear these terms. Try to look cool. These oils are best added to food once it’s been cooked rather than cooking with them, with the exception of coconut oil which is perfect for cooking and baking with because it is much more stable than the others. This is why coconut oil is also solid at room temperature.
- 1.Olive oil. This vegetable oil is well recognized and respected for its heart healthy effects. It raises HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels and reduce the levels of oxidised LDL cholesterol in circulation. It’s best used for lower temperature cooking or added after your food is cooked.
- 2. Avocado oil. This vegetable oil is also food for your skin because it acts as a natural emollient (like lotion!). Like its buddy, olive oil, it’s best added after the food is cooked.
- 3. Coconut oil. Dubbed by famous chefs as a superfood, coconut oil is rich in lauric acid. Lauric acid has been shown by studies to aid in killing harmful microorganisms and improving cholesterol levels. Now, it’s not just pristine beaches you’re reminded of when you hear the word coconut.
- 4. Macadamia nut oil. Are you a nut eater? I mean, do you like eating macadamia nuts? Then, you’ll probably enjoy its oil as well. Enjoy the nutty flavor and abundance of omega-3 fatty acids when you add it to your salad dressings.
- 5. Flaxseed oil. This vegetable oil is heavily promoted as an alternative to fish oil (for vegans). Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. Flaxseed oil contains ALA, which can be converted to DHA and EPA inside our bodies. Unfortunately, studies have shown that only a fraction of ALA is converted to DHA and EPA so its not the best alternative to fish oil afterall. This oil is primarily used as a supplement or in salad dressing.
- 6. Hempseed oil. Can you guess which plant hemp seed oil comes from? It’s from Cannabis sativa. Yup, the marijuana plant. Just don’t expect it to contain the active ingredient THC, which produces that “high”. It’s mentioned here as a healthy vegetable oil because it contains ideal concentrations of the omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
- 7. Chia seed oil. Chia seed oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber. The Ancient Aztecs carried chia seeds to sustain them when running messages from village to village or during battle. When they got hungry, they brought out their stash of chia seeds and water which provided them with sustenance for the days ahead. Now, it’s used as a supplement in the same way as flaxseed oil or to add a nutty flavour to salad dressing.
- 8. Evening primrose oil. Evening primrose oil comes from the evening primrose plant (duh). It contains an essential fatty acid, gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Some studies suggest that it has health benefits for those who have eczema and rheumatoid arthritis as well as for PMS (premenstrual syndrome), breast tenderness during menstruation and for menopausal symptoms. For these reasons, it’s available in a capsule form as a supplement.
- 9. Algal oil. Algal oil contains a lot of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (an essential fatty acid). DHA is necessary for brain function and growth and has beneficial effects on heart health and eye function. Algal oils contain smaller amounts of the other omega-3 fatty acid, EPA (another essential fatty acid) which supports joint and heart health and the natural inflammatory response.
- 10. Fish oil. Here fishy, fishy, fishy…here comes the fish oil. It’s rich in both DHA and EPA. DHA and EPA have many health benefits such as supporting heart, brain and joint health. You just have to make sure that you get your fish from reliable sources. Start your fishing expedition early. This is taken in a supplement form and should be stored in the fridge.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this mini series. It features the unhealthy vegetable oils which we recommend that you stay away from or avoid using.