Let’s start by saying that oils are not part of a whole foods diet. Many people argue that no one should have oils. But when it comes to cooking, I personally HAVE to have oils. But which ones to choose? There are mixed reviews on which ones are the “healthiest”. I am going to share with you my three “healthy” oils and why I recommend them.
Most of the oils on the shelves in supermarkets are cheaply made, and are NOT the “right” fat that you need. Yes you need fats! Your brain is 60% fat, and requires both saturated fats and unsaturated fats to keep those brain cells feeling young. Unfortunately, most of those cheaply made oils are trans-fats. They pretend to be the fat your brain needs, but without the nutritional value. They also increase your bad cholesterol (LDL), and lower your good cholesterol (HDL). So in a nutshell, trans fats can ruin your health. If you don’t believe me, just do some research on the American Heart Association’s website.
Olive oil is a very tasty “healthy” oil for cooking. It is a base for dressings, and great for coating foods for grilling. But note- it starts to smoke at high temperature ruining the nutritional value and structure of the oil. Olive oil can be used as a moisturizer as well, but it is much thicker than the items below.
If you’ve never done an olive oil “taste testing” at a local olive farm, or olive oil store, then I highly recommend it. It will truly introduce you to a whole world of high quality olive oil. With that said, if you are ok with a very mild taste, you can probably get a large bottle for $10 at Trader Joe’s, or a local specialty market.
If you are looking for a different yet tasty option for your cooking, then Avocado oil is an alternate. It is very good for frying (can handle higher temperatures), and also can be used as a base for dressing or homemade mayo.
But it is AMAZING for moisturizing your skin as well. It has a high amount of Vitamin E and can help promote collagen production. Just mix a few drops with your facial moisturizer, apply as a mask for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water before bed. Additionally, it can strengthen hair. Add a few drops of oil to warm water (100 degrees), and massage into your scalp and hair once a week.
BUT, you need to be sure you are purchasing a high quality brand, as it can spoil. You clearly don’t want to put rancid oil on your face or hair. I highly suggest to spend the time on finding a brand that you can trust and afford. And then, make sure you store it properly.
Organic coconut oil is actually a saturated fat, and is solid at room temperature. As of now, coconut oil has mixed reviews on how “healthy” it is. It has medium chain triglycerides, that can be broken down quickly in the body, which has benefits on glucose availability for the brain. But there are simply not enough studies to label it “healthy”, and thus the debate. I use it because it has multiple uses, and is less prone to spoiling.
However, everyone needs to be aware of how much coconut oil you consume, as saturated fats in high doses can be problematic for anyone at risk of heart disease. (to put it in perspective, it has a higher saturation than butter). SO PLEASE USE CAUTION.
- it is perfect for adding to smoothies when you have a nut allergy.
- you can use it to “grease” your baking pans
- you can use it as a substitute for vegetable oil
- add it to cacao powder along with a sweetener and create a home dark chocolate
And while it can also moisturize your skin like avocado oil, there are a few other uses…
- Oil pulling – swishing coconut oil in your mouth like mouthwash sounds gross, I know, but the oil can actually “pull” the bacteria out of the teeth/gums, helping promote dental health (along with brushing)
- Deodorant- sounds a little weird, but coconut oil has antibacterial properties (mentioned above), and can be combined with other ingredients to help reduce the bacteria which causes body odor.
- Eye Make Up Remover- gently wipe a tissue with coconut oil to remove make up, before washing your face.
- Restore Wood Shine- forget the pledge. A thin coat of coconut oil can be wiped into the wood or a surface to restore shine. (I actually just did this with our cabinets recently. I wiped down with soap & water first, then coated with a bit of coconut oil)