In my last post, I told you all about Canola Oil and why you should avoid it. Naturally, the question became, what are the best oils and what should you use? Ask and you shall receive – here are my top 4 healthy oils.
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (unrefined)
First of all, let’s be sure we’re talking about the same oil – unrefined, non-hydrogenated, unadultered coconut oil. This stuff is AWESOME for you. It’s easily the oil I use most. Unlike most oils, it is stable in medium-high heat and does not oxidize or go rancid when you cook with it. This is the ONLY oil I cook with. Eggs, chicken, kale, grass-fed beef, you name it – coconut oil makes it delicious!
Yes, nearly all of the fat in coconut oil is saturated – but you need not fear it. It is mostly a medium chain triglyceride called lauric acid. As I told you in this post, Lauric acid “has been shown in numerous studies to be antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral.” (1) And, I’ve also told you that MCT’s are a special type of fat that get preferentially burned as fuel rather than stored as body fat. Used in the right amounts at the right times (1g in your morning coffee) (2), they can trick your body into burning body fat for a fuel source, helping you get & stay lean!
Multiple uses, strengthens immune system, heat-stable for cooking…WIN.
I get mine from Tropical Traditions HERE.
Organic Virgin Red Palm Oil
Again, let’s pay attention to detail – organic, virgin, and of course – unrefined, non-hydrogenated red palm oil. It’s reddish-orange in color and thicker than most “liquid-state” oils – Dave Tate even calls it “orange snot”. I’ll be honest with you, I LOVE it’s flavor, although some don’t. It’s amazing on cooked eggs, and just about anything else.
Like sweet potatoes, carrots, and all other orange foods, this oil is high in carotenoids. A form of Vitamin A, carotenoids are linked to eyesight, cognitive function, and are now being used in nanotachnology research. (3)
Palm oil also contains extremely high levels of Vitamin E, in the form of tocotrienols – potent antioxidants and heart-healthy nutrients. (1). Palm fruits and palm oils are one of the only naturally occurring sources of this nutrient. This oil is about 50% saturated fat, and 40% monounsaturated, which makes it low in the pro-inflammatory omega-6’s.
To recap…Red Palm Oil tastes great, awesome source of Vitamins A & E (both of which are fat-soluble vitamins, so they’re absorbed and utilized better when consumed WITH fat), heart-healthy & favorable fatty acid profile…WIN!
Again, I get mine from Tropical Traditions. They’re on backorder right now, but you can check it out HERE.
Macadamia Nut Oil
My favorite source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s), macadamia nut oil can be hard to find, but it’s worth the effort. You shouldn’t cook with it, but it is great as a topping for steamed veggies, salads, rice, or anything else that you can think of.
Mac Nut Oil has similar benefits to olive oil, but has the advantage of being less “tainted” by mass production. It also out-ranks olive oil in MUFA concentration, as it is 85% MUFA’s. Oleic acid, the specific MUFA in mac nut oil actually increases omega-3 absorption in the body – and both lower blood levels of triglycerides and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. (1)
Tastes great, improve blood values, helps you absorb more omega-3’s…definitely a WIN!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Along with walnuts, olive oil is the only food allowed by the FDA to make health claims on it’s label. Pretty elite status. Enough reason by itself to include olive oil in this list.
As a great source of MUFA’s, olive oil has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, raise HDL (good) cholesterol, decrese risks of bowel and colon cancer, and even lower blood pressure. (1)
The designation “extra virgin” simply means the oil has only been pressed ONCE from the olives that contained it originally. This designation let’s you know you’re getting an oil that has not been highly processed or refined, and still contains most of the vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids that make it beneficial in the first place. (1) Be sure to get Extra Virgin Olive Oil – EVOO as Food Network star Rachel Ray would say.
EDIT: (from a question on Facebook regarding Safflower oil)
The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in our diet is 3:1 or 2:1. The typical western diet WAY out of whack, averaging about 15-20:1 in favor of omega-6s. This leads to inflammation which is a contributor to many chronic disease states (too many to list here). For that reason, I do not consume any concentrated sources of omega-6’s – especially oils. Safflower oil is nearly 75% omega-6’s – so it’s a huge no-go in my opinion. Corn, walnut, soybean, sunflower, grapeseed, cottonseed, and vegetable oil all fall into this category. I avoid them as much as possible and recommend the same for you and everyone else.
1. Bowden, Jonny. Ph. D., C.N.S. (2007) “The 150 Healthiest Foods On Earth.”
2. Keifer, John. M.S. (2011) “Carb Back Loading. Manual For Total Body Fat Control”
3. Y. Saito et al. (2006). “Vibrational Analysis of Organic Molecules Encapsulated in Carbon Nanotubes by Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy”. Jap. J. Appl. Phys. 45 (12): 9286–9289.Bibcode 2006JaJAP..45.9286S. doi:10.1143/JJAP.45.9286.