I often get asked about oils, and what the proper oils are for cooking, salad dressings, baking, smoothies, and everything else. There are a few simple rules to follow with oils:
1. Don’t rely on only one oil for all of your needs. They have different smoke points and health benefits, and it is important to understand the differences so you get the most out of your oils.
2. Always purchase the highest quality oils you can find. Organic, cold-pressed, extra-virgin… you want the least processed form of the oil. The more processing the oil goes through, the fewer nutrients it will retain.
3. Store your oils properly. Some oils are hard at room temperature and can be kept in a cupboard. Others are sensitive to heat or light, so should be in darker bottles and kept away from the stove. For example, olive oil is very sensitive to heat and light. Yet, many people store it right next to their stove for easy access, or in a cupboard over the stove. The heat will spoil the oil and make it rancid, eliminating many of its important health benefits. Oilve oil should be kept in a cool, dry cellar or even a refrigerator if you live in a warmer climate. Flaxseed oil is another one that spoils easily and should be refrigerated.
4. Keep all fish oil supplements in the fridge as well to keep those healthy fats in tact.
5. Know the smoke points of your oils. Many use olive oil for cooking. However, did you know that its smoke point is only 325 degrees F? That means that heating olive oil to anything over 325 degrees F will begin to generate free radicals (cancer-causing agents you read about often) and change the chemical structure of the oil such that nutrients are destroyed. If you know the smoke points of your oils, you can use proper oils for cooking, salad dressings, and drizzling over pasta or veggies.
6. Myth: Oils will make me fat. This is NOT TRUE! As long as you are purchasing high quality, healthy oils such as extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil; extra virgin coconut oil; and organic flaxseed oil, they can only benefit your health. They are great for weight loss, hormonal balance, increasing metabolism, clearer thinking, energy levels, improving intestinal bacteria and health, and more. Healthy fats make up our cell walls, and when we avoid them, our cells become clumsy and sluggish, leading to weight gain and other unwanted symptoms.
The Spectrum Organics website has a great chart for the different smoke points of oils (found HERE). I recommend printing this out and hanging it in your kitchen. Try a few new oils this month. When you buy high quality oils, they contain many essential fats and other nutrients that can help keep you and your family healthy!