Heart-Healthy Cooking Oils
Let's face it: We need oil—cooking oil, that is. It makes food flavorful and moist, and without it, we couldn’t sauté or fry or whip up a cake from a store-bought mix. But it’s our insatiable desire for fried foods and baked goods that has given oil a bad name, one associated with type-2 diabetes, clogged arteries, and hearts strained by love handles gone wild with excess fat. And as a consequence about two-thirds of Americans are overweight. However, we need the fat from oil to absorb the vitamins in our food; it’s also an important source of energy. So the key is moderation—no more than 30 percent of the calories you consume in a day should be derived from fat—as well as knowing which cooking oils are actually healthy for you and which ones you should steer clear of.
Good-for-you oils: Olive, canola, safflower, sunflower, soybean, sesame
Safflower, canola, sunflower, soybean and sesame oil all have high smoke points, making them a good choice for cooking techniques that require high temperatures such as frying because they won’t break down into harmful oxidation compounds. Canola oil has the least amount of saturated fat at just 7 percent and contains vitamins E and K, heart-health-boosting plant sterols, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Soybean oil is an excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids, which the American Heart Association recently deemed heart-healthy, recommending that people consume anywhere from 12 to 22 grams a day. And chock-full of monounsaturated fat, olive oil can reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad, cholesterol, as well as help women keep breast cancer at bay and preserve their bone density. Keep in mind, though, that to fully enjoy the health benefits you can’t just consume more of these cooking oils; you need to use them in place of ones that are laden with saturated fat.
Oils to avoid: Coconut and palm
Containing 91 percent and 51 percent saturated fat respectively, coconut and palm oil are up there with oft-reviled butterfat and lard. What’s so bad about saturated fat? First off, our body produces all the saturated fats it needs, unlike unsaturated fats, which we need to get from our diet. So consuming any more than the recommended 7 percent daily allowance can result in an overload. Besides raising LDL cholesterol levels, an excess of saturated fat has been shown to harden blood vessel walls
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Hotter Temperatures Linked To Kidney Stones
- 2. Summer Bug Bites: What to Look For
- 3. Skin Health Advice with Dr. Kenneth Beer
- 4. Summer Safety Tips That Every Parent Needs To Know
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.