We consume oils every day in dressings, baked goods, cooking vegetables and proteins, and many more! Oils are fats, which are essential to our overall health because they are needed to synthesize hormones and absorb nutrients- like vitamins A, D, E, and K!
Every oil has a "smoke point". An oil’s smoke point indicates how high a heat the oil can take before beginning to smoke. When oil smokes, it releases a carcinogen into the air and free radicals within the oil. For the healthiest approach, discard any oil that has gone beyond its smoke point.
There are two main types of oil: refined (processed) and unrefined (cold-pressed). Refined oils are heated during production and often processed with chemicals to increase the shelf-life and smoke points. Many of the healthy nutrients are lost during the processing. Unrefined oils are very flavorful and higher in nutrients and minerals but have lower smoke points and shorter shelf lives. They are denser and break down at lower temperatures.
These are some of the best oils to consume because of their nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Unrefined Avocado Oil
Virgin Coconut Oil
Organic Almond Oil
Macadamia Nut Oil
Cold-Pressed Olive Oil*
*Caution With Heat
To avoid burning the oil when cooking, make sure to use an oil with a high smoke point such as avocado oil, coconut oil, or sesame oil. Avocado is a great substitute for vegetable oil as it does not have any taste but contains beneficial nutrients! Oils such as extra virgin olive oil and walnut oil should not be heated as they may burn and be harmful for consumption.
Avoid cooking using these oils and products that contain these oils to reduce the promotion of inflammation:
Refined Palm Oil
Although you may not have these oils in your pantry they are found in many common food items such as nut butter, salad dressing, sauces, snack food, hummus, protein shakes, and many other products. Even if the packaging claims the product is "healthy" be sure to investigate the ingredient label for these hidden oils. You will be surprised where they are lurking!