Healthy Oils and Fats 101: The Rothfeld Center's Featured Paleo Recipes
Many of us have our favorite cooking oils that we stick to for almost everything in the kitchen and neglect the large handful of other cooking oils out there. Nutritionists and dieticians all over the world respond differently to the many uses of cooking oils in the kitchen, which can get messy and confusing. We are here to clear things up and give you a better idea about what you’re coating your pan with!
P.S. Most Paleo eaters suggest to eliminate any vegetable oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-6 such as corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, and grapeseed oil.
Canola Oil is produced from the rapeseed plant. There is a large debate over the health benefits of canola oil, especially in the Paleo community. Many people believe that canola oil is one of the healthiest oils to use due to its unsaturated fat content. Some doctors even consider canola oil a “heart healthy” oil due to its richness in omega 3’s. Many Paleo eaters on the other hand are skeptical of the methods in which it is produced. According to Mark’s Daily Apple, “Most canola oil is chemically extracted using the harsh petroleum-derived solvent hexane. Even when expeller pressing is used, a process common to organic brands, the massive force of industrial presses still produces heat. True ‘cold-pressed’ canola oil (extracted with millstones) does exist but can be hard to find and is more expensive.” IF you choose to use Canola oil, it is best used for light cooking, sauces, desserts, homemade mayo/dressing.
Olive Oil is one of the oldest known culinary oils known for its high contents of heart friendly monosaturated fats, antioxidative substances, and several other health benefits. It can be used for salad dressings, sautéing, and even as a face moisturizer or lotion (it’s always a good sign when you can eat your skin products). Although olive oil can withstand low heat temperatures, it will lose its flavor when heated too high. Writers from Paleo Leap recommend not to cook with it, as it burns and oxidizes quickly. Rather, it is better to use it as a salad dressing or atop your meals.
Grades of Olive Oil:
Extra virgin is the oil from the first cold-pressing of the olive, meaning it the least processed and the best quality.
Virgin olive oil is comprised from the second pressing.
Pure olive oil undergoes light filtering and refining.
Extra light olive oil has been through the most processing, and only holds a very mild olive flavor.
“ Extra virgin olive oil is produced from the first pressing of the olives and creates an extremely high quality oil with a great nutritional profile. With the growing global demand, some companies have cut corners and passed lower quality oils as extra virgin or adulterated the olive oil by adding vegetable oils.” – WellnessMama
Avocado Oil has a similar fatty acid profile to olive oil. It has the highest smoke point of all vegetable oils, and is extremely low in trans fatty acids. Avocado oil has a unique, mild flavor. It can be used in salad dressings, dips, soups, marinades, baking, roasting and grilling. It is also often used for high temperature cooking, although many people prefer the taste of it raw.
Coconut Oil is a tropical oil that’s packed with saturated fatty acids. It is ideal for all sorts of cooking and baking, and can be eaten raw. Coconut oil can withstand higher cooking temperatures without being destroyed, which means it also has a long shelf life. There is an endless amount of healing properties and health benefits in coconut oil. Not only does it promote heart health, brain health, aid in weight loss and digestion, and strengthen your immune system, it is also used for hair and skin health, first aid treatments, general household cleaning, etc. Here is a list of 80 uses of coconut oil from Health Impact News.
Ghee is actually a term for clarified butter (what happens when you remove water and milk solids from butter). It is an ancient staple in Indian cooking, often used in place for butter and other oils. It is extremely rich in antioxidants, aids in digestion, reduces inflammation, promotes longevity, and protects the body from various diseases. Ghee can be used at high temperatures without burning, and is good for cooking on the stove as well as baking. According to Paleo Leap, Ghee is not strictly Paleo “since cavemen didn’t consume dairy products”
You can even make it yourself by slowly melting butter in a pan, straining out the white parts into a cheese cloth, and preserving only the pure fat.
Although there are many of other oils that come from different seeds, nuts, and plants, these are the most common ones used in Paleo Cooking. The Dirt & The Dish have a great “Paleo Approved Cooking Chart” that matches oils with there heat tolerance.
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