When Americans buy oil for cooking or for making salad dressings, most of you are probably not thinking about the therapeutic value of the oil that you are choosing. The type of oil or fat that you use in food preparation can cause heart disease or prevent it. Here are three common cooking oils that have a lot of health benefits and therapeutic value.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a cornucopia of medicinal uses. When taken daily in a dose of about two tablespoons, it has been shown to fight bacteria, viruses and fungal infections. One of the ingredients of coconut oil is lauric acid. This increases the good cholesterol that the body needs. Increasing good HDL cholesterol, and decreasing bad LDL cholesterol is important in preventing heart disease. Using the right kind of fats in cooking can go a long way towards reducing the risk of heart disease. Coconut oil also improves blood glucose levels and the effectiveness of insulin; and it improves thyroid function.
It also contains a type of fat called Medium Chain Triglycerides which is broken down in the liver and leads to increased metabolism of the type of fat that collects around the abdomen. This is the most difficult fat to get rid of. Studies have shown that daily consumption of coconut oil may prevent the plaques forming in the brain that contribute to Alzheimer’s Dementia.
Coconut oil can also be used as a base oil for making skin moisturizers and hair conditioners. It can be used as a carrier oil for stronger therapeutic-grade essential oils. There are many other uses of coconut oil too numerous to mention. It has sun-blocking properties and can be used to protect the skin from harmful ultra violet rays.
Coconut oil can be used for sautéing vegetables and meats; and it can be used in smoothies with coconut milk.
2. Olive oil and Virgin Olive Oil
Culinary oils have various differing percentages of monounsaturated oils in them. Olive Oil has the highest percentage of 75% oleic acid (a monounsaturated, omega-9 fatty acid) which lowers cholesterol, improves blood flow, and is good for heart health. Olive oil also has anti-inflammatory properties which make it a good choice for anyone who suffers from arthritis. It is also thought to lower the risk of having a stroke.
Olive oil can also be used on the skin and hair, as a base for scrubs, moisturizers, and conditioners.
Olive oil can be used in cooking but is excellent in salad dressings and vinaigrettes.
3. Canola oil
Canola is short for “Canadian oil, low acid ” and was created by Canadian scientists to be a perfect cooking oil. It is extracted from a plant that was bred from rapeseed, but it is not rapeseed, which has some toxic ingredients. Canola oil is considered to be a heart healthy oil because it is composed of unsaturated fatty acids, but the process of creating it involves high heat and bleaching — so it is less pure than olive oil. However, while the distinctive flavor of olive oil is excellent in dips and dressings it is too strong to be used in baking, and canola makes a good substitute for butter or vegetable oil.
Photo: Oil and Olive by Luigi Diamanti from freedigitalphotos.net