Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Healthy Cooking Oils and How to Use Them

MT. PLEASANT, Mich-- There's a lot of misinformation floating around about what cooking oils are actually healthy for you and their proper usage. Generally, extra virgin olive oil is everyone's go-to for cooking, but we have unfortunate news: it shouldn't be. Different oils have different attributes and flavor profiles, lending them to various uses. We at Graff Mt Pleasant are here to set the oil record straight, so let's get our sizzle on! 

1. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

A staple in nearly every kitchen, olive oil tastes delicious, but it's definitely not a healthy cooking option. Just one tablespoon contains 120 calories and is 14% saturated fat, and while your body does require healthy fatty acids for development, you should be receiving them from natural sources like avocados, nuts, and seeds, not refined oils. In addition, olive oil has an extremely low smoke point, so it's unsuited to cooking at high temperatures. If you're still inclined to keep Extra-Virgin olive oil as a part of your diet, consume it unheated. Drizzle it over salads, or as a dip for bread and veggies. 

2. Avocado Oil

Highly underrated, Avocado oil deserves a lot more praise than it usually gets. It's full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and therefore is good for your cholesterol. It also contains lutein, which is an antioxidant that improves your eye health. It has the highest known smoke point of any plant-based oil - 520 degrees - which makes it perfect for deep-frying, grilling, and roasting. You can also use it in your salad dressings to improve the absorption of antioxidants present in vegetables. 

3. Grape Seed Oil

Made from the pressed seeds of grapes, grape seed oil features a bright, soft flavor, and a high content of Vitamin E and oleic acid which has been proven to prevent strokes and curb appetite. Use it to cook vegetables, or add it to your beauty and skin-care regimen - it's really good for for your face and hair! It doesn't separate when chilled so its perfect for use in creamy salad dressings and homemade mayonnaise. In addition, it's a great substitute for butter or shortening in baking recipes. 

4. Almond Oil

Almond oil features a deep, nutty flavor perfect for adding rich, deep flavor to pasta dishes and other hearty meals or baked goods. It's incredibly good for your skin, and is probably a main ingredient in some of your all-natural beauty care products. Use it as a gently makeup remover or a deep, conditioning hair mask. An excellent source of Vitamin E, it's also high in healthy fats that lower blood pressure and support weight loss. It has a medium smoke point, so it's a good option for lightly sauteing vegetables, but shouldn't necessarily be used for deep-frying or grilling. 

5. Coconut Oil

Oh coconut oil, few foods have been the cause of such heated (pun intended) debates, Harvard professors have called it "pure poison" and your standard hippie types champion it as a miracle salve, with unending uses, from cooking and sunscreen, to a natural deodorant and stain remover. While there are few studies to provide us with legitimate data, what we do know about coconut oil is that when it's processed, it's high in bad saturated fats. Go with the virgin option as the good essential fatty acids and antioxidants haven't been killed off. There is also reason to believe that it supports thyroid health while in it's virgin state. We recommend using coconut oil in moderation, however it does lend a lovely tropical flavor to curries and other exotic dishes. Try using it as a hair conditioner, in place of massage oil, or as a cuticle moisturizer, your hippie friends were right, it does have some interesting uses. 

6. Vegetable Oil

Oddly enough, vegetable oil is not made from vegetables. Tough seeds and legumes, not intended for human consumption, are chemically treated so they can be broken down into pourable form. The term vegetable oil includes canola, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oil. What about the jugs of "vegetable oil" sold at the grocery store? False advertising, most oils sold under the label "vegetable" are at least 85% pure soybean oil. These oils are unstable due to the chemical processing they undergo, making them inflammatory to your system, and have been shown to contribute to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and even cancer. Even if the packaging on vegetable oil is pretty, and it promises health benefits, it's best to just stay away. Find a fruit or nut oil alternative as these are high in healthy fats. They may be more expensive, but it's worth it in the long run.

7. Walnut Oil

Dark, with a light, nutty scent, walnut oil can be expensive, but a little goes a long way. It's perfect for use in pasta dishes, sauteing winter vegetables, and for grilling fruits, poultry, and fish. Rich in copper and melatonin, it helps to regulate your body's circadian rhythm. Packed with omega-3, it improves blood circulation, lowers the risk of heart disease, maintains hormone levels, and improves the skin. Once walnut oil is opened, make sure you refrigerate, otherwise it will become rancid. 

We hope you found this blog interesting and informative, what do oils do you use for cooking? Are there any interesting uses you've found for oils that we didn't mention? Comment and let us know! 

At Hank Graff Mt. Pleasant we strive to provide our customers with a car buying experience that is accommodating, stress-free and fun! Visit us at our Chevrolet dealership located at 4580 E Pickard Rd in Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48858 or our Buick GMC Cadillac dealership located at 116 N. Mission St in Mount Pleasant, MI 48858.

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