When it comes to holistic nutrition and all natural weight loss, choosing the healthiest cooking oil can be difficult. Rumors and opinions based on unsubstantiated facts circulate about which oil is best, which is toxic or which is most nutritious. Then there’s the question of saturated fats vs. trans fats vs. polyunsaturated fats vs. essential omega fats and unless you majored in biochemistry in college it’s easy to get confused. The truth is that various kinds of cooking oils have different natural health benefits and levels of nutritional value.
Olive Oil: One of Natures Oldest Natural Cures
As a trained naturopathic physician I am not only an expert on natural medicine, but I also know the principles of holistic nutrition and all natural weight loss in order to assist patients with making the right decisions in the kitchen. In most cases each cooking oil has both pros and cons associated with it; olive oil is no exception. Olive oil is a foundation of the famous, health-promoting Mediterranean Diet and rich in health-promoting Omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acids. Olive oil has been shown to help improve: cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, age-related dementia, blood clots, cancer, life expectancy and more.
Dont Lose the Holistic Health Benefits of Olive Oil When Cooking, Be Aware of the Smoke Point
Olive oil tastes great and can be used in cooking or as a substitute for butter on bread. It also serves as an excellent base for a healthy salad dressing or marinade. So, is this wonderful, healthy, tasty food also dangerous? The answer is: it can be. But its not the fault of the oil; its when we mistreat it, or use it for purposes it was never intended to fulfill, that it becomes more harmful than helpful. The key to solving this paradox is to understand the concept of Smoke Point. The Smoke Point is literally the point at which oil starts to smoke. Different oils smoke at different temperatures; olive oil is one that generally cooks best at low to medium heat, much hotter and it may smoke.
Smoke when cooking is not a good thing. The olive oil decomposes under the extreme heat causing free radicals and other dangerous molecules to replace the natural antioxidants. The smoke itself is also toxic and should not be inhaled. Finally, when theres smoke, it means the oil is dangerously close to its flash point, the point at which it may catch fire. The general rule is to only cook with olive oil on low to medium heat or use it cold. If you need hardier oil for baking or high heat cooking, consider oil with a higher Smoke Point such as Canola, Safflower, Coconut, or Grapeseed.
The True Holistic Health Benefits of Canola Oil
Canola Oil has great amounts of health-promoting Omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acids, just like olive oil, as well as low saturated fat and relatively high Omega-3 levels. It, however, has a higher Smoke Point and can be used more reliably for higher-heat cooking. I have recently seen some emails about the dangers of canola oil that have been spread around the Internet. This oil has been accused of being genetically engineered, full of trans fat, an industrial chemical used as an insecticide or fuel, a toxic weed, a biopesticide, a form of mustard gas, a trigger for diseases like mad cow disease and lung cancer, and full of cyanide.
In truth, expeller-pressed, organic canola oil is healthy cooking oil that is not to be feared. Just like any other food, it should not be consumed all day, every day. Everything in moderation is the best rule for a balanced and healthy diet. It is a great oil to consider for medium to high heat baking and sauting. Some caution should be used with lesser quality or less expensive forms of Canola Oil. The only way to guarantee the holistic health benefits of canola oil is to purchase organic and expeller-pressed.
Healthy Cooking and the Importance of Nutrition
Naturopathic medicine considers holistic nutrition one of the keys to achieving optimal health. In addition to homeopathic remedies, herbal medicine and other alternative health treatments, healthy, balanced eating habits are essential to total body wellness. To learn more about cooking oils contact your local naturopathic medical doctor.