Cooking Oils and Nutrition

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Whether you love to be in the kitchen or try to avoid cooking whenever possible, you probably use oil a great deal. Fatty oils and butters are necessary for sautéing vegetables, baking cookies or roasting meats. It’s difficult to avoid using oils, even in the simplest dishes. Choosing the right oils and using them wisely is the best way to ensure that you and your family are consuming healthy fats at a reasonable rate.


What Your Body Wants

Fat isn’t necessarily evil. Your body needs it to work properly. Eating the right fats lets your body work best. Low-density lipoproteins in your body tend to build up in your bloodstream and cause plaque. High-density lipoproteins move the fat from your blood to the liver, to be disposed. Choosing unsaturated fat supports the HDL levels which helps keep your blood clean.

What To Look For

Many plant oils, such as olive oil, are polyunsaturated and will help your body lower your LDL levels. When you are seeking an oil, think about the taste and health. Olive oil has a particular, mild taste, making it ideal for many cooking purposes. Pumpkin seed oil is also a good option, although the flavor is stronger. If you are baking, look for canola oil with a mild flavor. Look for a bottle that is dark in color, if possible, so the oil won’t break down under ambient light.

What To Avoid

When possible, you may want to steer clear of palm kernel oil or cottonseed oil, which are both high in saturated fat. If you are unsure, look at the ingredients on the side of the oil. If the ingredients are vague or unlisted, keep looking. Such bottles probably contain cheap or saturated oils. Avoid items with hydrogenated oils or trans fats.

How To Use

One thing you can do to avoid getting too much fat in your diet is limit your oil intake altogether. Put your olive oil or other preferred oil into an oil spray bottle. Instead of pouring oil into your pan or on your veggies, just spritz. Put a small bowl of oil in the refrigerator. Wipe out a bit with paper towel and grease a pan with the hardened oil.

Alternatives

Think twice before using oil. Sometimes, there are alternatives. You can sauté veggies in a thin layer of chicken stock or even water. Cider, milk, juice and other liquids can bring interesting flavors to roasts and sautes. Use a nonstick pan instead of pouring oils into a steel or copper pan for certain dishes, such as eggs.

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