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Oil Robious CorridorWith so many choices of oils in the grocery store, it can be a challenge to know what oil is best.

Although most oils contain 13g of fat and approximately 120 calories, it’s the varying amounts of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fat that affect its health benefits. How an oil is processed also effects the flavor and nutrient content. Look for cold-pressed or expeller pressed if possible. Expeller pressed doesn’t use solvents, such as hexane, to extract the oil, which can leave trace amounts behind.

Understanding the smoke point of different oils is also beneficial; once an oil begins to smoke, it starts to break down and lose flavor and nutrients. A low smoke oil such as flaxseed oil contains 18% MUFA, 73% PUFA, and 9% saturated fat. It is not recommended for cooking, but is great to use in dressings and should be stored in the refrigerator.

A medium heat oil such as olive oil contains 77% MUFA, 9% PUFA, and 14% saturated fat. It has a smoke point from 325-375 degrees. Extra virgin has the cleanest flavors and strict production guidelines, but some brands have recently come under fire for not containing the quality that the label states. Some excellent brands are California Olive Ranch, Kirkland Organic, Briani, Trader Joe’s California Estate, Corto, and Oleo Estates. Look for dark glass or metal tin containers to prevent oxidation.

Avocado oil is one of my favorites and it contains 71% MUFA, 13% PUFA, and 12% saturated fat. It has a high smoke point, a clean flavor, and it is a good source of vitamin E. A great, all-purpose oil, but look for unrefined and raw.

Coconut oil is another high heat oil which contains 6% MUFA, 2% PUFA, ands 92% saturated fat. This medium chain fatty acid converts to energy instead of being stored as fat in the body, so it actually is a healthy option in moderation. It contains almost 50% of the healthy fat lauric acid, which has been shown to have potent anti-microbial benefits. Look for virgin and unrefined for the best quality. There is a brand called Barlean’s Butter Flavored Organic Coconut Oil that has a dairy-free buttery flavor from botanical extracts.

A couple of oils that you should skip are soybean oil, corn oil, vegetable blends, and anything that’s partially-hydrogenated. The ratio of omega-6 to 3 is higher than recommended in these oils and most corn and soy products, unless certified organic, are genetically modified.

Even a little grass-fed butter is a better option in moderation with it’s low omega-6 and good linoleic acid.

Try a few new oils to jazz up your dressings, sauces, and boost your health.

Written by Donna Wheeler, acac nutritionist

acac Midlothian has provided Robious Corridor Magazine and Robious Corridor Online with valuable health, nutrition, and fitness information for years.  Since our first issue, we welcome their guidance and recognize them as a Keystone Corporate Partner!

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