Nutrition

7 healthy culinary oils

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Nutrition

7 healthy culinary oils

Yes, extra-virgin olive oil adds great flavour and healthy nutrients to your cooking. But these seven culinary oils are also worthy of a place in your pantry.

1. Hemp oil
This earthy-tasting oil, which is pressed from hemp seeds, is full of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Our bodies can’t produce these healthy fats, so we must get them from food, says Tristaca Curley, a registered dietitian and professor at the School of Nutrition and Dietetics at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S. Hemp oil is too delicate for cooking; use it in dips and dressings.

2. Canola oil
Pressed from the seeds of the modified rapeseed plant, canola oil possesses 1.3 grams of artery friendly omega-3 fat in a one-tablespoon serving – 12 times more than olive oil. It also has one of the lowest levels of saturated fat of any dietary oil. When baking, you can replace one cup solid fat, such as butter or shortening, with ¾ cup canola oil.

3. Almond oil
Almond oil is rich in vitamin E, with one tablespoon providing a quarter of your daily
quota. "Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and plays a role in improving immune function and reducing inflammation," says Nicole Springle, a registered dietitian in Toronto and the director of nutrition for the Cleveland Clinic Canada. Use it in baked goods or as a dip for crusty bread, or drizzle it over stir-fries.

4. Grapeseed oil
This byproduct of winemaking has a neutral flavour and is a good source of both vitamin E and oleic acid, a fatty acid that may help slash your risk of stroke by up to 73 per cent,
according to a 2011 study published in the journal Neurology. Grapeseed oil is a great choice to use when roasting, broiling, grilling and stir-frying.

Page 1 of 2 --  To learn about more healthy cooking oils keep reading on page 2

5. Avocado oil
Light, buttery avocado oil is especially rich in monounsaturated fat. "This is a desirable fat because it helps lower our LDL, or bad, cholesterol," says Curley. This fruit oil also supplies lutein, an antioxidant shown to bolster eye health. With the highest smoke point of any plant oil (about 520°F/271°C), ultraversatile avocado oil is just as good to use in the frying pan as it is in salad dressings.

6. Seasame oil
Nutty sesame oil adds Asian flair to recipes and consists of nearly equal parts monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – both heart-healthy fatty acids. "It also contains considerable amounts of antioxidants called lignans, which may help lower blood
pressure," says Springle. Sauté food with light sesame oil, and finish dishes such as brown rice and stir-fries with the more intensely flavoured roasted variety.

7. Walnut oil
This nut oil has a toasty, slightly bittersweet flavour and is a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat. Upping your intake of plant-derived ALA can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 per cent, according to a 2011 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Walnut oil marries well with grilled fish, pizza, roasted vegetables and pasta.


This story was originally titled "Oil Change" in the June 2012 issue.

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Nutrition

7 healthy culinary oils

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