Essential Nutritional Oils Leawood KS

We should all know by now that nature’s given us good fats and bad fats, and that opting to eat only the good variety can help prevent everything from cardiovascular disease to cancer. But before you double'dip your baguette in that rosemary-infused olive oil, keep this in mind

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Cooking with Oils

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By Pamela Bond

We should all know by now that nature’s given us good fats and bad fats, and that opting to eat only the good variety can help prevent everything from cardiovascular disease to cancer. But before you double-dip your baguette in that rosemary-infused olive oil, keep this in mind: Nutritionists say that fat (even the heart-healthy kind) should make up only 20 percent to 35 percent of your total calories—the equivalent of about 5 tablespoons of oil a day. So while these culinary oils can contribute hugely to your health, use them sparingly. We asked nutritionists for their top choices among cooking oils and for some simple ways to use them. Here’s what they recommend.

Olive oil
Benefits: With a 78 percent monounsaturated fat content, olive oil helps regulate and optimize cholesterol levels by decreasing the bad (LDL) without affecting the good (HDL), says Kelly Morrow, RD, assistant professor of nutrition at Bastyr University in Seattle. (By contrast, polyunsaturated fats lower LDLs and HDLs; saturated fats raise LDLs; and trans fats raise LDLs and decrease HDLs.) What’s more, the polyphenols in olive oil—its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant compounds—keep LDL cholesterol from clumping and sticking to artery walls, which can lead to heart disease. Be sure to choose extra virgin varieties, which are least likely to be damaged during processing.

Try It: Drizzle a tablespoon on pizza before putting it in the oven, says Joanne Saltzman, founder and director of the School of Natural Cookery in Boulder, Colorado.

We Like: Olave Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($17.95 for 16.9 oz.; www.evze.com )

Walnut oil
Benefits: Walnut oil’s omega-3s help fight inflammation in the body, which prevents blood clots, lowers stress, and decreases belly fat, says Sarah Krieger, RD, a dietician in St. Petersburg, Florida. Your noggin is roughly 70 percent fat, so getting enough omega-3s also keeps brain cells firing properly.

Try It: Substitute for butter in pastries, biscuits, and other baked goods. Or blend a little with some honey and drizzle over a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.

We Like: Bija Organic Hydro-Therm Walnut Oil ($15.49 for 8.5 oz; www.florahealth.com )

Pumpkin seed oil
Benefits: Loaded with anti-inflammatory vitamin E (1 tablespoon meets 41 percent of daily requirements), pumpkin seed oil can help shrink an enlarged prostate, according to new research. The antioxidants in vitamin E and in unsaturated fats also support heart health and protect the body from free radical damage, which causes aging and cancer.

Try It: Use as a replacement for olive oil in pesto; pumpkin seed oil makes for a richer, nuttier version. Or dress bitter greens with pumpkin seed oil and sea salt for a simple, zesty salad.

We Like: Rapunzel Organic Pumpkin Oil ($26.02 for 8.45 oz.; www.rapunzel.com )

Hempseed oil
Benefits: The ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s in hemp oil (about 4:1) matches the healthy ratio that our ancestors used to consume—b...

Author: Pamela Bond

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