Healthy Cooking Oils Washington DC
Adams Morgan, DC
Union Row, DC
Health Matters�Ode to Oils
By Lisa Turner
You know by now which oils are the healthiest choices. But did you know that each of these has a slightly different use? For example, while canola oil and olive oil are both healthy cooking oils, canola oil has a higher smoke point—the temperature at which heated oils begin to emit smoke and impart an acrid flavor and aroma to foods—than olive oil, so it’s best used for frying; olive oil has a lower smoke point, so it’s best used for dressings, or added after cooking. In general, refined oils have a higher smoke point. Unrefined oils retain all of their natural flavor, color, and aroma.
FLAVOR AND COLOR: Ranges from pale yellow with a mild flavor to deep greenish-gold with an intense olive fragrance and taste
USES: Use for sautéing at medium heat; don’t use for frying or high-heat cooking. Use “extra virgin” grades for sauces and salad dressings, and as finishing oils.
HEALTH BENEFITS: High in monounsaturated fats; can lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels while raising beneficial HDL levels.
FLAVOR AND COLOR: Mild, neutral flavor and pale color
USES: Use for sautéing and baking; for frying, use high-oleic varieties, which have the highest smoke point. Not ideal for salad dressings or sauces.
HEALTH BENEFITS: High in monounsaturated fats and rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that may reduce the risk of heart disease.
FLAVOR AND COLOR: Full, slightly nutty flavor; white when refrigerated, clear at room temperature
USES: Use for sautéing, making sauces, and replacing butter in baking; don’t use for frying or high-heat cooking
HEALTH BENEFITS: Although it’s high in saturated fats, coconut oil may reduce total and harmful LDL cholesterol levels, while increasing beneficial HDL levels.
OIL: Red palm
FLAVOR AND COLOR:Orange-red in color with a rich, distinctive flavor
USES:Use for high-heat sautéing and frying, and as “shortening” in baking. Not the best oil for dressings or sauces.
HEALTH BENEFITS:High in antioxidant carotenoids and tocopherols, red palm oil may lower total cholesterol while increasing HDL levels.
FLAVOR AND COLOR:Nutty and rich with a slightly bittersweet finish
USES: Use in salad dressings, in baked goods and sauces, and as a finishing oil; not for high-heat cooking and frying
HEALTH BENEFITS: High in polyunsaturated fats and ALA, walnut oil has a heart-protective effect.
Author: Lisa Turner
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