I’m proud to say I just did my first oil change on my car in many, many years! It feels good – that old song, “I am Woman hear me roar…” is playing in my head. I was wondering if you, too, need an oil change. No, not on your car. What type of oil do you use at your house? Olive oil? Coconut oil? Canola? Vegetable?
Here are some quick facts that may help you decide which oil is best for you:
• Low Saturated Fat – The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 10% of our calories come from saturated fat. If you eat even moderate portions of meat, cheese, egg, and non-skim milk, chances are you’re getting plenty of saturated fat. Canola oil contains the least amount of saturated fat (7%) – half of what’s found in olive oil (15%). Coconut oil is 91% saturated!
• High Monounsaturated Fat – The AHA recommends upping your intake of healthful monounsaturated fats. Olive oil is comprised of 75% monounsaturated fats, while canola contains 61%.
• Healthful Omega 3 Fatty Acids – The oil with the most omega 3 fatty acids is flax seed oil at 57%. Canola oil contains 11%, soy oil contains 8% while olive oil is just 1%.
• High Smoke Point – Fat, especially the unsaturated fatty acids, can break down in heat. Not only can this negatively affect the taste of the oil, the breakdown caused by oxidation is thought to increase your risk of cancer. Canola’s (even the expeller press) smoke point is well over 400 degrees. Extra Virgin Olive oil has a smoke point of about 330 degrees – and since much cooking is done at 350 degrees, it’s best to use olive oil for dipping and drizzling (and maybe a VERY QUICK stirfry).
• Read the Label – A bottle of “Vegetable” oil simply means that the oil is from a vegetable source – you’d have to turn the bottle over to find out WHICH vegetable oil is used. Often it’s soy oil (or whatever is cheapest on the market at the time).
It’s for these reasons that I recommend skipping the “vegetable oil” completely. I buy olive oil for dipping and drizzling – when I want the flavor. Then, I use canola oil for baking, stir-frying, and even in my homemade salad dressings. Even though olive oil is just 15% saturated fat, it hardens up when the leftover salad dressing is placed in the refrigerator