What’s in my…Healthy Oil Collection?

You need healthy fats in your diet to help with digestion, elimination, cellular health and your heart. The right kind of healthy fats will make all the difference to your body, and your looks too. Adding healthy fats to your menu will give you clear, glowing skin, stronger hair and nails, and will even help you lose weight.

Sadly, there’s a lot of confusion out there, and some outdated ideas. Here are the healthy oils in my cupboard and fridge, and why.

1) Coconut Oil is high in saturated fat, but it actually elevates HDL levels (the good cholesterol) and reduces heart disease. It contains lauric acid, which has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties, making this oil ideal for not only cooking, but skin care too.

Coconut oil has a high smoking point, so I recommend it for high heat cooking, like stir frying. This oil is solid at room temperature, but quickly liquifies when heated. It can be safely used either way. In addition to cooking, I use this as a healthy fat in my morning smoothie, a conditioner for my hair,  moisturizer for my skin and even as a supplement for our dogs (they love it!). This is a must-have in my house for so many reasons; read more about that here.

2) Avocado Oil is high in vitamin E and unsaturated fats, and offers some anti-inflammatory benefits too. Use this in cooking as you would an olive oil, or for dips and dressings. Because of its rich nutrient profile, it also works well as a skin oil, helping to heal dryness, and as as a hair conditioner.

Beauty Tip: Try adding 10 drops of lavender essential oil to a half cup oil for a healthy hair masque prior to shampooing. Leave on for at least 20 minutes.

3) Toasted Sesame Oil can be used for dressings, sauces and dips, and it offers a rich, delicious flavor to drizzle onto stir-fry and salads. Sesame contains magnesium and calcium, as well as high levels of antioxidants and Vitamin E. A little bit goes a long way.

4) Hemp Oil is from the hemp seed, and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) Its flavor is slightly nutty, and a good choice for dressings when a lighter flavor is required. I keep this on hand for it’s healthy benefits, and for when EVOO is too strong a flavor.

5) Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is a staple in my home, and I’ll bet in yours, as well. The centerpiece of the Mediterranean Diet, EVOO contains monounsaturated fatty acids,  lowering cholesterol and providing heart benefits. Extra Virgin refers to the first cold pressing of the olives, creating a pure, delicious oil. Use this for dressings, sauces, and low heat cooking.

Not Shown:

6) Walnut Oil contains a variety of minerals, including zinc, selenium, magnesium, copper, potassium and phosphorous. This oil also contains healthy amounts of vitamins C and E, both of which have antioxidant properties. This oil is best used uncooked in dressings and dips, and brings a nutty, rich flavor to whatever you’re making.

7) Grapeseed Oil has a high smoke point, so it might make sense to have this oil on hand when a lightly flavored oil is called for in stir fry or high heat saute. It’s also a good choice for light flavored salad dressings, when you don’t want the dressing to taste too rich. It’s my top choice for this Quinoa and Bean Salad. However, grapeseed oil is high in omega 6 fatty acids, so you won’t want to use this every day. I prefer it for occasional use only.

8) Flaxseed Oil contains alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, a fatty acid that the body converts into the omega-3s EPA and DHA. It also contains omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, lecithin, magnesium, fiber, protein and zinc. Flaxseed oil has a low heat point, so it’s not meant for cooking. Instead, try this for salad dressings, or to drizzle over steamed vegetables with a squirt of lemon.  Its nutty taste is delicious with lemon over fresh greens. Be sure to store flaxseed oil in the fridge at all times, its delicate nature can easily turn rancid.

While you’re at it, store all of your oils there too. The only one that I leave out is the EVOO, because we use so much of it, I’m confident that it won’t go rancid. If you don’t have room in your fridge, keep oils in the cupboard and out of light, preferably in dark glass bottles. Avoid buying oil in any type of plastic container, even BPA free plastics contains chemicals that can leach into your oil.

Now, you tell me. What’s your favorite oil and why? Share with us, below.