Oil has become a swear word in the world of health. Many people believe all oils are harmful to your health and should be avoided. But this isn’t always the case. In fact, certain oils are actually beneficial to your health and beauty.
Before you toss out all your cooking oil, check out the differences between healthy oils and not-so-healthy oils.
What Separates Good Oils From Bad Ones?
To determine which oils you should avoid and which ones have positive attributes, it is essential to understand the differences. The biggest factor to consider when choosing an oil is the type of fat it contains.
Trans fats are by far the worst for your health. They increase disease risk, even when eaten in small quantities. Trans fat is mostly found in highly processed foods made with partially hydrogenated oil. You’ll likely find trans fats in big brain trail mixes, chips, and packaged cookies.
A number of plant-based oils are considered unhealthy because they contain saturated fats. Saturated fats raise blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, the “bad” cholesterol. Elevated low-density lipoprotein is associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
Unsaturated fats are considered the most healthy fat option. Monounsaturated fats have the greatest effect on reducing high blood cholesterol levels. Some studies show they actually increase high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats are also heart healthy because they reduce inflammation. Unsaturated fats are mostly found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish.
It is also crucial to avoid any oils that are processed in the wrong way. Many manufacturers of oil use toxic chemicals and bleaches that should not be consumed.
What Health Benefits Come From Good Oils?
When you consume the right oils, they can help your body function well in a number of areas.
Here are three of the best oils for your health:
- Olive Oil. Olive oil is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. As a result, it’s considered to help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. It’s also believed to lower blood pressure and decrease oxidative stress .
- Avocado Oil. Avocado oil contains oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid thought to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. It also contains lutein: a naturally-occurring antioxidant that prevents cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Flaxseed Oil. Flaxseed oil is chopped full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, a crucial component for all processes of the body. Studies have shown that flaxseed helps with prevention and management of Crohn’s Disease and heart disease. It can also help lower cholesterol, promote healthy skin, nails and hair, reduce menopause symptoms, and help with weight loss.
The Best Way To Enjoy Healthy Oils
Nutritionists recommend you consume about 1 tbsp healthy oil per day. To reap the benefits of these healthy fats, try these three suggestions:
- Swap out unhealthy oils (like corn, canola or butter) with healthier substitutes when cooking.
- Make your own salad dressing using olive oil as the base.
- Take flaxseed supplements to keep your hair shiny, nails thick, and skin glowing.
Want to supplement your diet with more heart-healthy, wholesome ingredients? Download our free Mediterranean Diet Guide and start eating healthier today!