Cally Smith, FNP
Cooking with the right oils is important to your health. They are in everything, from salad dressings to marinades. They are also used to grill, fry, sear, and sautée proteins and vegetables. Using healthy cooking oils can play an important role in your weight loss program.
An important factor of a healthy cooking oil is its smoke point. A smoke point is the temperature at which the oil stops glistening and starts to send out smoke signals. When oil is heated past its smoke point, it starts break down which releases free radicals.
Tip: Exposure to heat, light, and air can deteriorate the quality of oils which decreases their smoke points. All oils should be kept away from the heat and sun in a cool, dark, dry place like a cupboard. Store them in closed containers to keep out air.
Free radicals are made naturally by the body. They are imbalanced molecules that are produced as a byproduct of metabolism or by exposure to toxins in the environment. For example, oil past its smoking point, tobacco smoke, or ultraviolet light. Free radicals only exist for a short period of time, but are highly reactive and can damage DNA. This can sometimes result in mutations that can lead to cancer. By choosing an oil with a higher smoke point, free radicals are less likely to be produced.
Choosing Your Oil
It is important to choose the right kind of oil according to what you’re cooking. Consider oils with high smoke points for high-temperature cooking such as frying. The healthiest option is avocado oil but canola, corn, and peanut oil can also be used. Be sure to use unrefined cold-processed vegetable oils whenever possible. Choosing the right kind of oil is key to succeeding in not only your weight loss program but your overall health.
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