the huge variety of oils at the store have always put me on overload. which ones are the best? why? what are they all for? well i decided to put my research hat on and find out a little bit more about them. here is a quick overview of the best oils, and some resources to boot. which oils are your favorite?
extra virgin olive oil
this one is the big winner, woohoo! that's good, because this is the one i use the most. evoo is a less processed and (therefore) more flavorful oil than other oils and wins for best oil because of it's monounsaturated (that's the good one) fats and plant compounds that protect against heart disease and cancer. lucky for us, it also tastes oh-so-good.
i've started to incorporate this one more and more into our diet (mainly because of this amazing recipe) and i have to say, it adds a powerfully yummy taste to many dishes. it is derived from toasted sesame seeds and may help to lower blood pressure. it'a also great in asian inspired dishes.
since we don't eat fish, flax oil is a big component of how we get our heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids in each day. these essential fatty acids protect against bone loss and reduce inflammation in people with arthritis. heating flaxseed oil will destroy it's nutrients, so keep this one in the fridge and use on salads or in smoothies. (hint: we also add about 1 tbs to toaster's food each day! it keeps his coat shiny and skin extra healthy.)
i haven't used this oil very much, but i know one thing, i do love walnuts! walnut oil contains a specific antioxidant that helps prevent cancers (say no more!). it turns bitter when heated, so this is another one to keep in your fridge and drizzle over salads or pastas.
this nutty tasting oil contains resveratrol (the same antioxidant found in red wine) which helps to prevent blood clots. it can take extremely high temperatures, so this one is best for pan frying.
you got it, this one is made from sunflower seeds! it has a light taste and contains vitamin e, which reduces your risk for heart attack.
did you know?
it's best to store your healthy oils in a dark, dry cabinet away from heat or sunlight (preferably, in the fridge). nut based oils such as walnut, flaxseed and sesame need must be refrigerated as they can turn rancid at room temperature.
for a more in depth look at oils, read this great article on cooking oils.