Not all fats are the same, make sure you know and understand your fats and how to include them in a healthy diet. Heating and cooking with fats also changes their chemical structure, so make sure you understand how to use different fats to maximise their health benfits.
When you heat an oil it can potentially change its structure especially if you heat to its smoke point. By doing this you could damage the nutrient properties of the oil, including vitamin E and it’s phytonutrient content. Heating oils can also lead to the formation of free radicals, these are highly reactive molecules which can cause oxidative reactions in the body and have been linked to cancer and heart disease. Ideally try to avoid heating oil by cooking without and then adding the oil afterwards. To find out how see Fitter Chef says “Cook it healthy”
Manufacturers continually refine oils to increase the smoke point. And for this reason some of the more refined oils may actually be a better option when it comes to cooking. Did you know most Italians actually cook with either refined olive oil or safflower oil and save the extra virgin olive for dressing and dipping focaccia in!
When it comes to cooking most people now opt for olive oil. Whilst olive oil contains healthful monounsaturated fats, once heated many of the antioxidants are lost and it has the potential to cause oxidative damage to the body. The more unsaturated an oil is the more susceptible it becomes to damage, therefore polyunsaturated oil are most likely to damage and therefore the worse to use for cooking
So what do I cook with?
When cooking at high temperatures saturated oils are a much better choice; grass fed butter (or ghee) and coconut oil are increasingly becoming the preferred oil to use in cooking. If you don’t like the taste of either then avocado oil or macademia oil are another option, avocado is 70% is monounsaturated fat and has a high smoke point. If you wish to stick with sunflower or safflower oil then choose one with a high oleic content so it is less susceptible to damage.
Add Fat & Serve 🙂
Remember you can then add fats to meals once cooked to make sure they remain a healthy part of your daily diet.
Have your cake and eat it!
Including good oils like coconut oil and flaxseed oil in baked goods means they do not lose their healthy properties as the moisture in the mixture keeps the cake cooler. What a great excuse for a brew and slab of cake. Check out our coconut cake recipe.