Due to the increasing availability of oils that the food industry offers us, it is common to have doubts about which ones are healthier and how we can use them. Next, we will highlight 3 of the healthiest oils, their properties and uses in the kitchen.
The best oil that we can use both for cooking and for use raw is extra virgin olive oil . Second, we could use a high oleic sunflower oil as it is more resistant to heat than refined sunflower oil.
Last but not least, virgin coconut oil is another option to include in our kitchen since its stability at high temperatures is similar to that of olive oil and its peculiar flavor can inspire us in the preparation of more exotic dishes. .
Extra virgin olive oil
The olive oil is the most common, sustainable and healthy oil that we find at the supermarket.
- High content of omega 9 oleic acid : a monounsaturated fat that exerts benefits on our lipid profile (reduces the oxidation of LDL particles and total cholesterol) and improves our cardiovascular health in general.
- High oxidative stability : it resists high temperatures as it oxidizes less than other oils . However, only if the olive oil is extra virgin (cold pressed) since this guarantees a greater amount of antioxidant polyphenols and vitamin E that prevent its oxidation at high temperatures up to its critical point of 210 ° C. ). For all these reasons, olive oil, together with cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, is the best choice for cooking food . In addition, we can reuse it in frying up to two or three times and, of course, to use raw.
As it is an oil produced mainly in our country , its distribution has a lower polluting effect than other oils imported from other countries and, therefore, it is a more sustainable and economical product if purchased in Spain.
It is the most used oil in Spain after olive oil.
- High percentage of omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid). If we consume a high proportion of these fats, they can accumulate in the LDL particles that carry cholesterol, contributing to their oxidation and exerting atherogenic effects associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease .
- Oxidative stability: it is much lower than that of olive oil, so it is less stable at high temperatures and less recommended for frying and cooking . In addition, its cooking at temperatures greater than 160 ° C can produce aldehydes , toxic compounds related to an increased risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. However, there is a variety called high oleic sunflower oil that contains a high proportion of omega 9 monounsaturated fatty acid that is more resistant to heat than refined sunflower oil.
As for its flavor , it is much milder than that of olive oil , therefore, it is used to make mayonnaise or homemade pastries (cakes, muffins, etc.).
Virgin coconut oil
This oil is characterized by having a solid texture at room temperature and begins to melt after 30ºC. Contrary to popular belief, coconut oil is healthy as long as it is virgin and cold-pressed:
- High percentage of saturated fatty acids (around 90%) and a small proportion of unsaturated fats . In fact, its high percentage of saturated fat is not harmful to health because its composition (lauric acid, capric, caprylic) and polyphenols exert an increase in HDL ( “good”) and prevent oxidation of the LDL cholesterol , also of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and thermogenic action (it slightly stimulates the basal metabolism).
- Due to its high content of saturated fats , being more stable to heat, it has a melting point of 182ºC, so its use for cooking and frying is more recommended than sunflower oil.
- It is obtained by pressing (cold or hot) of the fresh and ripe pulp of the coconut by mechanical or natural means, so its flavor is sweet and similar to that of this fruit. Its applications in the kitchen are very versatile since it can be used as a base for soups or sauces, to prepare curries or stews, to dress vegetable, fish or meat dishes or even in the preparation of desserts.
It is important to keep in mind that it is an oil that does not come from Spain so its purchase is less sustainable than olive or sunflower oil.
However, if we want to use it on some occasion, the best choice is cold-pressed virgin coconut oil since refined coconut oils or those used in the production of ultra- processed products (hydrogenated coconut oil) have a very high composition. different and do not exercise any benefit to our health.
What you should know…
- It must be borne in mind that the best oil that we can use both for cooking and for raw use is extra virgin olive oil.
- As a second option, we could use a high oleic sunflower oil as it is more resistant to heat than refined sunflower oil.
- As for coconut oil, virgin is another option no less advisable to use in the kitchen since its stability at high temperatures is similar to that of olive oil, and its flavor can give an exotic touch to our dishes.