Fat is essential to our well-being and is one of the three macronutrients needed by our body and our control center, the brain.
The fats from whole foods provide a balance of omega essential fatty acids such as 3, 6 and 9. When we cook with oil, we are using a food fragment that may disrupt that balance which our unique systems require. What is a good ratio of omega 3, 6 and 9? No one knows for sure but a disproportionately high level of omega 6 could lead to inflammation. Omega 3 and 9 naturally occur in lower amounts in the human diet.
What to cook with?
Try Healthy Sautée
If you are sautéing vegetables, use a homemade bone broth, vegetable broth or water. When slightly cooled and drained, add olive oil. Olive oil has a lower smoke point and should not be used for sustained high heat cooking. It also has a “better” ratio of omegas compared to some other oils. Olive oil and Flax oils are ideal for dressings and uncooked sauces.
If you roast veggies in the oven over 350 degrees, a higher smoke point oil is recommended. Safflower, Sunflower, Grapeseed, Avocado and Walnut oil are examples. Each of these oils must be considered individually because they may have an exorbitant amount of omega 6. If you never or scarcely eat high omega 3 foods, such as fish or nuts, you may want to limit the use of these oils.
Consult your health care team to discover if fish oil supplementation is an option for you. Contact me for help with brands of fish oil.
Cooking Oil For Your Kitchen
Before shopping for and cooking with an oil, reflect on these points:
1) How was it made? Was it cold pressed or chemically extracted? What seed or plant was the oil derived from? Is that seed or plant controversial? GMOs, uncertain process or areas of growth can make it questionable.
2) What is the smoke point? Cooking with an oil above the smoke point releases free radicals and results in distaste.
3) What is the omega 3, 6, 9 ratio?
This requires research. In general, with some exceptions, the high smoke point oils tend to be quite high in omega 6. No wonder a healthy broth sautée with oil added after cooking is a fabulous idea.
4) Some oils have unique health properties such as coconut oil. Science has linked it to cognitive improvement. Olive oil has data supporting heart health among longevity and youthful skin. Flax oil, a non-cooking oil has a favorable ratio of omega 3 to 6 and is considered one of the best sources of essential fat.
5) Is your practitioner concerned about saturated fat in your diet? If you are a paleo eater with frequent beef, pork and dairy dishes, you would pay attention to the saturated fat in your cooking. Butter, lard and coconut oil are made of saturated fat molecules. In excess, they could create instability in blood vessels.
Next time you see a recipe, you may want to modify the oil or the way you cook certain ingredients.
Contact me if you have a particular oil question or need help with research.