A list of healthful oils for cooking and eating – LA Times

A list of healthful oils for cooking and eating - LA Times

Evaluating the healthfulness of a particular type of fat is a matter of comparison. Though butter is better than margarine and other trans fats, vegetable oils with a blend of polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, are even better. These can be used to replace saturated fats in the diet:

Extra-virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil. Extra-virgin refers to oil produced from the first cold pressing of olives — a process that maintains the best flavor and highest levels of nutrients. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has long been associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease. Extra-virgin refers to oil produced from the first cold pressing of olives — a process that maintains the best flavor and highest levels of nutrients. Olive oil is rich in omega-9 fatty acids, which decrease levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood, as well as phenols, which reduce inflammation and may help metabolic conditions.

Click through for a pretty comprehensive list of other cooking oils… via A list of healthful oils for cooking and eating – LA Times.

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The Best Olive Oils Made in the U.S. – WSJ.com

MEDITERRANEAN OLIVE OILS have long been held up as the gold standard, but there are a number of good reasons to look closer to home when sourcing bottles for your kitchen. According to studies out of the University of California, Davis, for instance, nearly two-thirds of Mediterranean olive oils labeled extra-virgin—meaning extracted mechanically (without the use of heat or chemicals) solely from the fruit of the olive tree, and meeting a variety of chemical standards, including no more than 0.8 percent free fatty acidity (FFA), which is a marker of decomposition—aren\’t actually extra-virgin at all.

Though it is, of course, possible to find European oils from reliable and ethical producers, it is also worth trying the many flavorful, utterly pure olive oils made right here in the U.S. Producers across the country, from Florida to Oregon to Hawaii, are growing and pressing olives, and many are putting labels on their bottles that clearly state date and location of harvest. Even better, many American olive oils taste fantastic. Domestic bottles are increasingly winning awards at international competitions. They are also typically fresher than imported oils, and therefore frequently boast brighter, more complex flavors. At right, a few standouts.

—Georgia Freedman

The Workhorse

The most affordable high-quality domestic oil on the market is Trader Joe\’s Extra Virgin California Estate Olive Oil. Pressed from olives harvested in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the oil has a nuanced flavor with a slight grassiness and a subtle peppery finish. Flavorful enough to use as a dipping oil with a bit of vinegar and salt, it\’s also suitable for everyday sautéing, frying or any other high-heat preparation where a bolder oil would lose its flavor. $6 for 500 ml, at Trader Joe\’s stores

The Lonestar Star

Texas, America\’s second-largest producer of olive oil after California, has an ideal climate for growing varieties like Arbequina, a Spanish olive, and Mission, a California native. Texas Hill Country Olive Company uses a mixture of these two varieties to create their award-winning Miller\’s Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which has a distinctly olive-y flavor that will remind you that, yes, the oil is in fact extracted from the olive tree\’s fruit. Reminiscent of cured black olives, this oil makes a robust dressing for anything you might bolster with whole olives, from simple pastas to broiled fish and Niçoise salad. $26 for 500 ml, texashillcountryoliveco.com

The Pioneer

Forty years ago, the Durant family helped found Oregon\’s wine industry in the Willamette Valley. Now Paul Durant is bringing olive oil to the region. After a few seasons of experimenting to see which varieties do best in the colder climate and what agricultural practices help produce the best fruit, Mr. Durant has begun to focus on Tuscan varieties like Frantoio, Leccino and Pendolino. His Oregon Olive Mill Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a robust, grassy, spicy and slightly bitter flavor that works well in hearty dishes like roasted vegetables or grilled steak, where it can be a nuanced alternative to black pepper. $19 for 375 ml,

More listed on the article…

via The Best Olive Oils Made in the U.S. – WSJ.com.

Article: Is Your Olive Oil As Healthy As You Think? (Op-Ed)

Katherine Tallmadge, R.D.
Date: 06 July 2013 Time: 11:11 AM ET

The expensive olive oil in your kitchen cabinet is likely not as fresh, nutritious or high in quality as you assume it might be. Does that mean you won’t receive the expected health benefits when using olive oil purchased from America’s grocery shelves? Possibly.

This issue first came to my attention at a Mediterranean Diet Conference I attended in Florence, Italy, co-sponsored by New York University’s Department of Dietetics and the James Beard Foundation.

You feel good about using olive oil, right? You know it’s good for you, tasty and easy to use. Still, to get the most benefits — and the best bang for your buck — there’s more you should know. [4 Tips for Finding Time for Healthy Cooking]

“The health benefits of olive oil are 99 percent related to the presence of the phenolic compounds, not the oil itself,” said Nasir Malik, research plant physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Agricultural Research Service.

Malik is referring to the polyphenols in olive oil, nutrients also found in wine, tea, cocoa and many fruits and vegetables that have been discovered over the past decade to be the substances responsible for the bulk of olive oil’s health benefits, without which “you might as well use canola oil,” Malik said.

And when tested, polyphenols were surprisingly low in most commercially available olive oils, according to a recently published study conducted by the Agricultural Research Service, co-authored by Malik.

They also don’t live up to international or USDA quality standards, according to studies conducted by the University of California at Davis (UC-Davis) Olive Center.

The good stuff

Polyphenols decrease heart disease risk factors by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing blood clotting and improving the health of artery linings.

Researchers have discovered genes that, when activated, either increase or reduce your chances for metabolic syndrome, the name for a group of risk factors (high blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose) that together increase the risk for heart disease, America’s No. 1 killer.

Fresh, high-polyphenol olive oil affects the expression of those genes in a positive way, reducing your risk for metabolic syndrome and heart disease. But, low-polyphenol olive oil does not have the same effects,a recent study found.

Polyphenols also reduce cancer risk by lowering inflammation and cellular proliferation. They act as antioxidants, reducing oxidation and cell damage, which leads to many degenerative diseases. They even reduce microbial activity and infections.

Those biological benefits explain, in part, why the Mediterranean diet, high in olive oil, has been linked with superior health. But there is an advantage even the poorest of the poor in Mediterranean countries have enjoyed since at least 4000 B.C.: freshly harvested olive oil. That’s because olives were growing on trees in people’s backyards; it was plentiful and cheap. But its freshness had been taken for granted. [The Origins of the Olive Tree Revealed]

olives
Waning quality

Studies show that as days, weeks and months go by after harvest, the polyphenol content and health benefits of the oil diminish.

“Think of olive oil as olive juice with a maximum two-year shelf life,” said Selina Wang, research director at the UC-Davis Olive Center.

Several factors are responsible for the polyphenol content of olive oil, according to the experts:

  • Harvesting method: Rougher treatment and exposure to the elements reduces polyphenols.
  • The age of the trees: Older trees contain significantly higher polyphenol content.
  • Olive maturation: Green olives contain more polyphenols than ripe olives, though it’s easier to extract more oil from riper olives.
  • Processing: The less processing, the better. “Extra virgin” olive oil, which is cold-pressed only once, has the highest polyphenol levels. Two presses (“virgin” olive oil), reduces polyphenol content further, and oil with three extractions contains only about half the value of “virgin” olive oil. Highly refined or “light” olive oils, which use heat or chemicals in the refining process, have significantly lower polyphenol levels.
  • Storage: Any exposure of the harvested olives or the oil to heat, light or air will reduce polyphenol content. (If you’re using extreme heat in cooking, you’ll most likely lose the polyphenols anyway, so you might as well use canola oil, which contains more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.) [5 ‘Health Foods’ You Should Avoid (Op-Ed)]

The quest

Marcia Horting and her husband, Marc Marzullo, who visit Italy regularly, are on a constantquest for great olive oil. “We look for oils produced by single vineyards, co-ops in small towns like Volpaia, or high-quality Tuscan producers that are grassy and spicy,” said Horting, a consultant in Gaithersburg, Md. She has noticed that in the bigger stores in Paris and Rome serving tourists, “older olive oils are sold at the same prices as the more recent harvest.”

Luckily, you no longer have to travel to Italy for high-quality extra virgin olive oils, as they are now being produced in the United States. They’re more likely to be fresh — and with a price you can afford. California is the leader of the olive oil-producing states, but Texas, Oregon, Arizona and Georgia are producing a small amount.

It’s tricky to know if the olive oil you’re buying is high-quality, fresh extra virgin olive oil. In most U.S. stores, I have found olive oil with harvest dates on perhaps one out of 20 bottles. Some have “sell-by” dates, which are usually two years after harvest (already too old!), though there are no standards for a sell-by date, so there is no guarantee how old your olive oil isunless there is a harvest date. Olives are harvested once annually, usually in the fall/winter, depending on the region.Look for a harvest date within the past year.

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Olive oil aroma could help boost feelings of fullness: Study

By Nathan Gray+

18-Mar-2013

Foods produced with olive oil or olive oil aromas in place of other oils or fats could help consumers feel fuller for longer, according to new research.

The findings come after scientists from Germany and Austria compared the effects of four different edible oils on feelings of satiety.

Led by Professor Peter Schieberle from the Technische Universität München (TUM), Germany, and Professor Veronika Somoza from the University of Vienna, Austria, the team gave study participants a low fat yoghurt that had been enriched with either lard, butterfat, rapeseed oil or olive oil.

“Olive oil had the biggest satiety effect,” said Schieberle. “The olive oil group showed a higher concentration of the satiety hormone serotonin in their blood.”

“Subjectively speaking, these participants also reported that they found the olive oil yoghurt very filling,” he said.

Schieberle commented that the findings “surprised us”, because both rapeseed oil and olive oil contain similar fatty acids.

In a further extension of the study, the team found that it is in fact the aroma compounds found in olive oil that help to increase satiety, and not the oil itself.

Study details

Schieberle and his colleagues gave consumers the yoghurt containing one of the  four fats as a supplement to their normal diet for a period of three months. In this time, participants consumed 500 grams of the enriched yoghurt every day.

During the study period, no member of this group recorded an increase in their body fat percentage or their weight.

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However it was found that those consuming the olive oil product had increased levels of satiety hormones and lower reported feelings of hunger.

A matter of smell?

To try and explain these findings, the team turned their attention to the aroma compounds found in olive oil – by performing a follow up study where one group was given yoghurt with olive oil aroma extracts and a control group was given plain yoghurt.

The results were conclusive: The aroma extract group’s caloric intake remained the same, while the control group consumed an extra 176 kilocalories per day.

“The aroma group adapted their eating habits – but the control group participants were obviously not able to do likewise,” said  Schieberle.

“We also found that in comparison to the other group, the control group had less of the satiety hormone serotonin in their blood.”

“Our findings show that aroma is capable of regulating satiety,” he concluded.

“We hope that this work will pave the way for the development of more effective reduced-fat food products that are nonetheless satiating.”

via Olive oil aroma could help boost feelings of fullness: Study.

Great article on good cooking oils…

4 Alternative Cooking Oils That Belong in Every Kitchen

It’s easier than you think for unhealthy trans fats to sneak into your menu, which is why these good fats are essential for healthier cooking

BY EMILY MAIN, RODALE.COM

Past research has shown that women with heart disease are particularly susceptible to sudden cardiac death if they regularly consume trans fats in food. And a recent study just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate the most trans fats had a 51 percent higher risk of ovarian cancer than women who ate the lowest amounts.

Given all the bad press trans fats received a few years ago, you might have thought they were as out-of-vogue as smoking lounges or lead paint. However, “they’re definitely a big problem that people need to look out for,” says Trevor Holly Cates, ND, a naturopathic physician with a practice in the Golden Door Spa at the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah, and a board member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. She pegs the problem to our love of processed foods, which rely on partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (the number one source of trans fats) because they’re cheap and last so long. The problem of processed foods become exacerbated by the fact that the Food and Drug Administration legally allows manufacturers to say that a serving contains zero trans fats if the actual amount of trans fat doesn’t exceed 0.5 grams. That’s a quarter of what the American Heart Association recommends most Americans eat per day. So a lot of people are eating trans fats without realizing it, or while thinking that they’re eating trans-fat-free foods.

“Stay away from processed foods,” Cates says. “The more we process foods and alter them from what’s found in nature, the more problems we create.” Cates also argues that, when it comes to home cooking, we shouldn’t be replacing margarine and partially hydrogenated oils with regular vegetable oils, either. “Vegetable oils are made quickly and cheaply, and with the processing, it does change them so they’re not as beneficial,” she says. For instance, the heat and harsh chemicals used to extract oil from vegetables can destroy some of the vitamins and antioxidants that should make vegetable oils healthy. Plus, research has shown that overheating vegetable oils releases lung-damaging and potentially cancer-causing particulates into your kitchen.

Instead, Cates recommends you use healthier, less-processed cooking oils that can withstand high heats and have long shelf lives naturally. “A lot of oils are delicate and they oxidize quickly,” she says, either when heated to high temperatures or after they go rancid. “It’s important for people to know when that happens, because when an oil goes rancid, it can be more harmful than good.” The oxidation process creates alterations at the cellular level that can promote cancerous cell growth, she says.

“The foods you eat should be feeding you and providing nutrients,” she says. So if you want to get the most benefits from your cooking oils, rather than replace your harmful trans-fat oils with other potentially harmful vegetable oils, try one of these good fats instead:

#1: Grapeseed oil. Cates’ favorite cooking oil is grapeseed oil, an oil that probably isn’t familiar to most people. It’s popular in France and, Cates says, is great for sautéing, stir-frying, and other high-temperature cooking methods. “With other oils, high temperatures cause them to change molecular structure and oxidize,” she says. In addition, she says, grapeseed oil has been found to improve heart health: Animal studies have shown that rats fed grapeseed oil have lower levels of cholesterol than rats fed lard or soybean oil. Also, it’s high in protein and fiber. It has a light flavor, so it works well when you need a neutral-tasting oil to cook with.

#2: Coconut oil. Coconut oil has gotten a bad reputation because it’s has so much saturated fat, as much as 92 percent. “But there are a lot of health benefits that go beyond just what kind of fat it is,” Cates says. For instance, coconut oil is high in lauric acid, a nutrient our bodies need to help our immune systems. One of the only other major dietary sources for lauric acid is breast milk. “But I’d only use a teaspoon,” she cautions. That way you get the health benefits without overdoing the fat. Coconut oil comes in a variety of forms, so you want to be sure you get the right kind. Extra-virgin centrifuged coconut oil has a light coconutty flavor, making it good for baking (if you want a little extra flavor in your cookies or cakes), whereas expeller-pressed coconut oil has no flavor at all and is a good substitute for butter or shortening. You can buy certified-organic coconut oil online from Wilderness Family Naturals.

#3: Ghee. “If people are trying to choose between a hydrogenated oil and butter, definitely go for butter,” Cates says. “We would be better off if we got back to using butter and less of these refined oils.” Ghee is essentially clarified butter, made by melting down butter until all the water evaporates and just the butter solids are left. The process concentrates the conjugated linoleic acid, a healthy cancer-fighter, found in butter. “When you clarify butter like that, it does seem to handle a higher temperature, as well,” Cates says, i.e. it becomes more stable and won’t oxidize when heated. The key to good ghee is making sure it’s organic. “When you’re talking about fats and dairy products, all the environmental toxins concentrate in the fat,” she says. Ghee, however, like coconut oil, is high in saturated fat, so use just a teaspoon when cooking. You can find organic, grass-fed ghee through Pure Indian Foods.

#4: Olive oil. There’s seemingly no end to the health benefits of olive oil. It’s good for your heart, high in healthy monounsaturated fats, and it just tastes good. But the healthiest high-quality, extra-virgin olive oils don’t handle heat well, so Cates recommends reserving them for salad dressings. Lower-quality refined olive oils that can withstand high heats (sometimes labeled “pure” or “extra light”) have been heavily processed using heat and chemicals, and contain as much as three times less of the polyphenols and antioxidants that make extra-virgin olive oil so healthy.

7 Foods That Help Protect Your Skin from Harmful UV Rays

Before you soak up some sun now through Labor Day, maybe try munching on a few from the article below!

You know that a lot of foods are really good for you, but did you know that several actually have properties that can help protect your skin from the sun? Considering the intense rays many of us are exposed to this summer, everything helps, right?

Here’s a little more about how this works, and what foods to add to your diet for a little extra skin protection.

Science Indicates Foods Can be Skin Protective

According to the University of Maryland Medical System, eating certain foods can help protect against skin cancer. Though we don’t yet have scientific tests that have measured and compared various foods and their ability to protect the skin, research has shown that antioxidants may offer protection.

A study published in 2010 also came to similar conclusions, though it added that food nutrients can protect not only against skin cancer, but photo-oxidative damage that leads to skin aging. Scientists noted in the study that antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, in addition to essential fatty acids, have demonstrated protective properties. They added that the presence of these nutrients in the traditional Greek-style Mediterranean diet may have contributed to the low levels of melanoma there, despite the population’s exposure to high levels of solar radiation.

“The increasing incidence of skin cancer despite the use of externally applied sun protection strategies,” said Niva Shapira, lead author, “alongside research showing that nutrients reduce photo-oxidative damage, suggest nutritional approaches could play a beneficial role in skin cancer prevention.”

Some of the Best Choices

Though many foods may offer sun protection, below are a few of those with the most promise so far, though we’re always finding out about new super foods.

1. Apples. Surprised? A Japanese study actually found that apple polyphenol extracts, particularly flavonids called “procyanidins,” inhibit skin cancer in mice. Another polyphenol, quercetin, protected DNA from human skin cancer cells.

2. Green Tea. Yes, it’s a beverage, but it’s got powerful antioxidants. The University of Maryland Medical Center says it contains polyphenols, potent antioxidants that have shown in studies to help prevent skin tumors from starting or growing.

3. Dark Chocolate. Another reason to indulge now and then, dark chocolate has powerful antioxidants that may help protect from sunburn.

4 and 5. Olive Oil and Tomato Paste. Did you need another reason for using these health-filled goodies, often critical in flavorful pasta sauces? Here it is. German studies found that those subjects consuming about 2 teaspoons of olive oil and about ¼ cup of tomato paste daily for 10 weeks experienced 35 percent less reddening when exposed to sunlamps than those who didn’t eat these items. In addition, research from the University of Michigan found that lycopene and other antioxidants in tomatoes can help prevent the skin from becoming sunburned.

6. Broccoli. Research from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine exposed areas of volunteers’ skin to intense ultraviolet light one to three days after applying a broccoli-sprout extract to the same area. The extract was all but rubbed away by the time of the exposure, but those areas had, on average, 37 percent less redness and inflammation. Simultaneous animal studies showed that mice treated with the extract had significantly fewer and smaller skin tumors after exposure to UV rays. Scientists say that broccoli turns on the body’s natural cancer-fighting machinery, and once turned on, it works for days. The lead researcher of the study recommended eating one-half cup of broccoli each day to protect against skin cancer.

7. Green, Leafy Vegetables. This includes kale, spinach, and chard. According to an Australian study, these could decrease skin cancer risk. Scientists studied over 1,000 adults living in Australia over an 11-year period, and found that increasing intakes of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 41 percent decreased risk of skin cancer. These vegetables are rich in folic acid, which plays a key role in DNA synthesis and repair. In addition, researchers also examined those participants that previously had skin cancer, and found that those who did had a 55 percent decrease in skin cancer with increasing intakes of green leafy vegetables. “Our findings show that higher intakes of green leafy vegetables may help prevent Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) tumors among people who have prior skin cancers,” the researchers stated.

via 7 Foods That Help Protect Your Skin from Harmful UV Rays / Cinco Vidas.

The Top 10 Best Cooking Oils …

We were talking about cooking oils and which ones are best before. I was just eyeing up some almond oil I bought and thought – hey … Can I cook with this? Some googling later and I found this. I think it’s a great list because instead of just saying “____ has a low smoking point”, it actually tells you the temperature that happens so you can work with it.

If you like to be a chef every once and a while, you may be confused about what cooking oils to use. (Especially, if you are on a diet). With so many skeptics and critics analyzing this oil and that, one of our leading dietitians, Christy, and one of our chefs, Chef Krishna, are telling you which oils to use while you cook and which ones to avoid completely.

10. Grapeseed Oil

Christy: “This oil contains polyunsaturated fats, and is low in saturated fat, making it very heart healthy.”

Chef K: “Grapeseed oil is very versatile, and can be used to add a very mild, nutty flavor to almost any dish. It’s great for salads, and can make for a nice drizzle over toasted bread.”

9. Sunflower Oil

Christy: “Sunflower oil is also heart healthy, and contains polyunsaturated fats and is low in saturated fats. It’s definitely a good ‘all purpose’ oil.”

Chef K: “Sunflower oil has a high smoke point of about 460 degrees F. This oil is great for high-heat cooking like sautéing. It’s actually great for sautéing vegetables.”

8. Safflower Oil

Christy: “Also low in saturated fat, using safflower oil to cook with can help lower your cholesterol. A lower cholesterol also means a reduced risk of cardiovascular and heart diseases.”

Chef K: “Safflower oil also has a high smoke point of about 450 degrees F. This makes it good for high-heat cooking, like sautéing or frying. It has such a distinct flavor and it’s great for cooking foods like chicken and pasta.”

7. Avocado Oil

Christy: “Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fats, and vitamin E. It’s a great oil to use if you are on a diet, or if you are diabetic. In certain studies, monounsaturated fats have been shown to help control insulin levels and blood sugar.”

Chef K: “Avocado oil also has a high smoke point of about 510 degrees F. This makes it a good oil for high heat cooking, like sautéing and frying. It’s great in salads, and can be used to add a little extra flavor to chicken, beef, pork or fish.”

6. Peanut Oil

Christy: “Peanut oil also contains monounsaturated fats, and is low in saturated fat, making it a heart healthy option.”

Chef K: “Peanut oil has a medium smoke point of about 350 degrees F. This is a good oil for light sautéing and frying. It’s great to use in Thai and Asian recipes, and is a great addition to sauces and salad dressings.”

5. Almond Oil

Christy: “Almond oil also contains monounsaturated fats, which makes it good for your cholesterol. It’s also an ideal cooking choice if you are diabetic.”

Chef K: “Almond oil has a high smoke point of about 495 degrees F, and is good for high heat cooking, like sautéing. It’s great flavor also works well as a healthier substitute in dessert recipes, like whipped cream.”

4. Olive Oil

Christy: “Olive oil is healthy because it contains monounsaturated fats, which makes it very heart healthy—it’s a great oil to use if you are diabetic, or if you have high cholesterol.”

Chef K: “Olive oil has a medium smoke point of about 350 degrees F. It’s a great, flavorful oil for foods like pesto sauce and salad dressings. It’s also great for sautéing vegetables, and is a great choice for cooking chicken.”

3. Flaxseed Oil

Christy: “Flaxseed oil contains polyunsaturated fats, and has a good source of omega-3’s. Omega 3 fatty acids help improve brain function and promote heart health.”

Chef K: “Flaxseed oil has a low smoke point of about 225 degrees F, so it should not be used for cooking over heat. Instead, it’s great for mixing into meals after heating, or it can be added to salad dressings or used in certain smoothies.”

2. Walnut Oil

Christy: “Walnut oil contains polyunsaturated fats, and is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. This is a very heart-healthy oil, and is a great cooking oil to use if you are diabetic.”

Chef K: “Walnut oil has a very high smoke point of about 400 degrees F, which makes it a great oil to use for baking. It’s also great for sautéing at low-medium heat. It can also make your salad pop, simply by drizzling it over the top.”

1. Canola Oil

Christy: “As far as healthy nutrition goes, canola oil is probably the best. It has monounsaturated fats, which makes it heart healthy, and is appropriate for someone with diabetes,or who is on a diet.”

Chef K: “Canola oil has a medium-high smoke point of about 425 degrees F. It is great for sautéing, baking, and stir-fry. Of all the oils, it can be used to create the most variety of recipes.”

via The Top 10 Best Cooking Oils | BistroMD.

Simple tips: move that olive oil away from the stove!

We went over saturated versus unsaturated fats.

Today let’s look at their stability.

Fats spoil when exposed to oxygen. Saturated fats are more resistant to this, but the polyunsaturated fats you store next to your stove to cook with are very receptacle to spoilage due to all of their less stable double bonds.

Here are some tips to keep your oil from spoiling and to keep it as healthy for you as possible:

  • Store it somewhere cool dark place away from light and heat – like a cabinet away from your oven
  • Do not keep it stored in plastic bottles. Chemicals from the bottle my leach into it.
  • Keep it sealed tightly
  • If your oil is being used to cook and you don’t care about the taste as much you can refrigerate it. It may turn cloudy and be harder to pour but it’s fine to use.
  • If you are using the oil for dipping, salad dressings, etc – things you really want to taste the oil in, you should buy in smaller amounts, store in a cool place, and use relatively quickly- about three months.

This applies to other great oils, like flax and grapeseed oil. You’ll notice flaxseed oil is sold at stores in the refridgerated section in dark, UV proof bottles.

Hope this tip helps a bit! I always kept a glass bottle with a spout of oil next to the stove till I learned it defeated the purpose.

Mmm … Pesto!

My awesome friend just shared with me how to make pesto! We’re about to chow down on some baked pesto crusted chicken in a few.

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The very loose recipe was a large bowl full of basil – stems and all, olive oil, garlic cloves, parm cheese and pine nuts. Put into a food processor and add oil and pine nuts till its the right color and consistency. It’s delicious! And a surprisingly easy way to eat a lot of good for for you olive oil, herbs and nuts. Yeah all that cheese and oil isn’t the lowest fat option out there but gotta live a little 😉

Off to enjoy!

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what makes fats saturated or unsaturated anyway?

Triglycerides are one molecule of glycerol connected to three fatty acid chains. Fatty acid chains are strings of Carbons with Hydrogens going off either side. Usually there are 4 to 24 of these Carbons. 18 Carbons is the most common. *Fatty acid chains also have an acid group and a methyl group on either end.

So a saturated fat is one that is saturated with Hydrogens. That’s it! I was surprised a term that’s thrown around so much simply meant that. So because it’s ‘saturated’ all of the areas that Carbons could attach to have a hydrogen attached. Because of this it’s a straight line.

Saturated fats, because they’re straight, take up less space and pack in. This is why foods that contain them – say, the fat around your steak or butter, are solid.

Unsaturated fats are “unsaturated” with hydrogens. In order for everything to be stable and  bonded correctly that means that a couple of bonds in the chain are paired up. These double bond makes a ‘kink’ in the tail. The kinks take up more space, which is why your olive oil, which is filled with unsaturated goodness, is liquid. The more unsaturated it is, the more liquid it is. Some vegetable oils are solid because they are more saturated, such as cocoa butter and coconut oil.