Today, the oil aisle is bigger then ever, canola oils, olive oil, peanut oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, grape seed oils, hemp oil, etc etc..etc..… cold pressed, first cold pressed, unfiltered, unrefined, expeller pressed….what a confusion!
Is oil healthy for you and which oil is the best? As a health coach I get this question all the time and here is my explanation which I want to share with you.
What makes oil unhealthy?
Mainly its source and the processing methods which takes away most of its nutritive value. It is stripped from fiber and all the vitamins and minerals and becomes pure fat with zero nutrition values.
Expeller Pressed: a method which use high pressure to force oil out and high heat temperature. Very damaging to most oils especially olive oil. Not recommended.
Cold-pressed: This is done compressing under moderate cool temperature to prevent oxidation or damage. This is the best method to extract oil.
Refined: these are chemically extracted using toxic solvent. They are bleached, deodorised before coming into a bottle ( mostly plastic bottles which even worse). They are also called “vegetable oils.” A major NO-NO.
Unrefined: They are not treated with chemicals, or bleached. Still not my favorite.
Which olive oil is healthy?
Most oils are available as refined or unrefined but olive oil has many other terminologies.
Extra virgin/ first cold pressed
This means the oil has been cold-pressed which results usually in pure, less acidic and good tasting oil. This oil is best used for salad dressing but not so good for cooking as it oxidises under heat.
Virgin olive oil
This oil is also mechanically extracted but has high acidity. You can cook with it at medium to low heat.
Unfiltered olive oil
This is the highest in nutrition value but has a very low heat tolerance and should not be used for cooking at all. It usually still has some sediment in the bottle you can see. Best for salad dressing or drizzling on vegetables before eating.
Light olive oil
This is the most unhealthy and you can read on the label “ 100% pure olive oil”. It is low in quality and stay away from it.
Healthiest oils are:
Avocado oil for cooking: As it has the highest smoke point, and is mechanically extracted not chemically extracted. Choose the unrefined avocado oil in a glass bottle.
Coconut oil: it is a good addition to the kitchen for cooking at low- medium heat. Choose the unrefined organic version in a glass jar not plastic.
Olive oil: is rich in phytonutrient and anti-oxidants and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Choose the extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil for salad and virgin olive oil for cooking at medium heat.
Least healthy oils are:
Corn oil, grape seed oil, peanut oil, rice bran oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil,
OIL or NO-OIL Verdict:
Moderation in using oils.
Try alternatives whenever you can. I like TAHINI ( sesame seed paste ) for dressing, 1 tablespoon of oil = 120 calories, 1 Tablespoon of tahini= 89 calories (plus calcium, iron, and fiber).
It takes 20-30 olives depending on their sizes to make 1 tablespoon, so being aware of how many tablespoon you eat a day is key. Oils are pure fat, so either use them in small quantities (1 tablespoon a day) or use alternatives such as real olives or tahini paste.