These Are the Healthiest Oils to Eat
Having a plentiful supply of oil in your diet is an important because fat is needed by the body for maintenance of proper function. Fats such as oils provide essential compounds and calories as well as enabling your body to reap the rewards from fat soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K. They also supply the body with an important energy source and are responsible for helping to build tissues and cells all over. A convenient, practical and versatile source of fat to include, oils are up there with some of the best you can eat. Here are five to include in your daily diet.
You know it as the staple of a healthy, much-lauded Mediterranean diet, and for good reason. A great source of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants, consumption of olive oil is thought to help manage blood pressure levels, encourage good circulation and reduce chronic inflammation, all of which help lower the risk of heart disease amongst other things. The best kind of olive oil, if we’re talking health benefits, is cold pressed, which means the oil itself hasn’t been heat-treated above a certain temperature. When this happens, vital nutrients are lost in the pressing process. Look also for the extra virgin kind, which means it’s not refined and therefore isn’t compromised in terms of quality.
Avocado oil has some of the highest levels of healthy monounsaturated fats of all oils, which is great news for helping to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated fats protect the health of your heart by maintaining levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. They also reduce levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol in your blood. Avocado oil also has a high vitamin E content, an antioxidant which strengthens the body's natural defence against illness and infection, protects cells against free radical damage and promotes healthy skin and eyes.
A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed is an underused oil that we should all be eating more of. Brilliant for so many reasons, flaxseed oil contains high levels of omega-3. Omega-3, specifically EPA and DHA, not only enhances brain health, contributes to good cognitive function and helps preserve cell membrane health, but improves your mood, lowers cholesterol and reduces inflammation – including post workout muscle soreness.
A well as being good sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, sesame oil is low in saturated fat and contains lignans, sesamol and sesamin which are powerful antioxidants that combat free radical damage and can prevent the onset of chronic illnesses. Sesame oil is also loaded with omega-6 and 9 along with omega-3, all of which can help reduce inflammation.
Depending on who you talk to, coconut oil is either a dietary staple or something to be avoided. The point of contention comes of its high saturated fat content which is unlike other plant-based oils. Although traditionally we’ve been told to avoid saturated fats because too much can raise cholesterol levels and clog up arteries, some experts now believe that that there is something to be said for eating small amounts of saturated fat, rather than eliminating it altogether and replacing it with something potentially more harmful such as refined sugar and starches. If you enjoy coconut oil, then just make sure that your daily intake is on the right side of recommended guidelines. In the UK recommends that’s no more than 11% of your daily food and drink calories, while the US and the World Health Organization recommend less than 10%.