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Healthy Cooking Oils

healthy cooking oils

Replacing bad fats (saturated and trans) with healthier fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) is better for your heart. 

One way you can do  this is by choosing healthier nontropical vegetable oils for cooking and preparing food. 

Use these oils instead of solid fats (including butter, shortening, lard and hard stick margarine) and tropical oils (including palm and coconut oil, which can have a lot of saturated fat. 

Here's an alphabetical list of common cooking oils that contain more of the "better-for-you" fats and less saturated fat:

  • Canola

  • Corn

  • Olive

  • Peanut

  • Safflower

  • Soybean

  • Sunflower

Blends of combinations of these oils, often sold under the name "vegetable oil," and cooking sprays made from these oils are also good choices. Some specialty oils, like avocado, grapeseed, rice bran amd sesame, can be healthy choices but may cost a bit more or be harder to find. 

In general, choose oils with less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon, and no partially hydrogenated oils or trans fat. 

You may find that some oils have distinctive flavors, so try different types to discover which ones you like. Also, some oils are better for certain types of cooking than others, so you may want to have more than one type in your pantry. 

You can usually use cooking oils just like solid cooking fats. For example, use them to: 

  • Make your own salad dressings, marinades, dips and sauces. 

  • Grill, saute, stir fry, bake or roast foods.

  • Coat pans to keep food from sticking.

  • Spread or drizzle on foods for flavor. 

  • "Season" cast-iron cookware.

  • Substitute for butter, margarine or solid fats in recipes.

Source: American Heart Association

Heart Health: Manage Heart Disease Through Diet

What causes heart disease? Most often, heart disease occurs die to poor lifestyle choices including lack of physical activity, tobacco use, or an unhealthy diet. Risk factors such as age, gender, and family history also play a major role. Heart disease may also occur as a result of infections or genetic abnormalities affecting the heart, not related to lifestyle choices. 

An unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity can lead to conditions that are often precursors to heart disease such as: high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. High blood cholesterol, often from a high fat diet, can lead to plaque formation in vessel walls. Plaque buildup occurs with no symptoms and causes narrowing of the arteries, high blood pressure, and may lead to a heart attack without warning. An unhealthy diet may also lead to obesity and diabetes. 

Ways to manage heart disease through your diet:

  1. Consume a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole-grains.
  2. Limit the amount of saturated fats. trans fat, and cholesterol in the diet.
  3. Limit foods and beverages with added sugar.
  4. Choose foods with low salt content. 

Coconut Oil: A Healthy Fat?

You have probably seen or heard claims on social media or even talk shows with health professionals about the health benefits of coconut oil. Claims such as "Coconut oil decreases cholesterol!" or "Coconut oil treats hypertension!" are enough to interest any consumer looking for a quick cure for these health problems. Plus, coconut oil is sold everywhere, from your local grocery store to the corner drug store. However, what is the evidence behind these health claims? Does coconut oil have any health benefits? Learn more