Six Healthy Alternatives to Olive Oil
Mar 18, 2016 06:45 AM EDT | By Chandan Das
A study undertaken in 2015 found that on an average, Americans spend about six hours every week cooking. It has also been found that using cooking oil is far healthier compared to butter or lard. This is primarily owing to the fact that plant oils contain fewer saturated fats and are generally free from cholesterol. Moreover, they contain potent antioxidants as well as vitamin E, which are effective in dealing with free radicals responsible for premature aging and sometimes even cancer.
Extra-virgin olive oil is a very healthy choice because it contains rich amounts of monounsaturated fats promote healthy levels of cholesterol while polyphenols found in olive oil helps to reduce blood pressure, thereby lessening the chances of developing heart disease. However, it is not only expensive but sometimes even difficult to find genuine extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). Therefore, it is essential to know which other plant-based oils can offer a healthy alternative to olive oil, Eating Well reported.
This oil is beneficial for the health of your heart, as it contains vitamin E and resveratrol, a heart-healthy antioxidant has been found to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. Moreover, it is not as expensive as olive oil but offers almost the same benefits. The smoking point of peanut oil is high making it perfect for roasting, stir-frying and sautéing.
This is also a heart-healthy oil containing omega-3 as well as mono-unsaturated fats that helps to diminish "bad" or LDL cholesterol while promoting "good" or HDL cholesterol. Avocado oil is effective for veggies, salads, and soups. The oil has a mild, butter-like taste that enhances the flavor of foods, Health.com reported.
Latest studies have shown that its main constituent is a type of saturated fat called lauric acid, which helps increase the beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. However, it is not as effective as monounsaturated fats. This oil is suitable for baking and is used as a substitute for butter in equal quantities. Coconut oil is a healthier, vegan alternative to animal fat and has a sweet, vanilla-like flavor.
According to preliminary research, grapeseed oil contains compounds that may possess anti-cancer properties. In addition, this oil also has a high smoke point and is great all-purpose cooking oil, as it has a mild flavor.
This oil is wonderful for obtaining heart-healthy omega-3 fats into your diet. However, flaxseed oil has a very low smoke point, so it cannot be used for cooking, so you may try it in a salad dressing.
Palm oil is loaded with vitamin E, which boosts the immune system. However, avoid partially hydrogenated palm oil, which is found in some processed foods. Palm oil, however, contains unhealthy trans fats and fewer nutrients. You may use it for curries, stews, noodle dishes, and even omelets.
However, before you choose an alternative to olive oil, it is important to take notice of the smoke point. When oil is heated to its smoke point, it results in the breakdown of the oil, releasing harmful substances, while destroying the beneficial compounds of the oil.
At the same time, one needs to check the quantity of the oil used. Usually, people use excessive oils, thereby adding up too many calories. Ideally, one should use just two tablespoons of oil every daily - the suggested quantity for most adults.
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