Our Fave Healthy Oils + How to Use Them
Healthy lifestyles are all the rage these days, and this is one bandwagon we’re happy to be riding on. Our latest love? Healthy oils like coconut, avocado, and olive oil.
The health-centric community has been sautéing its kale in olive oil for a while, but now other healthy oils are getting their share of the limelight. Here’s our look at a few of the trendiest healthy oils – and how you should be using them.
A long-time darling of healthy eaters and Mediterranean-food lovers alike, olive oil comes in two varieties. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) comes from cold-pressed olives and boasts heart-healthy benefits, reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. It also contains healthy fats and vitamins A, D, E and K. Light olive oil is more processed, with fewer health benefits and a lighter flavor than EVOO. But it has one important advantage: a higher smoke point, which means you can use it to cook at higher temperatures than EVOO.
Made from avocados (duh), avocado oil is a good option for healthy eaters who want an all-purpose oil. With a nutty flavor and 70 percent monounsaturated fats, it also contains vitamin E. Plus, it has a high smoke point, which means that it can be used for sautéing and stir-frying in addition to making dressings and dips.
There still haven’t been enough studies to confirm coconut oil’s true belonging on the list of heart-healthy oils, but evidence suggests that the oil, once villainized for its high saturated fat content, is actually good for you. Coconut oil’s saturated fat consists mostly of medium-chain trigycerides, which some experts believe are handled differently by the body than the longer-chain fats in other oils and animal products. In addition to heart benefits, it’s rumored to slow aging, protect against illnesses like Alzheimer’s, and even help you shed a few pounds. It’s also shelf-stable with a high smoke point, making it convenient to store and cook with. Plus, it tastes great!
Tea Tree Oil
This one’s not for cooking, but it’s still one of our favorite oils for its natural antibacterial properties and versatility. Before its use was commercialized by chemist Arthur Penfold in the 1920s, tea tree oil had a long history of aboriginal use. Produced from a shrub-like tree named Melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree oil has tons of uses that can help you rid your house of chemicals. Use it to deodorize your washing machine, as a mouthwash, to remove and sterilize splinters, and to clean minor cuts and abrasions (mix with coconut oil.
What’s your favorite way to use healthy oils?