Jun 24, 2014

Add Liquid Gold for a Healthier Diet

We've been told for years to steer away from fat, but the right kind of fats—consumed in moderation—can actually boost your health. Here are five of the best oils to add to your diet as liquid gold.

1. Coconut Oil

Once thought to be a heart attack in a bottle, coconut oil has reclaimed its place as a tasty and beneficial oil. Just a few tablespoons can help the body to do the following:

  • Resist bacterial and viral infections
  • Fight off yeast, fungus and candida
  • Stabilize blood sugar levels
  • Regulate hormones
  • Restore thyroid function
  • Increase HDL cholesterol
  • Stabilize weight
  • Boost energy levels
Use coconut oil as a butter substitute when sauteing veggies or baking quick breads. If you enjoy the coconut flavor, cook some bananas in virgin oil with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. If you would rather have the health benefits without the taste, drizzle some refined oil over popcorn. Use in moderation; coconut oil is high in saturated fats.

2. Almond Oil

If you are tired of eating handfuls of almonds every day, try replacing your go-to vegetable oil with some almond oil. You still get the nutty flavor and the following benefits:

  • Heart disease prevention
  • Protection from free radicals with antioxidants
  • Improvement in the appearance of your skin, hair and nails
  • Production of more healthy red blood cells
  • More efficient absorption of nutrients
  • Improvement in brain chemistry with omega-6 fatty acids
Use the refined oil when frying or sauteing and the cold-pressed oil when baking. For an extra treat during the summer, combine sweet almond oil with white balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, sea salt and a small shallot for a delicious salad dressing.

3. Cottonseed Oil

The cotton plant is good for more than just making jeans and t-shirts. Cottonseed oil makes a great standard to keep in your pantry. The subtle flavor can highlight crisp greens in a salad but also withstand the high heat of frying. Adding some cottonseed oil to your diet can help you to do the following:

  • Fight disease and aging with high levels of vitamin E
  • Increase good cholesterol for heart health
  • Decrease bad cholesterol levels with polyunsaturated fats
  • Reduce the risk of heart attack with essential fatty acids
Cottonseed oil is trans-free and cholesterol-free. For some extra kick, try one of the new infused cottonseed oils. You can buy great flavors like curry spice or jalapeno-lime.

4. Peanut Oil

In moderation, peanut oil can be a great accompaniment to your diet. It does well with high heat cooking, such as deep-frying, and tastes great with BBQ. Use it as a health booster to help:

  • Promote good blood flow and reduce stroke risk
  • Protect cells from harmful free radicals in the environment
  • Protect against cancer, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease and Alzheimer's with natural resveratrol levels
Make a tasty peanut sauce for stir-frys or dipping by combining peanut oil with crunchy peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, water and hot chili oil.

5. Olive Oil

No list of healthy oils would be complete without mentioning olive oil. This staple of Mediterranean cooking packs a punch in flavor and in health benefits. Add some olive oil to:

  • Reduce bad cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Improve brain function
  • Reduce cancer risk
  • Promote strong skin, hair and nails
Put extra virgin olive oil in salad dressings and marinades. Drop a few tablespoons in a pan for sauteing vegetables. Make an infused oil by adding basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano and olive oil to a pour-spout bottle.

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Updated 4/12/16

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