Healthy eating starts with healthy cooking! We heat and cook almost all our foods. Olive Oil has also become a staple in most households. Learn the right way to cook with Olive Oil.
We have talked in the past on how vitamins, minerals, Omega-3's and foods can provide us with great overall body and eye health. Some questions surfaced on which oils would be healthiest to cook with.
RAW AND FRESH FOODS ARE BEST
Raw and uncooked foods, such as fresh organic vegetables and fruits from the garden have the most nutritional content and the least pesticides. They contain enzymes, vitamins, and minerals; however, these can be destroyed from the cooking process. Heat breaks chemical bonds and can lower the nutrional value of many foods.
With all this knowledge, we are still keen on pleasing the palate. Raw foods dont always taste the best, therefore, we steam, fry, sautee, cook and bake them to add flavour and texture.
IS OLIVE OIL A HEALTHY OIL?
Yes, Olive oil is the healthiest oil you can purchase as it has the highest level of monounsaturated fats. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, and phytonutritent oleocanthal. It is said to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
(1) Extra Virgin Olive oil is the purest of all the olive oils as it is the first press from the olives. Extra Virgin Olive oil is great for drizzling on salads and breads. However it should NOT be used for cooking due to its low smoke point. It will start to burn and produce toxic fumes.
(2) Virgin Olive Oil is also from the first press, but is more acidic and less intense in flavor. This oil may be used to sautee at LOW temperatures only.
WHICH OIL SHOULD I COOK WITH?
A) Each oil has a "Smoke Point." The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil starts to break down. The higher the smoke point, the more heat the oil can handle. Choose an oil with a smoke point higher than the temperature you like to cook at. Sauteeing options: safflower oil, or virgin olive oilHigh Heat Cooking options: light olive oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, peanut, avacado or sunflower oils B) You want to choose an oil that has a higher percentage of monounsaturated fats, and a lower percentage of polyunsaturated or trans-fats. The University of Kansas Medical Centre states that the oils higher in polyunsaturated fats such as Canola and Perilla Oil become cancerous when heated. You can see a list of the percentage of (PUFA) PolyUnsaturated Fats on their webpage. Choose an oil with a lower PUFA percentage. They say to AVOID cooking with oils with over 20% PUFA. C) AVOID oils that are old and smell rancid. Avoid margarine, vegetable oils, and any oils that are hydrogenated. D) Always choose an ORGANIC grade of oil if possible. IS TEFLON BETTER THAN USING BUTTER & OILS? We hear that butter and oils contain fat, so we try to limit their use. To prevent our foods from sticking most household cooks have switched to Teflon Coated pots and pans.
Although there is no proof of teflon use causing cancer in humans, even the American Cancer Society is well aware that when using teflon pans at high heat (which most people do), fumes are released that are fatal to birds. Teflon can flake off the pan and be transferred into your food. Ingesting the teflon can be hazardous to your health. The Chemicals used to make the Teflon coating have been shown to increase tumors in lab animals. If birds and rats can be affected by these harmful fumes, then you have to think twice the affect on humans also.
Our advise is to avoid using chemically coated pans, and switch to cookware made from surgical steel or glass. Surgical steel is non-porous and does not leach heavy metals into your food, unlike other steel pans.