Unrefined nut and seed oils are best used uncooked, in salad dressings ― usually in conjunction with a neutral oil like grapeseed ― and drizzled over foods. They impart the distinct flavor of the nuts and seeds from which they’re extracted, all the more so if they are made from toasted nuts. Try walnut oil, dark sesame oil, pistachio, hazelnut, and pumpkin seed oils.
If you do a lot of high-heat stir-frying, you should look for an oil with a high smoke point(the temperature at which a cooking fat begins to break down and deteriorate, which can have health implications as when fats break down they can release free radicals). Try rice bran oil (490 degrees), grapeseed oil (420 degrees) and refined peanut oil (450 degrees).
Rice bran oil is extracted from the germ and the inner husk of rice. It has a neutral flavor and works very nicely in stir-fries. It’s made up of primarily monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (7 grams monounsaturated, 3 grams saturated and 5 grams polyunsaturated in a tablespoon).
Canola oil is one of the healthiest oils, with the lowest saturated fat content of any oil (7 percent, as opposed to 15 percent in olive oil). It’s an excellent source of the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid and the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, important nutrients that must come from dietary sources. There is among some a misperception that canola oil is made from rapeseed, which contains high levels of erucic acid, a compound that can be toxic to humans. The canola plant was developed by natural crossbreeding from the rapeseed plant, and contains very low levels of erucic acid.
Extra Virgin olive oil is great for both drizzling and cooking, and is high in monounsaturated fats and trace nutrients that contribute to its antioxidant properties.
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