Best Cooking Oils, Smoke Point is Important Why?

19 03 2010

Fish Cooked in the right oil provides much needed nutrients with fantastic flavor

There are many cooking oils to choose from when considering oils used to cook meals.  Also, when selecting oils it is important to understand how overheating the oil can ruin the health property benefits the body might receive otherwise.

 There are top cooking oil contenders rich in Oleic acid adding a greater health benefit to the diet (read the full story, Wisdom of Consuming Oleic Acid.  In short, Oleic acid is a mono-unsaturated omega 9-fatty acid found in animal and vegetable.  Olive oil, like a few other cooking oils is “highest” in this healthy heart, anti-oxidant and other disease curing properties; for example a principle ingredient in Lorenso’s oil.  When considering cooking oil, one should think about quality of taste, cooking Smoke Point (SP) and health benefits.  Smoking point is important why?  Because high cooking temperatures denaturizes the oil.  Meaning the good stuff in the oil like oleic acid can be ruined by the heat and also change the taste of the food you consume.  The food itself when overcooked can also become denaturized by reducing the health benefits of vitamins and minerals.  Smoke point is a cooking temperature when reached begins to burn the oil.  Smoke is a byproduct of burning oil and denaturizing begins at this point.  Smoke point should be considered when selecting your cooking oils for baking, sautéing and frying.  Also select cooking oils that are unsaturated fats with good omega acid properties to benefit lowering and balanced cholesterol maintenance. 

 When oil begins to burn it begins releasing carcinogens in the environment.  When this happens, open the windows dump the oil and start over.  So when cooking between 225 – 510 degrees requires knowledge of the right oil for the right dish to gain the health benefit without reaching smoke point and unknowingly subjecting those in the space to carcinogens.  I personally love the taste of Virgin olive oil and use it for just about everything I cook, except when frying.   Olive oil has a medium smoke point of 325degrees (which I rarely cook over this temp) and is high in monounsaturated fats, omega-9, and used for light sautéing.  It is also very good for fish, chicken, lean beef, pesto and salad dressings.  Olive oil adds a very flavorful taste to all dishes.

 The following represents the top healthy cooking oils with SP Temperature listed, etc:  Canola (SP425, good for diabetics, baking and sautéing); walnut (SP400, omega 3, good for diabetics, good for baking); grape seed (SP420, polyunsaturated with low fat, all purpose grilling); sunflower & safflower (SP 450-460, polyunsaturated with low fat, all purpose and high heat oil); Almond (SP495, monounsaturated fat, high heat cooking);  Avocado  (SP510, monounsaturated fat, for frying);  peanut (SP350, monounsaturated fat for light sautéing); Flaxseed (SP225, omega 3, good for diabetics, do not cook over heat, mix into dishes). 

 One also needs to be aware that when reducing saturated fats too much also lowers the good HDL’s when attempting to lower cholesterol.  High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease…  Read the full story, Successful Weight Loss Based in Blood Chemistry Fuel.  In short, “too little” saturated fat in the diet replaced by carbohydrates is causing an epidemic of obesity and secondary health issues.  Baking with healthy cooking oils and reducing animal products in diet is not necessarily the “complete” answer to the epidemic of obesity and high cholesterol.  Extreme measures in shifting diet from proteins to predominately a high carbohydrates diet appears to be creating other health problems.  It would appear moderation; balanced nutrition and exercise once again seem to be the silver bullet to optimum health.  Cooking oil knowledge is just one ingredient to overall body-mind health that can make a big difference in how you look and feel daily.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.


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