The low-down on oils Our guide

So many oils, so much in­for­ma­tion – and a lot of it con­flict­ing. If you’re con­fused about what to use and why, here’s our cheat sheet!

Woman & Home (South Africa) - - In this issue... -

We’ve been so afraid of fat in the past – and by de­fault, oils too – that it’s dicult to em­brace the mes­sage that it’s OK to add the good-for-you kind to our diet. Sure, you can splash the olive for just about ev­ery­thing, but are you miss­ing out on a whole menu of flavours and nutri­tional ben­e­fits? Sadly, even good oils can be­have badly, so smart choos­ing and us­ing is key. Here are a few things to re­mem­ber...

They still count!

No de­bate, oils are tricky to ne­go­ti­ate. “Less is more with oils,” says nu­tri­tion­ist Rick Hay. “Even though the healthy ones are just that, you shouldn’t go over­board with them, as they still con­tain kilo­joules – about 500 a ta­ble­spoon. It’s a dreary word but mod­er­a­tion is key. Keep­ing them to about a ta­ble­spoon a day is fine. Think spritz and driz­zle rather than splash and glug!”

Heat changes them

Oils have a smoke point, and cook­ing past that on too high a heat can re­lease free rad­i­cals and toxic chem­i­cals into your food, which in turn can cause in­flam­ma­tion and other prob­lems in the body. Keep it sim­ple and safe by choos­ing the best for the job. Nu­tri­tion­ist Cas­san­dra Barns gives us her pick... use ei­ther for fry­ing or stir-fry­ing,” says Cas­san­dra. “They con­tain pri­mar­ily sat­u­rated fats, which are more sta­ble and health­ier for use at high tem­per­a­tures.” Don’t fret over the word sat­u­rated, as it has added ben­e­fits.

GHEE is clar­i­fied but­ter pro­cessed to re­move any­thing but the fat – so it can be good for those with a dairy protein or lac­tose in­tol­er­ance.

CO­CONUT OIL has more medi­um­chain fatty acids, which are used eas­ily for en­ergy, and less likely to be stored as fat in your body.

Ev­ery­day oils...

Olive, av­o­cado and cold-pressed rape­seed (of­ten called canola) oils – “If you want to use a liq­uid oil for cook­ing, I’d stick with th­ese,” sug­gests Cas­san­dra. “They con­tain more mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats, which makes them a bit more sta­ble at higher tem­per­a­tures than other seed and nut oils.” Buy­ing tip “Choose light olive oil rather than ex­tra vir­gin, as some of the ben­e­fits may be lost when heat­ing the oil.”

Some are best naked...

...and that’s when you get more nu­tri­tion bang for your buck. Down­ing a great plant oil daily will de­liver the nu­tri­ents and anti-in­flam­ma­tory ben­e­fits for heart and skin health. Well-be­ing ex­pert Liz Earle, au­thor of Skin (Orion), a great book on eat­ing well and us­ing oils, shows the way. “Oils are most nu­tri­tious when un­heated. I like to make sure I have a ta­ble­spoon of good-qual­ity, un­cooked oil ev­ery day,” says Liz. “This can be in a salad dress­ing, driz­zled over veg or a bowl of soup. One of my very favourite ways of en­joy­ing a good olive oil is to pour some into a lit­tle bowl, then dunk in a hunk of good bread. De­li­cious.” We have our favourites...

GREAT LIT­TLE DRIZZLERS…

HEMPSEED OIL With omega-3s, good for heart health, as well as mag­ne­sium for en­ergy and ner­voussys­tem reg­u­la­tion. Rich and nutty, add it to your morn­ing smoothie.

PUMP­KIN”SEED OIL Loaded with vi­ta­min E and zinc, this gor­geous green oil makes a fab­u­lous salad dress­ing.

WAL­NUT OIL Con­sid­ered to im­prove blood cir­cu­la­tion and heart health, this rich and nutty (as ex­pected!) gem is good for driz­zling over veg. w&h

THE HIGH FRYERS...Co­conut oil and ghee – “I pre­fer to

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