First, Zumpano names the fats that should not be used for cooking, baking and frying: Saturated fats. “The less you use of these fats, the better,” says the expert. Less than seven percent of daily calories should come from saturated fats. Typically, such fats are contained in
Julia Zumpano is a registered nutritionist at the renowned Cleveland Clinic in the USA. In a current article of the clinic she explains how to select the best oil when preparing food in order to get the greatest health benefits.
When cooking and frying, most people use fats such as cooking oils. But deciding which oil to use for which dish can be a challenge. Because not every oil is suitable for every type of preparation and not every oil is equally healthy. A nutrition expert explains which oils are healthiest and how to use them in cooking.
Choosing the healthiest oil for cooking
Instead, mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids should be used for cooking. These come from olives, avocados and nuts, for example. “Use extra virgin olive oil as often as possible,” advises Zumpano. At high temperatures, however, almond, peanut or avocado oil is more suitable. The nutritionist has six tips ready, which one should consider when using edible oils.
Oils are always fats. Each type of fat is rich in calories and contains nine calories per gram, more than twice as much as carbohydrates and proteins, which contain only about four calories per gram. Even healthier oils, such as avocado and olive oil, are still high in calories. So with oils, the tendency is: less is more. Overall, only 25 to 35 percent of the total daily calories should come from fats.
Olive oil ranks demonstrably among the healthiest oils. It lowers according to Zumpano the “bad” LDL Cholesterol and increases the “good” HDL Cholesterol, if olive oil is used as replacement for saturated fats such as butter. Furthermore, it is rich in nutrients such as beta-carotene and vitamins A, E, D and K.
Extra virgin olive oil has the lowest oxidation rate of all edible oils. Oxidation promotes the formation of free radicals in the body. These are highly reactive particles that damage cells and are thus involved in the development of cancer and other diseases. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants that protect cells from such damage. It contains the polyphenol hydroxytyrosol, which has a great absorption capacity for free radicals.
Oils begin to oxidize during long periods of storage, resulting in the formation of free radicals. “Buy only a few types of oil in small quantities and store them in a cool, dark and dry place,” says Zumpano. If an oil starts to smell bitter, it should not be used anymore. As a rule of thumb, oils should be used within 30 to 60 days after opening.
When frying and deep-frying, a considerable amount of oil is heated up in the pan for long periods of time. When food is fried or deep-fried, free radicals are produced – regardless of which oil is used. Instead of frying, Zumpano therefore recommends sautéing. The food is cut into small pieces and only briefly fried in the pan. This reduces the amount of fat and the harmful effects.
Many diets aim to banish as much fat as possible from the diet. Zumpano does not think much of such measures. Often the missing fat is compensated by other unhealthy alternatives such as sugar. Fat is nothing to be afraid of. “Think about everything you eat and strive for a nutritionally balanced mixture that contains moderate amounts of healthy fats,” the nutrition expert recommends.
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.