When it comes to health, we live in a world of extremes. We’ve got people who identify as “couch potatoes,” and binge on anything that’s labeled as “junk” by the fitness industry. Then there are others who head straight to the organic aisle at the supermarket, read all of the ingredients of each product, and keep up with their gym membership.
Oil is caught in between these extremes. There are products that pride themselves on being greasy and sloppy. And, then there are products that swear by being “oil-free.” However, oil isn’t without its benefits. And, when had in moderation, it can really add to a healthy diet. Here are five fatty oils that you can drizzle on your dishes, guilt-free.
1. Soybean Oil
If salads feature in your diet a lot, then soybean oil might be an ideal choice for dressing. Studies state that adding soybean oil to salads increases the absorption of carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins from the vegetables in them.1 In fact, research indicates that full-fat dressing is vital to this absorption, with fat-free options leading to no absorption at all.2
The benefits of carotenoids seem to stem from the fact that they’re antioxidants. They are believed to decrease the risk of disease, particularly certain types of cancers and eye disease. So, don’t be afraid to look up a fun soybean oil dressing for your next salad.3
2. Avocado Oil
Avocado’s health benefits have people dedicating desserts, salads, smoothies, and breakfast recipes to the fruit. And, its oil isn’t too far behind on the health benefits front. In fact, studies state that it leads to a significant increase in soluble collagen content in skin, helping it recover quickly and look younger.4
Avocado oil is also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and saturated fatty acids. It hence promotes a healthy lipid profile and cardiovascular health.5 It also enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals from foods.6 So, if you’re looking for a heart-healthy oil to add to your food, avocado oil is the way to go.
3. Canola Oil
Popularly known as rapeseed oil, canola oil is a hit with fitness freaks because it is low in saturated fat and is free of any artificial trans-fats. You could use canola oil to bake and fry food. You could also use it to dress your salads.7
Consumption of canola oil is also linked to reductions in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. It might also promote heart health and improve insulin sensitivity, hence aiding fat loss. So, it’s safe to say that you could add canola oil to your grocery list, even if you’re watching your weight.8
4. Grapeseed oil
Extracted from the seeds of vineyard grapes, grapeseed oil is now a common sight in supermarket aisles. It is believed to be a good source of linoleic acid, which makes for about 80 percent of its fatty acids. It is also rich in phenolic compounds and vitamin E.9
Grapeseed oil has cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.10 It might also aid in the treatment of edema, high blood pressure, cancer, and high cholesterol, although the evidence for this is scant.11
However, there are debates regarding grapeseed oil, since a large amount of oil must be consumed to make the most of its benefits. To add to this, it is high in omega 6 fatty acids which might have detrimental health implications, especially since it’s pro-inflammatory and might increase the risk of inflammatory diseases.12 So, if you’re at risk of heart disease, do consult a medical professional before incorporating grapeseed oil into your diet.
5. Walnut Oil
Walnuts are a popular snack option. And, walnut oil is slowly growing into a popular replacement for regular vegetable oil. This is because it has heart-healthy properties and lowers the risk of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular disorders.13
Studies show that consumption of walnut oil benefits endothelial function more than whole walnuts.14 Endothelial dysfunction is linked to metabolic and vascular diseases.15 Walnut oil might also lower blood sugar levels.16 So, don’t hesitate to add walnut oil to your next recipe.
Although oils make for a good addition to a diet, it’s important to remember that they are also high in calories. Hence, it’s important to stick to the recommended limit of 5 teaspoons a day, as advised by the government.17 This will help you get all the benefits of oils without causing harm to your health.
|↑1||White, Wendy S., Yang Zhou, Agatha Crane, Philip Dixon, Frits Quadt, and Leonard M. Flendrig. “Modeling the dose effects of soybean oil in salad dressing on carotenoid and fat-soluble vitamin bioavailability in salad vegetables.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 106, no. 4 (2017): 1041-1051.|
|↑2||Brown, Melody J., Mario G. Ferruzzi, Minhthy L. Nguyen, Dale A. Cooper, Alison L. Eldridge, Steven J. Schwartz, and Wendy S. White. “Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings as measured with electrochemical detection.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 80, no. 2 (2004): 396-403.|
|↑3||Johnson, Elizabeth J. “The role of carotenoids in human health.” Nutrition in Clinical Care 5, no. 2 (2002): 56-65.|
|↑4||Werman, M. J., S. Mokady, M. E. Ntmni, and I. Neeman. “The effect of various avocado oils on skin collagen metabolism.” Connective tissue research 26, no. 1-2 (1991): 1-10.|
|↑5||Carvajal-Zarrabal, Octavio, Cirilo Nolasco-Hipolito, M. Guadalupe Aguilar-Uscanga, Guadalupe Melo-Santiesteban, Patricia M. Hayward-Jones, and Dulce M. Barradas-Dermitz. “Avocado oil supplementation modifies cardiovascular risk profile markers in a rat model of sucrose-induced metabolic changes.” Disease markers 2014 (2014).|
|↑6||Dreher, Mark L., and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Hass avocado composition and potential health effects.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 53, no. 7 (2013): 738-750.|
|↑7||Canola. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑8||Lin, Lin, Hanja Allemekinders, Angela Dansby, Lisa Campbell, Shaunda Durance-Tod, Alvin Berger, and Peter JH Jones. “Evidence of health benefits of canola oil.” Nutrition reviews 71, no. 6 (2013): 370-385.|
|↑9||Time to rethink your vegetable oil?. American Association for the Advancement of Science.|
|↑10||Garavaglia, Juliano, Melissa M. Markoski, Aline Oliveira, and Aline Marcadenti. “Grape seed oil compounds: Biological and chemical actions for health.” Nutrition and metabolic insights 9 (2016): 59.|
|↑11||Grape seed. University Of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑12||Patterson, E., Rebecca Wall, G. F. Fitzgerald, R. P. Ross, and C. Stanton. “Health implications of high dietary omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.” Journal of nutrition and metabolism 2012 (2012).|
|↑13||Zibaeenezhad, M. J., M. Rezaiezadeh, A. Mowla, S. M. T. Ayatollahi, and M. R. Panjehshahin. “Antihypertriglyceridemic effect of walnut oil.” Angiology 54, no. 4 (2003): 411-414.|
|↑14||Berryman, Claire E., Jessica A. Grieger, Sheila G. West, Chung-Yen O. Chen, Jeffrey B. Blumberg, George H. Rothblat, Sandhya Sankaranarayanan, and Penny M. Kris-Etherton. “Acute consumption of walnuts and walnut components differentially affect postprandial lipemia, endothelial function, oxidative stress, and cholesterol efflux in humans with mild hypercholesterolemia.” The Journal of nutrition 143, no. 6 (2013): 788-794.|
|↑15||Polovina, Marija M., and Tatjana S. Potpara. “Endothelial dysfunction in metabolic and vascular disorders.” Postgraduate medicine 126, no. 2 (2014): 38-53.|
|↑16||Zibaeenezhad, Mohammadjavad, Kamran Aghasadeghi, Hossein Hakimi, Hassan Yarmohammadi, and Farzad Nikaein. “The Effect of Walnut Oil Consumption on Blood Sugar in Patients With Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.” International journal of endocrinology and metabolism 14, no. 3 (2016).|
|↑17||Key Elements of Healthy Eating Patterns. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.|