You may be surprised to hear that certain types of fats are good for you, not only because they taste so darn good but because our cells need to be protected by them. So it is very important to understand which fats are good for you and how to cook with them in an appropriate way.
Here is a simple breakdown from a chef and nutritionist perspective. I want to receive the beneficial nutrients from my fats but I also want them to taste delicioso.
When buying any oil, I suggest that you look for oils that say either cold pressed, expeller pressed, extra virgin or virgin. This ensures that the oils were extracted without heat or hexane, which can reduce the quality of the oils and the nutritional content.
Please do not store your oils near your stove or oven. If they are good quality oils they will go rancid quickly and therefore lose their health benefits. I do suggest as many organic oils as possible due to the fact that fats can hold chemicals and pesticides very well, so the cleaner the oil the better!
What Does Smoke Point Mean?
I find it unfortunate that when people suggest to consume these oils they do not inform you that they have a smoke point. A smoke point is the temperature at which the given oil will start to smoke, the hotter the oil the more they break down and when they start to smoke they have been ruined. They no longer contain the good fat health benefits, they contain free radicals which can cause disease.
Here is a great article and chart on smoke points of oils, what is great about this chart is that it clearly states under the chart which oils are refined and which are not Serious eats
Organic Extra virgin Coconut oil (Unrefined)
Smoke Point 350 degrees Fahrenheit or lower
Besides tasting amazing coconut oil has many benefits such as helping balance cholesterol, by raising your HDL (good cholesterol) thereby creating a favorable HDL/LDL ratio. It is great for your immunity due to the lauric acid content, which is anti bacterial and anti fungal. There has also been studies that have shown it to be beneficial for Alzheimer's disease, because our brains need to be coated with the proper fat in order to think clearly and to send the correct messages to the rest of our body.
You can even rub it all over your skin and hair as a natural moisturizer. Here is a fantastic 5 minute video on the benefit of raw, organic coconut oil and Alzeimers disease, http://www.organiccoconutoil.info/
Please check out WF.org and OrganicFacts.net for more interesting studies on the benefits of coconut oil.
I won't get too technical on why it's so amazing but it has to do with it's special medium chain fatty acids, lauric and caprylic acid, love them. The great thing about coconut oils chemical structure is the MCT ( medium chain fatty acids). MCT are easily absorbed by the body because of their chemical structure. They go directly to the liver where it is metabolized and then released as energy. Virgin coconut oil is a saturated fat meaning it is solid at room temperature, like any oil please use in moderation.
Expeller Pressed Grape Seed Oil (Unrefined)
Smoke Point 375 degrees fahrenheit or lower
Has little or no flavor and as a chef I like to use this very stable oil (meaning, high smoke point) when I do not want any extra flavor from the oils. I tend to use Everland brand because it has not been extracted with chemical solvents, such as hexane.
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Unrefined)
Smoke Point 350 degrees fahrenheit or lower
Adds great flavor to dishes and should have a very fruity flavor and green in color. Buy olive oil in dark glass containers, it helps protect the sensitive oil from light and heat.
*I also recommend virgin coconut oil and grape seed oil for medium to low heat.
Flax Oil, Hemp Oil, Fish Oil or Nut Oils
These are all amazing oils that should never be heated! They benefit your brain, hair, skin, bowels, nervous system and much much more. It is damaging to your body to heat these oils as it can increase free radicals in the body.