Facts on Fat
The healthiest fats for your kitchen… a simple guideline of fats you can use every single day whether cooking or not.
A fat is not a fat is not a fat… meaning, not all fats are created equally. Some fats have anti-inflammatory effects on the body while others aggravate and inflame the body. Some fats are great to cook with, others lose their nutritive properties when heated to high temperatures. Here, a simple guide to the best fats for your kitchen:
*Two things to note: Smoke point = the temperature at which an oil begins to burn; and this list is in order by smoke point, high to low.
Ghee – clarified butter (which means to remove the milk solids) that has a high smoke point; ghee has a higher smoke point than grass-fed butter; it is made from animal dairy. Store in a cool, dark place or refrigerate. It is a saturated fat, meaning it is solid at room temperature.
Grapeseed oil – non-dairy, plant-based oil with a high smoke point; great for cooking and for use in homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Store in a cool, dark place. It is a monounsaturated fat.
Coconut oil/butter – medium-high smoke point; non-dairy plant-based oil that is great for cooking. Studies show that coconut and coconut oil/butter is highly anti-viral, anti-microbial, thereby stimulating the immune system. It also promotes good skin and hair. A saturated fat, store in a cool, dry, dark place as coconut liquefies easily, even sitting on a shelf in hot weather.
Grass-fed butter – an animal dairy based fat, choose grass-fed over non-grass fed butter (meaning it is derived from grass-fed cows and minus any antibiotics or hormone boosters); cooks at higher temperatures which is ideal for sautéing vegetables and other foods.
Olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil – a plant-based oil well known in the Mediterranean climates; this monounsaturated fat becomes solid when refrigerated. Better used as a finishing touch to dishes and in vinaigrettes and other homemade salad dressings. Drizzle over finished proteins and vegetables like Lemon Chicken with Broccoli, for example. Best not to heat at high temperatures; when used for cooking, think of slow, low gentle sautees vs high, intense heat.
Avocado oil – oil from the avocado fruit; is a monounsaturated fat meaning it becomes solid when refrigerated. **Note, any fat that has been refrigerated, remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before use to allow to come to room temperature for best results. High in omega-3 fats, has natural anti-oxidant properties. Store in a cool, dark place. May be used for satueeing but not for use in maximum heat.
Sesame seed oil – a plant-based polyunsaturated oil best used for low-level/low-heat sauces and for making marinades and as a seasoning oil. Sesame seeds are high in calcium and black sesame seeds help retain the pigment in hair. Use sparingly as it is highly flavored.
Walnut oil – a nut-based, plant-based oil from the omega-3-rich walnut. Best when stored in a cool, dark place and used as a finishing oil to dips, spreads, vinaigrettes and other types of salad dressings.
Hemp seed oil – a plant-based oil with an earthy flavor (as most seed and nut-based oils have); best use is in finished dishes and recipes and not heated. Good for the heart and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Drizzle on salads, vegetables and as a dipping oil for roasted vegetables, for example.
Oils to avoid altogether: canola, sunflower, safflower, corn, vegetable oils, shortening, lard, bacon fat, soybean oil. These oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids which most people consume way too much of in the first place. Having an excess of omega-6 oils in the body naturally out-ranks the amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acids in the body which help keep heart disease at bay, promote healthy skin and hair and are needed for healthy body function.
If you have a question about fats and oils, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Author’s note: You can enjoy eating the right kinds of fat and still be “bikini”.