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7 Fats You Need in Your Kitchen

7 Fats You Need in Your Kitchen

Are you confused about which fats and oils to cook with?

We learned about the need for this part of our diet in The Truth About Fats & Oils. But, it’s crucial that we choose the right oils to cook with.

Below I have listed the five fats and oils I use in my kitchen after 35 years of research and hands on experimentation.

Each has amazing health benefits that don’t degrade during the cooking process.

Olive oil, a healthy staple in my kitchen.

1.  Extra-virgin olive oil

  • The best fat to use as a salad dressing.
  • Also good to pour a little on top of cooked grains or vegetables once they are on your plate.
  • Do not use for high-heat oven cooking. It has a low smoke point of 320°F and heat makes it susceptible to oxidative damage.
  • Extra light olive oil (highly processed oil) has a high smoke point of 468°F.

Olive oil has so many health benefits I include a little every day when I eat my salad. Learn more about the Health Benefits of Olive Oil

The more unrefined the almond oil, the greater the almond taste.

2. Almond oil (refined)

  • High smoke point of about 420°F .
  • Great for sautéing, stir fries, baking and also good in desserts because of its natural almond flavor.
  • For gourmet cooking, look for the more flavorful cold-pressed almond oil where it can be appreciated for its delicate, nutty flavor. It is best not to cook at high temperatures with it.
  • Almonds themselves have many health benefits. They are one of the few alkaline protein sources.

Almond oil has a light, clean flavor that does not alter the taste of the foods I am using it to cook with. Learn more about the Benefits and Use Of Almond Oil

Ghee has been used in cooking and medicines for thousands of years.

3.  Ghee

Ghee is a purified form of clarified butter used as cooking oil throughout India. It has been purified of all moisture and solids so it can be used at higher temperatures and is much more resistant to becoming rancid than clarified butter.

  • “Highish” smoke point between 410 – 485°F depending on the purity of the ghee.
  • Great in soups, stews, curries, very light heat stir fries.

I use this when making curry dinners and my favorite popcorn treat Curried Popcorn.  Read all about the Health Benefits of Ghee.

4.  Coconut Oil Extra Virgin:

  • Unrefined coconut oil (which you definitely want for health benefits) melts at 76°F and smokes at 350°F.  It is is not good for very high temperature frying but good for lower temperature sautéing.
  • Great in soups, stews, curries, and very light heat stir fries.
  • Wonderful for baking cookies, cakes and pies and chocolate making.
  • Simply add a spoonful on top of your porridge instead of butter, or on your potatoes or vegetables.

It is slow to oxidize so is resistant to rancidity.  It will last up to two years due to its high saturated fat content. It is best stored in solid form below 76°F.

Make sure you buy organic unrefined coconut oil as many commercial coconut oils are refined, bleached, and deodorized containing chemicals. This is my favorite: Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

Sesame oil is very high in antioxidants.

5.  Sesame Oil

  • Sesame oil may be the oldest condiment on earth. It has a strong taste, so I often use it in oriental dishes.
  • The smoke point ranges from 350 – 450°F
  • Light sesame oil has a high smoke point and is suitable for deep-frying, while dark sesame oil often used in Asian cuisine (from roasted sesame seeds) has a lower smoke point and is unsuitable for deep-frying but good for light stir frying, or for making an omelet.

It is revered in the Ayurvedic tradition as having potent medicinal powers. Learn more:  17 Benefits of Sesame Oil.

The Highest Smoke Point Oil That I Do Not Use

Avocado oil has many benefits -- but for cost reasons -- I don't keep it in my kitchen at this time.

6. Avocado Oil

  • Very high smoke point of 500°F!  It can withstand the heat, and is full of healthy fats.
  • Great for sautéing, stir fries, frying, baking — and great in dressings too.
  • It’s expensive.

The Lowest Smoke Point Oil to Never Cook With

Due to its stronger taste and tendency to spoil, I mostly use flax oil as a supplement.

7. Flax seed Oil

  • Never cook with flax seed oil. It has a very low smoke point of 225°F.
  • You can use a little in salad dressing.

How Much Oil To Use? Warning!

Oil is essential in our diet. I even use in in my specialized diets and detoxes.

That being said, oil is a fat and too much can make you fat. One tablespoon contains 120 fat calories. Therefore:

  • I include just enough to get the health benefits or the necessary cooking effect.
  • I use the minimum I can in my healthy baking and even in my healthy chocolate.
  • I lighten many of my salad dressings simply by adding water to the recipe.

Enjoy!

 

Related
Why Olive Oil is the Healthiest Fat on Earth
Top 5 Fat-Burning Fruits
5 Healthy Replacements for 5 Unhealthy Foods

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free, eating and cooking. After testing and researching every possible healthy therapy on her delicate system she has developed simple, powerful principles which she shares in her recent book Eating Green and Lean, and as host to Care2 groups: Healthy Living Network and Healthy Cooking. She is the head chef at Real Food for Life, where she shares recipes and tips. Sign up for the Real Food for Life weekly newsletter or catch her on Facebook or Twitter (@DancinginLife).

124 comments

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10:33AM PST on Nov 6, 2014

The best fats to cook with are the high saturates like tallow, ghee, coconut and red palm oil, lard and duck are also recommended. They are stable under high heat and will not oxidize. Olive oil (if you can get true olive oil and not the adulterated kind) and walnut oil should not be heated.

6:47AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

Coconut oil o is so yummy

6:46AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

Coconut oil o is so yummy

6:45AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

I've avocados

6:44AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

Yes to avocados

6:44AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

Love olive oil... Cold pressed

6:43AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

Love olive oil... Cold pressed

6:42AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

Noted thanks

6:42AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

Noted thanks

6:41AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

Noted thanks

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