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Meghan Jessiman

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Feeling Sluggish? Time For A Cooking Oil Change

Posted: 11/15/2012 12:00 am

The fear of dietary fat finally seems to be subsiding in North American culture and this is a very good thing. The bottom line of weight loss is this: if you want to lose fat, you need to consume some of it. The trick though, is making sure the fat you consume is the right kind and that you don't go overboard when it comes to the amount.

In terms of oils, most health conscious consumers are on board with the notion, "canola and vegetable bad, extra virgin olive and coconut good." The labelling of coconut oil as a "superfood" a couple years ago (mostly thanks to the Paleo Diet movement) opened the door for a number of different specialty oils to make their way into the marketplace and expose consumers to an array of new ways to hit their targets for healthy fats and get a decent hit of antioxidants and micronutrients while they were at it.

It seems like there are new varietals hitting the shelves everyday -- flavoured oils are hot right now -- but here's the rundown on a few you might want to consider adding to your pantry.

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  • Grapeseed Oil

    Extremely light in flavour, grapeseed oil is an ideal substitute for traditional canola in baked goods like muffins and cookies. Of course, coconut oil and butter also do the trick, but for those who don't like the slightly tropical flavour it gives the goodies, grapeseed rocks. As a bonus, it also contains a compound called phytosterols which is thought to lower cholesterol levels.

  • Pecan Oil

    If pecans are up there on your list of favourite snacks, this is one oil you will want to try. Its slightly nutty flavour lends itself perfectly to salad dressings and the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in there actually help you to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) found in those veggies.

  • Red Palm Fruit Oil

    Due to its high smokepoint, red palm fruit is a great oil for pan searing your proteins. The powerful punch it packs in terms of the antioxidants, tocotrienol and tocopherols (vitamin E), as well as carotenes (vitamin A), also means you are reaping anti-aging benefits while you eat.

  • Pumpkin Seed Oil

    If digestive issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are part of your reality, your doctor may have already suggested pumpkin seed oil as part of your treatment due to its low saturated fat content and healthy balance of fatty acids. It has a rich nutty flavour that most people can't resist, yet is safe for those with nut allergies. Score!

  • Avocado Oil

    If the avocado fruit is no friend of yours, you can still reap all its heart-healthy benefits in the oil form. High in the good form of cholesterol, HDL, and vitamin E, this is one of the few oils that is equally beneficial when used cold or heated in cooking.

  • Flaxseed Oil

    If you aren't a fan of fish (or walnuts) flaxseed oil is a great option for getting your omega 3 levels up. It can, of course, just be taken as a supplement, but its also a great idea to add it to your salads in place of traditional olive or just throw a tablespoon into your smoothies when you are on the go.

Grapeseed Oil
Extremely light in flavour, grapeseed oil is an ideal substitute for traditional canola in baked goods like muffins and cookies. Of course, coconut oil and butter also do the trick, but for those who don't like the slightly tropical flavour it gives the goodies, grapeseed rocks. As a bonus, it also contains a compound called phytosterols which is thought to lower cholesterol levels.

Pecan Oil
If pecans are up there on your list of favourite snacks, this is one oil you will want to try. Its slightly nutty flavour lends itself perfectly to salad dressings and the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in there actually help you to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) found in those veggies.

Red Palm Fruit Oil
Due to its high smokepoint, red palm fruit is a great oil for pan searing your proteins. The powerful punch it packs in terms of the antioxidants, tocotrienol and tocopherols (vitamin E), as well as carotenes (vitamin A), also means you are reaping anti-aging benefits while you eat.

Pumpkin Seed Oil
If digestive issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are part of your reality, your doctor may have already suggested pumpkin seed oil as part of your treatment due to its low saturated fat content and healthy balance of fatty acids. It has a rich nutty flavour that most people can't resist, yet is safe for those with nut allergies. Score!

Avocado Oil
If the avocado fruit is no friend of yours, you can still reap all its heart-healthy benefits in the oil form. High in the good form of cholesterol, HDL, and vitamin E, this is one of the few oils that is equally beneficial when used cold or heated in cooking.

Flaxseed Oil
If you aren't a fan of fish (or walnuts) flaxseed oil is a great option for getting your omega 3 levels up. It can, of course, just be taken as a supplement, but its also a great idea to add it to your salads in place of traditional olive or just throw a tablespoon into your smoothies when you are on the go.

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  • Flaxseed Or Flaxseed Oil

    Flaxseed is one of the most highly-recommended plant sources for omega-3s. Ground flaxseed is a staple in my kitchen -- it keeps for a long time in the freezer, and because flaxseed is virtually tasteless, I throw it in all sorts of things -- cereal, oatmeal, smoothies -- to boost my omega-3 intake. You can use ground flaxseed goo as an egg substitute in vegan baking. Flaxseed oil has <a href="http://www.krispin.com/omega3.html#Supplementing" target="_hplink">7980 mg omega-3's per 1-tbsp serving</a>. <strong>More from Blisstree.com:</strong> <a href="http://blisstree.com/move/best-fitness-trackers-similar-to-the-nike-fuel-band-658/" target="_hplink">The Best Fitness Trackers</a> <a href="http://blisstree.com/eat/supplements/which-is-better-krill-oil-or-fish-oil-841/" target="_hplink">Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil</a> <a href="http://blisstree.com/feel/eat-for-your-teeth-omega-3s-could-prevent-gum-disease/" target="_hplink">Eat for Your Teeth: Omega 3s Could Prevent Gum Disease</a> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/alishav/3462217890/" target="_hplink">Alisha Vargas</a></em>

  • Chia Seeds

    Chia seeds are another plant source of omega-3's that I like to sneak into my diet. You can throw chia seeds into stir fry, salads, seitan, dips and more. Like ground flaxseed, chia seeds have a mild -- if any -- taste. But they'll add a dose of omega-3's and a slight crunch wherever they're added. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/notahipster/4998594527/" target="_hplink">little blue hen</a></em>

  • Hemp Seeds

    Vegan and gluten-free, hemp seeds also have the most essential fatty acids of any nuts or seeds and a perfect 3:1 <a href="http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/16637630/ns/today-food/t/nutty-hemp-hot-food-trend/" target="_hplink">ratio of omega-3 to omega-6</a>. They're also high in protein, minerals and rare polyunsaturated fatty acids like gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (SDA). Like flax and chia seeds, you can sprinkle hemp seeds into lots of different things. Store in the freezer to keep them from going bad. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/restlessglobetrotter/3425782783/" target="_hplink">Jason Rogers</a></em>

  • Perilla Oil

    Perilla oil comes from the seeds of the herb perilla. Over 50 percent of perilla oil consists of ALA, with about <a href="http://www.krispin.com/omega3.html#Supplementing" target="_hplink">8960 mg omega-3 fatty acids</a> per tablespoon (compared to 1680 mg omega-6's).

  • Cauliflower

    "Many people are not aware that cauliflower contains a good amount of omega-3 essential fatty acids, making this veggie great for heart health," says nutritionist Margaux Rathbun. "In addition to the omega-3, cauliflower contains other heart-friendly nutrients including potassium, magnesium and niacin." <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2390/2" target="_hplink">One cup contains about 37 mg of omega-3's</a>. To retain the nutrients in cauliflower, Rathbun recommends steaming it for no more than five to six minutes, then adding lemon juice and cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wordridden/4626951567/" target="_hplink">Jessica Spengler</a></em>

  • Hummus

    "Hummus is a vegan source of omega-3's," with about 300 mg in a one-cup serving, explains Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of "Cook Your Way Through the S.A.T.". That's because hummus is made with tahini, which is made from omega-3-packed sesame seeds. "Delicious, healthy, great brain food," says Freiman-Mendel. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/alga/3122887625/" target="_hplink">Albertas Agejevas</a></em>

  • Purslane

    Purslane is a salad or cooking green with a slightly peppery taste. It's got <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20487719_5,00.html" target="_hplink">400 mg of omega-3's per serving</a>. It's also high in <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2604/2" target="_hplink">vitamin A</a>, calcium, potassium and iron.

  • Brussels Sprouts

    One serving of Brussels sprouts contains about 430 milligrams of alpha-linolenic acid -- more than one-third of the <a href="http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI//DRI_Energy/energy_full_report.pdf" target="_hplink">daily ALA amount recommended</a> by the National Academy of Sciences. "These tasty little green veggies are loaded with nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids," says nutritionist Margaux Rathbun. "They're the perfect food for promoting healthy and beautiful skin. Try steaming them for about five minutes to keep all of the health-promoting nutrients intact." <strong>More from Blisstree.com:</strong> <a href="http://blisstree.com/move/best-fitness-trackers-similar-to-the-nike-fuel-band-658/" target="_hplink">The Best Fitness Trackers</a> <a href="http://blisstree.com/eat/supplements/which-is-better-krill-oil-or-fish-oil-841/" target="_hplink">Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil</a> <a href="http://blisstree.com/feel/eat-for-your-teeth-omega-3s-could-prevent-gum-disease/" target="_hplink">Eat for Your Teeth: Omega 3s Could Prevent Gum Disease</a> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/39975765@N05/6399983389/" target="_hplink">Mallory Dash</a></em>

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