Feeling Sluggish? Time For A Cooking Oil Change

11/15/2012 08:14 EST | Updated 01/14/2013 05:12 EST

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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Six Alternative Cooking Oils

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.

Vegetarian Sources Of Omega-3s