Weekly Wellness: Let's Eat Oil!
COLUMBIA- Oil can sometimes get a bad report. We aren’t supposed to fry things or use heavy oils, right? Well, that isn’t entirely accurate. Healthy oils can provide essential fatty acids like omega-3s, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants. Some oils can even have anti-inflammatory qualities! Olive oil, for instance, can reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about the Mediterranean diet…? This diet, particularly, is rich in healthy fats.
So if we’re supposed to be eating healthy oils, which oils are those? Consider adding the following to your grocery list:
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- avocado oil
- flaxseed oil
- chia oil
Now that we know which oils to eat, how do we eat them?
Here’s an interesting tip: eating oil with vegetables increases the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, E, D and K. Interesting, right? That means if you have a salad with fat-free dressing and no fat in the meal, you're not able to absorb these nutrients as efficiently as when you eat them with oil. This would be an opportunity to use cold-pressed olive oil (the greenest and highest in antioxidants) as your salad dressing.
For roasting, a standard extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil will work. These oils have a higher heat point, but it’s still best to use them over medium heat.
I realize that oils aren’t the only way to get healthy fats. We’ve heard the importance of eating whole-food, plant-based fat sources such as nuts, seeds, and avocado. And eating those foods is still important. But so is consuming the oils themselves… let’s face it. You will have to eat a lot of olives to equal one portion of olive oil.
So now the BIG question: how much oil should a person have daily?
The American Heart Association suggests consuming three servings of healthy oil per day for a 2,000-calorie diet, as well as five servings of nuts and seeds per week. A serving size includes one tablespoon of oil or vegan butter, one tablespoon of salad dressing, one tablespoon of nut butter, or two tablespoons of seeds or nuts.
Now you know how to eat oil! Go get oily!