Updated: Sep 28
The types of oils that you consume matter to our health. This post covers misconceptions about fat, oils to avoid, and a healthy oils chart detailing types of oil, smoking points, and best uses.
Dietary fat has been demonized due to poorly designed research and for decades, we’ve followed high-carb, low-fat diets which has contributed to the rise in obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many other issues.
But when we look to wisdom traditions such as Ayurveda or the Mediterranean Diet, we see that people consuming adequate amounts of healthy fats actually have some of the lowest incidences of heart disease and chronic disease in the world.
Historically, humans have enjoyed ample amounts of fat in our diets in the form of meat and fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
According to Ayurveda, good fats are necessary to maintain a healthy body, lubricated joints, glowing skin, and a loving temperament. In fact, the Sanskrit word for oil is “sneha”, which is also the word for love. High quality ghee is even used to deliver medicine in the form of herbs and spices. Medicated ghee is deeply rejuvenative, increasing absorption into the body’s tissue.
“The higher the fat quality, the better your body will function. Stop and think about it: You have more than 100 trillion cells in your body, and every single cell should be constructed of high-quality fat.” ~ Dr. Mark Hyman
The highest quality fats are organic “virgin”, “cold-pressed” or “unrefined”. These are less processed than refined oils and contain higher amounts of powerful antioxidants.
The latest research tells us that seed oils (also marketed as “vegetable oil”) are highly toxic. They are refined from seeds using harsh industrial methods that include the use of solvents, high heat, and large amounts of mechanical pressure. They also contain fats that are oxidized or structurally damaged from these processes, during storage, or when heated while cooking. Consuming industrially processed seed oils is very different from eating actual sunflower seeds, or soybeans, for example. Oils To Avoid include…
Canola (rapeseed) oil
Rice bran oil
Partially hydrogenated oils
Safe Oils, Smoking Point, and Best Uses
Knowing the smoke point of oils is important because if these oils are heated to their smoke point, they produce toxic fumes and harmful free radicals.
For high temperature cooking, select cooking oils with a high smoke point.
Oils with lower smoke points are great for low temperature cooking, or adding to dishes and salad dressings.
Other sources of healthy fats include…
Small cold-water fish like wild-caught salmon, sardines and herring
Organic flax seeds
Organic hemp seeds
Organic chia seeds
Coconut & coconut milk