Anti-Inflammatory Cooking Oils, According to a Dietitian

NSCooking with oil is the foundation of everything we cook. (And often, the finishing touch, too.) It’s used to coat baking trays and pans before stacking veggies and proteins, is key to keeping homemade baked goods moist, and is used to make delicious salad dressings. Really, a well-stocked kitchen has at least a few cooking oils ready.

While cooking oil of course contributes to the taste and texture of your dishes, it also works behind the scenes to either increase or eliminate the nutritional benefits of your meal. Many of the heart-healthy cooking oils that line your local grocery store shelves are anti-inflammatory because regular consumption of them has been scientifically linked to helping prevent chronic inflammation, which can manifest in chronic disease and cognitive decline, among other health problems.

But not all oils are nutritionally beneficial. Some oils do the exact opposite, they actually contribute to inflammation in the body. Confusing, isn’t it? Here, registered dietitian Melissa Rifkin, RD, explains why not all cooking oils are created equal. Plus, check out their list of anti-inflammatory oils so you know exactly which ones work to support the body.

Why do some cooking oils cause infections?

According to Rifkin, one reason some cooking oils have been linked to causing inflammation is that they’re high in saturated fat — and no, that’s not the healthy kind of fat we love avocados for. Diets high in saturated fat have been linked to increased bad LDL cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States, which is why the American Heart Association recommends keeping saturated fat intake below 5 percent of your diet. general. .

These types of fats are primarily found in meat products, but Rifkin says there are two types of cooking oils that are particularly high. “Coconut oil and palm oil are both high in saturated fat,” she says. Surprised by coconut oil? For years, this type of oil has been popular in the wellness world and is believed to be packed with nutritional benefits. But according to scientific studies, it is … well, not the greatest. The best way to use this particular oil? Stick to using it as a beauty product and in moderation in the kitchen. Although it may give good flavor to certain dishes, using it as a main is not good for your heart.

As for palm oil, Rifkin says the main place you’ll see this sprouted oil is in processed foods. In addition to being high in saturated fat, palm oil is also known to contribute to deforestation. These are two reasons to reduce your usage.

Well, coconut oil and palm oil should be used in moderation. But what cooking oils can really benefit you? Fortunately, the list is much longer than two.

6 anti-inflammatory cooking oils

1. olive oil

Olive oil is the primary cooking oil in the Mediterranean, and Rifkin says there are absolute benefits to it. “Olive oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health,” she says. Besides being full of these beneficial fats, they are also a good source of antioxidants. Both reasons are why it has been linked in countless scientific studies to reduced inflammation. “Olive oil makes a great everyday cooking oil because it actually has a high burning point, which not everyone realizes,” Rifkin says.

Watch the video below to learn more about the health benefits of olive oil:

2. Avocado oil

You probably already know how nutrient-rich avocados are. Rifkin says a lot of the fruit’s nutrients can be found in avocado oil, too. “Similar to olive oil, avocado oil is rich in unsaturated fats, which are linked to reduced inflammation,” she says.

3. Canola oil

Canola oil is one of the most popular cooking oils in the United States, and although healthy eating often gives it a sideways look, scientific studies and medical experts at Harvard Health indicate that canola oil is just as healthy as the other oils on this list, it’s a good source. For healthy fats and antioxidants. However, Rifkin says this isn’t *as beneficial as the others* for preventing inflammation because many of its antioxidants are lost when processed. For this reason, cold-pressed canola oil is more anti-inflammatory than regular canola oil, which is processed using heat. Rifkin also notes that “while canola itself is not inherently unhealthy, it is often used in many foods that are overly processed.”

4. Walnut oil

Scientific studies have found that taking walnut oil regularly not only helps reduce inflammation (Rifkin credits these healthy fats again to the cause), but has also been shown to keep blood sugar levels stable. It’s no surprise how this nutrient-rich oil considers walnuts themselves particularly good for heart health.

5. Flaxseed oil

Now, you can probably guess why flaxseed oil is on the list of anti-inflammatory oils. Yes, it is also rich in omega 3. “Flaxseed oil, fiber, and flax lignans have potential health benefits such as reducing cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, autoimmune and neurological disorders,” an article published in Journal of Food Science and Technology.

6. Pumpkin seed oil

Scientific studies have also linked regular consumption of pumpkin seed oil to reduced inflammation because it is also high in unsaturated fats and antioxidants. It has also been linked to helping prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer.

Cooking with an anti-inflammatory oil is the perfect way to start your meal with the health benefits before you incorporate any food, and as you can see, there is no shortage of foods to choose from. Different oils work best for different dishes because they have different flavor characteristics and burning points. The experimentation is the fun part anyway! Play with the oils on this list and you’ll soon discover your new favourites. Your meals and your body with all of the benefits.

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