A simple way to make great tasting food is to pair together quality ingredients- right down to the cooking oil you’ll use. While vegetable oil and canola oil are household staples, add these four oils to your pantry for their great health benefits and amazing flavor!
Okay so maybe this first cooking oil isn't so unusual- but it's an oldie and a goodie. Olive Oil is the flavor of the Mediterranean. But don’t just cook with it, mix it with vinegar to replace calorie-dense store-bought salad dressings. A drizzle of olive oil over your hummus or on fresh-baked bread is also delicious.
Make an infused Rosemary and Garlic Olive with this recipe from playfulcooking.com, it's great for dipping baguettes in.
The smoke point for Olive Oil is 325 degrees. When it reaches its smoke point, the oil will give your food a burnt flavor and any nutrient value is destroyed. If you don’t stick thermometers in your food while you’re cooking, like me, then just keep an eye out for smoke.
When used modestly, Olive Oil is not associated with weight gain or obesity, says HealthLine.com. In fact, most of its fat content is comprised of Oleic Acid, which helps reduce inflammation. Making Olive Oil a great cooking choice for those of us who get sore after workouts.
Sesame Seed Oil
This is probably my favorite oil to cook with, but beware a little goes a long way. Whenever I make fried rice a drizzle on some sesame seed oil and it really warms up the whole dish.
There’s such a long list of health benefits associated with sesame seed oil, it’s surprising. The oil contains an exogenous antioxidant: sesamol. Our bodies constantly need Exogenous antioxidants, such as sesamol, to prevent oxidative stress.
Sesame seed oil also contains sesamin, a functional lignan, “which may have protective effects against hormone-related diseases such as breast cancer,” says scientists Fumihiko Sato and Kenji Matsui bioscience professors.
Functional lignans are cancer-fighting free radical scavengers that act as antioxidants. It’s also suggested sesame seed oil can lower your blood pressure, possibly because of its high Vitamin E content. Additionally, the oil is low in saturated fat and is cold-pressed instead of chemically processed, so it outshines other processed oils. Despite all the benefits, it isn’t nearly as popular as it should be.
The smoke point for sesame seed oil is 350 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit.
I mean, what better oil to use for a Thai Peanut Stir-fry than PEANUT oil? Surprisingly, this oil is low in saturated fats and high in monosaturated fat, phytosterol (a.k.a. a heart-healthy fat.) But peanut oil should be used sparingly.
“Peanut oil is very high in omega-6s and lacks omega-3s. In order to eat a more balanced ratio of these essential fatty acids, limit intake of oils high in omega-6s, such as peanut oil,” says Healthline. Which translates to adding a high amount of pro-inflammatory fat into your meal.
Peanut oil is a great way to add flavor from time to time. One chef even recommends putting in your peanut butter cookies. The smoke point for this oil is 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is pretty high, perfect for stir-frys.
Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil
Don’t stop at pumpkin pies and pumpkin-spiced lattes, add roasted pumpkin seed oil to your pantry this fall. Martha Stewart says the oil adds a delicious, smoky, earthy flavor to corn-on-the-cob and roasted vegetables.
Also, if you want your hair to look good for holiday get-togethers, you should probably start using pumpkin seed oil right away.
Healthline.com reports, “One study found that men who took 400 milligrams of pumpkin seed oil every day for 24 weeks actually had 40 percent more hair growth than men in the placebo group. No adverse effects were found.” Pumpkin Seed Oil was also found to relieve some symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes, headaches, and joint pain.
The smoke point for pumpkin seed oil is 250 degrees; so try adding it at the end of cooking or cook entirely on low heat.