Healthy Cooking Oils to Have on Hand
Have you gone to the grocery store and notice all the varieties of cooking oils on the shelves? Do you avoid that aisle since these oils contain fat? Do you say to yourself that fat is bad for you? You may want to take a step back and reconsider. You actually need to have some fat in your diet since it plays a role in protecting your organs, ensures your cells are healthy in your body and keeps your heart healthy. Included among the healthy cooking oils are almond, grapeseed, hemp seed, sesame and sunflower oil.
Almonds grow from a tree that grows up to thirty feet tall. These trees produce either white flowers or light pink flowers. These flowers determine the types of almonds being produces. The white flowers produce sweet almonds, and the blue ones produce bitter almonds. The almond itself is the edible seed which is surrounded by a hard shell. While almonds are native to South Asia and the Middle East, they are now grown in Europe, Africa and California, with this state now growing the majority of the world’s supply of these nuts.
They make an excellent low-fat, low-calorie snack and are used in many pastry, pie, cookie and cake recipes. They are good for people who are on a gluten-free diet, and is a popular alternative to peanut butter. You can also use almond oil for cooking, which comes from the kernel of the sweet almond. It has many health benefits.
Your body needs Omega-6 essential fatty acids. Like monounsaturated fats, these fatty acids are excellent for your heart since they protect you from heart attacks by reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in your body. Since your body does not naturally produce Omega-6, you have to get this fatty acid from certain food sources. Almond oil is an excellent source of Omega-6.
Unlike Omega-6 fatty acids, Omega-9 fatty acids can be produced in the body. This also plays a role in lowering bad cholesterol and reducing triglycerides and reducing high blood pressure. However, since the body only produces a small amount of Omega-9, it is best to add almond oil to your cooking to increase the amount of Omega-9.
Almond oil is a major source of Vitamin E. Applying this oil to your skin is an excellent way to keep it smooth and moist by allowing the skin to maintain moisture. The next time you have sore or strained muscles from a workout at the gym, rub some of this oil on them. Along with the anti-inflammatory properties of this oil, you will find instant relief. You can use this oil the next time you do a facial. Put a few drops in your hand and massage on your face, concentrating on bags under your eyes and chapped lips.
Almond oil contains astringent properties which are effective in clearing up skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. Make an excellent facial scrub by combining three to four drops of this oil with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Take a cotton ball and moisten it with this mixture. Apply it to your face and other areas of the skin that are affected.
Almond oil is excellent if you suffer from dandruff or have a dry itchy scalp. Put a few drops of this oil on your fingertips and massage on your scalp. Even if you do not have dandruff, giving yourself this massage helps keep your hair healthy since your hair cuticles absorb it and helps prevent hair loss.
Only get almond oil that comes from domesticated almond trees. Ones that grow in the wild can be poisonous and deadly because they can produce hydrogen cyanide.
Grapeseed oil is a cooking oil that many people do not know about. Therefore, these same people are also unaware of this oil’s many health benefits.
Grapeseed oil contains high amounts of oleic and linoleic acids. Both of these play a role in reducing the levels of Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) in your blood. This is one of the main causes of high blood pressure and heart attacks. Not only does this oil reduce fat levels in your blood, it sets the stage for a healthy cardiovascular system by preventing thickening of the arteries and irregular heartbeat, which is known as arrhythmia.
If you include this oil in your daily diet, you are reducing the risks of having a heart attack or stroke. This oil also reduces fat levels in blood and helps normalize blood pressure. These fatty acids promote a healthy cardiovascular system by preventing the thickening of the arteries and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
Grapeseed oil is an excellent source of polyunsaturated fats. These are known as healthy or good fats. As with oleic and linoleic acids, you need healthy fats in your daily diet to lower your bad cholesterol. This good fat also reduces inflammation in your body and maintains the immune system so it can fight against diseases and infection. Finally, these unsaturated fats allow the phospholipids of your cell membranes to repair and grow cells.
Grapeseed oil is rich in polyphenols which also help reduce the risk of having cardiac disease. They also are powerful antioxidants which help strengthen the immune system and are important for your body to function healthily. These help prevent cell damage by hunting down and neutralizing damaging free radicals so they do not do any more damage.
Grapeseed oil is an excellent source of Omega 7. This is not a well-known fatty acid, because it is new to the scene. Promoted by Doctor Oz as a new superfood, this fatty acid, also known as Palmitoleic Acid, plays a role in skin care, treating skin ailments, membrane support and cellular maintenance. Omega 7 coats the lining of the alimentary tract. This prevents your stomach from damage from viruses, pathogens and bacteria, protecting your stomach from gastric ulcers. It has also been found to be helpful in the prevention of gastric ulcers.
The anti-spasmodic, as well as the calming and relaxing properties of grapeseed oil helps relieve you from stress. It plays a role in stimulating the brain and soothing the nerves. This allows your brain to be more alert when you are facing stressful situations.
For a calming bath, fill a tub with hot water and add one ounce of grapeseed oil to it along with two drops of basil, and 3 drops of lemon essential oils. This bath will not only refresh you and sharpen your senses, it will uplift you in mind and body.
Using Grapeseed Oil for Skin and Hair Care
Grapeseed oil contains a large concentration of Vitamin E. Therefore this oil can be used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions. Since this oil is gaining popularity for its benefits, more and more companies are selling lotions and creams that contain this oil. It is even a popular oil in aromatherapy since this makes an excellent carrier oil to dilute essential oils in.
- Grapeseed oil helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks. For best results, massage this oil two times a day onto your skin.
- Grapeseed oil is an excellent moisturizer. Since it is odorless, you can apply this oil to your skin after you take a bath.
It is an excellent way to give a healthy shine to your head. Massage grapeseed oil to your hair, making sure you get to the roots as well. Place a warm towel over your head and leave it on for 45 minutes to an hour. After this treatment, remove the towel and wash your hair with shampoo. If you do not have time for this treatment, you can run a few drops of this oil through your hair after you get out of the shower.
If you use blow driers, hair straighteners and/or heated curlers, rub some grapeseed oil through your hair before using. This will protect your hair from damage caused by heating products.
Native to Asia, hemp oil is made by pressing hemp seeds. It comes in a wide variety of shades of green, ranging from a light-almost clear-to dark green. While it does have a nutty flavor, "the darker the color, the grassier the flavour" (Wikipedia). Dating back to the Ming Dynasty, it has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes.
While it is associated with marijuana, studies reveal that tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which “is the principal psychoactive constituent” of marijuana, is not present in hemp oil (Wikipedia). Knowing this, hemp oil is one of nature's greatest gifts because it contains many nutritional and medicinal properties.
Hemp oil is a complete source of protein; 25% of this oil is made up of protein. The protein found in this oil provides the same amount of amino acids found in meat and eggs. This type of oil is excellent to include in your diet especially if you are a vegetarian. You need protein if you want to lose weight and the amino acids play a role in burning fat. You need to give your body enough amino acids in your diet not only for a slim body, but to protect it from genetic mutations and illnesses.
Hemp oil is considered to be a superfood since it is rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. All these fatty acids play a role in weight loss and maintenance. Rather than storing fat, they help the body melt it. People who use hemp oil in their diets are able to lose weight and keep the weight off. While it does decrease the appetite, you still have to follow a sensible diet and include plenty of fruits and vegetables and exercise in your weight loss program.
Hemp oil is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Including GLA in your daily diet may help lower the risk of getting heart disease. This fatty acid helps reduce and prevent plaque from building up and forming within the walls of your arteries. It is also effective in reducing high blood pressure. The GLA found in this oil makes it more effective than using flaxseed oil to prevent heart disease.
The GLA found in hemp oil also acts as a powerful antioxidant. It is effective in fighting the free radicals that attack your cells. Including this oil in your daily diet helps eliminate the bad cells and repair the damaged cells. These antioxidants also provide anti-aging properties. The lipids found in hemp oil helps to increase the moisture levels in your skin. This, in turn, minimizes wrinkles by keeping your skin smooth and increasing elasticity. Including this oil in your daily diet is also good for your brain health it that it can prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's from developing and reducing the onset of dementia.
Hemp oil contains vitamin E which you need if you want to have healthy skin. This mineral plays a role in preventing your collagen from being destroyed. Since it is easily absorbed into the skin, it protects your skin from sun damage due to ultraviolet rays. This vitamin is necessary if you do not want your skin to age prematurely. It is also effective in relieving the symptoms of and treating skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
“Like the skin care, massages with hemp oil products can improve blood circulation in the head and the brain” (seedguides). This oil is effective in making your hair thicker, treating dandruff, reducing split ends and reducing hair loss.
You can purchase hemp oil at your local health food store. While you can purchase this oil to use for cooking or as a salad dressing, there are a wide variety of products you can use. These include:
- Protein Powders
Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil which is made from sesame seeds. The oil has a light yellow color, a sweet taste and has a flavor similar to nuts. This is because, to retain the flavor, sesame seeds are normally roasted before the oil is extracted from them. It is a popular cooking oil that is used in many Asian countries including China, Japan and Korea. It is one of the oldest used oils, dating back to 3000 B.C. where not only it was used for cooking, it also was used as a medicinal oil.
Sesame oil is a natural blood thinner. When you have high levels of bad cholesterol in your bloodstream, your arteries get clogged up with fatty buildup. This causes high blood pressure because your heart has to work faster to move the blood through the arteries. This, in turn, can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Including this oil in your daily diet will help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in your body and helps keep your blood pressure numbers at a safe level.
If you are diabetic, you must include sesame oil in your diet since it has a Glycemic Index (GI) of 0. This number is associated with how specific foods affect your blood sugar. If a specific type of food has a higher number, people with diabetes should avoid that type of food. That is because that specific food can cause an unhealthy rise in blood sugar. With an index at the bottom, if you are not already using sesame oil, run to the local grocery food store and buy some.
Whenever you are outdoors for extended periods of time, you are exposing your skin to damage from Ultra Violet (UV) rays from the sun if you are not using a type of sunblock. “UVR rays are said to be capable of activating the release of free radicals in skin cells” (hybriddrastamama). Sesame oil acts as a powerful antioxidant for your skin cells because it helps reduce and eliminate the damaged cells. With an SPF rating of 4, this oil is an excellent natural sunblock.
Sesame oil contains healthy fatty acids. These acids are effective in reducing inflammation. This oil is a natural pain reliever for:
- Sinus Pain
- Menstrual Cramps
- Muscle Spasms
- Arthritic Pain
- Gout Attacks
- Joint and Muscle Pain
Sesame seed oil contains anti-bacterial-which helps prevent bacterial growth-and anti-fungal properties. Applying the oil to your skin can prevent cuts, scrapes, wounds and burns from getting infected. It is also effective in treating skin conditions such as acne, cold sores, psoriasis and eczema. This oil is effective in treating fungal conditions such as athlete's foot and toenail fungus.
If you want shining hair, rub an ounce of sesame oil in your hair and rinse it out after two minutes. If you have longer hair, you may need to use more oil. Not only will you have a nice shine to your hair, you can also protect it from split ends, breakage and reverse damage caused by hair color treatments and Ultra Violet ray damage. Note: If you have oily hair, you may need to use your regular shampoo after this treatment.
You can find sesame oil at your local grocery or health food store. Some brands to include for cooking include:
- Napa Valley Naturals
- Chosen Foods
- Spectrum Naturals
“Sunflower oil is a monounsaturated (MUFA)/polyunsaturated (PUFA) mixture of mostly oleic acid (omega-9)-linoleic acid (omega-6) group of oils” (Wikipedia). This oil is low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fat and high in polyunsaturated fat.
This mild, light tasting and non-greasy oil is just as healthy as olive oil. With three types of sunflower oil-linoleic, high oleic and NuSun sunflower oil-many people have been turning to sunflower oil for cooking and baking. Since this oil has a high smoking point, people prefer this oil for high-heat cooking. While the three main producers of sunflower oil are Ukraine, Russia and Argentina, It is popular throughout the world because of its many health benefits.
Sunflower oil is high in monounsaturated fats. According to the American Heart Association, “Monounsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on your heart when eaten in moderation and when used to replace saturated fat and trans fat in your diet” (Heart.org). These fats can lower the amounts of bad cholesterol in your body and reduces your risks of getting heart disease, have a heart attack or stroke. Sunflower oil is excellent if you want to have healthy levels of cholesterol in your body because this oil contains lecithin. This substance sticks to nerve and cell endings, preventing cholesterol and from sticking to the cells.
Your body needs Omega-6 essential fatty acids. Like monounsaturated fats, these fatty acids are excellent for your heart since they Also protect you from heart attacks by reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in your body. Since your body does not naturally produce Omega-6, you have to get this fatty acid from certain food sources. Sunflower oil is an excellent source of Omega-6.
Unlike Omega-6 fatty acids, Omega-9 fatty acids can be produced in the body. These two play a role in lowering bad cholesterol and reducing triglycerides and reducing high blood pressure. However, since the body only produces a small amount of Omega-9, it is best to add sunflower oil to your cooking to increase the amount of Omega-9.
Sunflower oil contains Vitamin E. Applying this oil to your skin is an excellent way to keep it smooth and moist by allowing the skin to maintain moisture. The main ingredient in many cosmetics and skin products is sunflower oil. Since this oil is not as sticky as other oils, you can easily apply it to the skin without getting that greasy feeling. This also allows the skin to easily absorb the oil.
Sunflower oil is a major source of Vitamin A. Ever since childhood we always needed this vitamin for healthy hair and strong bones and teeth. One of the reasons some children who have a delay in growth and development is because they do not get enough Vitamin A during their growing years. We also need vitamin A for healthy skin and good eyesight and to prevent eye conditions such as cataracts. Since this oil is high in both Vitamins A and E, your body is protected against free radical because these vitamins are powerful antioxidants.
Along with the antioxidants, several phytonutrients team up to help fight the free radicals. An excellent defense against wear and tear of the body, these include:
Choine: Which belongs to the Vitamin B-complex group andgives overall health to the body. It is an essential vitamin in preventing liver disease especially hepatitis and cirrhosis.
- Arginine: Which plays a role in wound healing, removing toxins from the kidneys, dilating and relaxing the arteries and maintaining immune and hormone function.
- Betain: Which is an excellent anti-inflammatory property. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis including sunflower oil in your daily diet helps reduce the inflammation that is caused by this disease.
- Lignans: Which play a role in regulating hormone levels, supporting the immune system, relieving menopausal symptoms, reducing the levels of Cortisol-the stress hormone-and improving prostrate health.
Sunflower oil contains zinc which allows our immune system to remain healthy. Zinc also plays a role in cellular metabolism which is needed for our bodies to remain healthy and for wounds to heal at a faster rate. Zinc also restores the senses of taste and smell. Have you ever noticed that food taste so much better when you can smell the delicious odors of your meal? If food does not smell so good to you, add a little sunflower oil to your meals.
Sunflower oil is a major source of folic acid which you need in order to have healthy cells. This acid plays a role in building new cells. Expecting women need this acid to help with the formation of the fetus and to prevent birth defects in their children.
You can purchase the above oils in the baking aisle at your local grocery store. It is also available at your local health food store. You can also order it online at sites such as Ebay and Amazon.
Even though the Omega-6 fatty acids found in the above oils are good fats, consume them oil in moderation. If you take too much Omega-6, it can cause an imbalance of Omega-3s and Omega-9s.
Note: Always talk to your doctor before you try any home remedy. Some herbs or oils may interact with medications that you may be already taking.
- Arginine (L-arginine): Heart Benefits and Side Effects
Biography of Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD
- Hemp Oil: Benefits, Nutrition, Side Effects and Facts
FREE DVDS & BOOKS:
- Lignans Health Benefits
Lignan benefits include: better hormone balance, improved cardiovascular health, and menopause support. Lignans are high in fiber, and are powerful antioxidants good for immune system support.
- 12 Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds and Sesame Oil
Once you learn of the health benefits of sesame seeds and sesame oil, you may just find yourself stocking up on this ancient condiment.
- Natural Oils as Sun Protection | Hybrid Rasta Mama
Sunscreen is old news these days! Learn why everyone is using natural oils (like carrot seed oil, coconut oil, raspberry oil) as sun protection.
- Monounsaturated Fat | American Heart Association
Monounsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on your heart when eaten in moderation and when used to replace saturated fat and trans fat in your diet.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol - Wikipedia
- Sunflower oil - Wikipedia
- Hemp oil - Wikipedia
- Lecithin Uses, Benefits & Side Effects - Drugs.com Herbal Database
Learn about the uses and potential benefits of Lecithin including dosage guidelines, side effects, interactions and safety/efficacy ratings.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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