Here we are again with more about other healthy and nutritious oils to enjoy in your cooking! Much of this information is provided through research as I personally have not experimented with many of them. I love my olive oil and coconut oil, what can I say? But after researching these oils and learning their value, I may start exploring more in this world of good oils some more!
For part 1, visit here.
Sesame & Peanut Oil
Both Sesame & Peanut oils contain a high percentage of omega-6 (peanut oil has 34% and sesame has 43%), which presents a potential danger, according to accumulating research followed by Sally Fallon. She encourages strict limited usage. They are relatively stable and therefore appropriate for stir frying on occasion.
Recent research has revealed that too much omega-6 in the diet creates an imbalance that can interfere with production of important prostaglandins.34 This disruption can result in increased tendency to form blood clots, inflammation, high blood pressure, irritation of the digestive tract, depressed immune function, sterility, cell proliferation, cancer and weight gain.35
Read more here.
How to use?
Unrefined sesame oil can be used for light sautéing, or as a key flavor component in sauces or dressings. Refined sesame oil has gone through processing, and therefore loses a majority of its nutritional value, and thus is not strongly encouraged for use.
Toasted unrefined sesame oil works well for stir fries and Asian sauces and dips. A little dab will do you. Use toasted sesame oil as a rich, flavorful condiment, or as a key ingredient in marinades or sauces.
Try using just small amounts and combining with other oils to get a better balance of omega-3 to omega-6! Coconut oil, olive oil and sesame go well together.
Peanut oil is superior for distinctly flavorful sauces, marinades, light sautéing and Asian-inspired stir-frying or frying in general. Combine with sesame oil for good flavor. And it’s the oil of choice for oil-roasting all varieties of nuts — just add a little salt (the oil helps the salt stick to the nut).
How to buy & store?
Look for cold-pressed unrefined sesame oil (cold pressed produces the highest quality of oil) . Unrefined oil may be kept in the refrigerator for up to six months. Napa Valley Naturals (pictured above) is a good brand for sesame oil.
Buy cold-pressed unrefined peanut oil and store in refrigerator for up to 9 months.
Whole Foods provides the following information: “Palm oil contains significant quantities of antioxidants, including vitamin E, which help to protect against oxidative damage and free radicals. Red palm oil, a variety of this oil that is a staple in parts of Africa, has a wonderful rich flavor. The red color comes from high levels of carotenes (antioxidants like those found in carrots that give them their orange color).”
Sally Fallon says: “Red palm oil has a strong taste that most will find disagreeable – although it is used extensively throughout Africa – but clarified palm oil, which is tasteless and white in color, was formely used as shortening and in the production of commercial French fries…the saturated fat scare has forced manufacturers to abandon these safe and healthy oils in favor of hydrogenated soybean, corn, canola and cottonseed oils.”
How to buy?
Read labels carefully! Make sure it is harvested in environmentally friendly manners. Many farmers have destroyed sensitive landscape for palm plantations. Best choice is red palm oil for increased antioxidants, but more difficult to find. Wilderness Family Naturals is a good source for all natural palm oil (pictured).
Vegetable shortening made with organic palm oil is also available, and is a healthier alternative to conventional shortenings. I understand that it works well in replacement of various shortenings and lards (i.e. Crisco) for baking and cooking.
How to use?
Like coconut oil, palm oil can be used for high-heat cooking, sauteing, and frying. Best for fish and curry dishes.
How to store?
Palm oil is extremely stable and can be kept at room temperature for many months. This means that it does not normally go rancid, even when heated for cooking or baking.
Most grapeseed oil comes from Italy, France and Switzerland and is extracted from the seeds of grapes, a byproduct of the wine-making industry. Please note that grapeseed oil contains 75% omega-6, which may be a potential health danger (see also sesame & peanut oil in this respect).
According to Mary Enig, PhD, “Grapeseed oil contains phenols that raise the smoke point. However it is very high in omega-6 fatty acids, so it not a good choice for our diets–we need to avoid excess omega-6 fatty acids as much as possible. Also, grapeseed oil is industrially processed with hexane and other carcinogenic solvents, and traces will remain in the oil.”
Good quality grapeseed oil in small amounts can be used along with olive, walnut and avocado oil on salads, raw veggies and in dips, sauces and salsas. Mix it with garlic and basil and rub it into French bread then lightly toast and top with grated cheese. Because it is a light oil, it holds flavors beautifully.
Grapeseed oil has excellent emulsification properties, which makes it ideal for salad dressings that do not cloud when chilled or whipped mayonnaise and dressings that do not separate when chilled. Napa Valley Naturals is a good source.
Flaxseed contains a high amount of omega-3 content, which provides a remedy for the omega-6/omega-3 imbalance that is very prevalent in the American diet. Keeping a proper balance is the key. The oil of the flaxseed is rich in vitamins A, B-1, B-2, D, and E, lecithin and phosphatides that assist in fat digestion, and most of the major and trace minerals. Flaxseed oil has been found helpful in arthritis, in asthma relief, in preventing colon and breast cancer, in improving moods, in PMS, in producing healthier skin, in diminishing allergic responses, and the list goes on.
How to use?
Flaxseed oil is used more as a supplement rather than a cooking oil. It is best assimilated when thoroughly mixed with cottage cheese. Flaxseed oil can be used in shakes, in vegetable juice drinks, or in salad dressings.
How to buy & store?
Buy cold pressed flaxseed oil in small quantities, and store in refrigerator or freezer, as it goes rancid quickly.
As flaxseed oil is more costly than the regular flaxseeds (for example, 3 1/3 Tbsp seeds at $.15 provide the same amount of fat as 1 Tbsp oil at $.45), I normally stick my cooking to use of the seeds. Flaxseeds are very cheap and contain soluble fiber which assists in regulating cholesterol levels. Again, they are the highest known source of linolenic acid, the omega-3 essential fatty acid that is commonly lacking in the diet of most Americans. We use ground flaxseeds in smoothies, breads, pancakes, oatmeal, and over fruit and yogurt.
The best oils from my research prove to be olive oil, coconut oil, red palm oil, and flaxseed oil. Cold pressed and unrefined, if it can be found, is the best option for receiving the highest quality of oil without the lose of any nutritional value. They cover all the bases for cooking uses, good balance and nutrition! Due to their high omega-6 content, grapeseed, peanut and sesame oil use should be strictly limited. Above all, keep all oils stored in a cool, dark place and tightly sealed (although flaxseed, grapeseed, sesame & peanut oils should be stored in the refrigerator). Purchasing in smaller quantities is recommended unless you have the refrigerator space to store larger quantities.
Sue Gregg’s Breakfast Cookbook