Rather you are an athlete or the average Joe, health should always be number one on your list and lets face it we all have a bottle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) lying in the kitchen somewhere. But did you know you should not be cooking with extra virgin olive oil? Now your scratching your head thinking is this guy crazy? Olive oil is healthy! Well you are right it is extremely healthy for you when served cold. All types of olive oils contain large amounts of monounsaturated fats. In fact 70-80% of total fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated.
The problem with heating oils with high amounts of MUFAs is they have low smoking points and cannot withstand a large amount of heat. Heats greater than 200-250 degrees F (93-121 degrees C) damage can begin to occur. Olive oil and the MUFAs found in it have been subject to many studies when it comes to insulin resistance, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Recent studies have made it clear that the oleic acid can directly alter the activity of certain cancer genes and appears to have anti-cancer effects that may be part of the Mediterranean diet's health benefits. Apply heat to these oils and you destroy the phenol's (chemical compounds) of the MUFA's important beneficial properties. Use olive oil on cold dishes like salads, steamed vegetables, or breads to conserve its beneficial nutrients. When cooking you can use the following as a safe and healthy alternative.
Grape seed oil - Grape seed oil is a great source of essential fatty acids, with approximately 69% of the fat coming from omega-6 fats and 15% from omega-8 fats. You will benefit well from the high level of antioxidants found in grape seed oil as well. With a high smoking point unlike olive oil, grape seed oil is among the highest smoking point of any cooking oil and can be used to fry foods like stir-fries and sautes.
Peanut Oil - Peanut oil is another oil containing great nutritional value. It contains all 3 types of fats; saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated in a positive ratio of (18: 49: 33). Similar to grape seed oil it contains resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant, which has been found to have protective function against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease and viral/fungal infections.
Peanut oil also contains valuable amounts of anti-oxidant vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen free radicals. I like to use peanut oil for deep frying again due to its high smoking point.
Coconut Oil - Last but not least and one of my favorites, coconut oil. Many people believe coconut oil to be bad for you because it contains high amounts of saturated fats, which is true but these are medium chain triglycerides which your body handles differently than regular saturated fats. Your body will use them immediately for energy which is why coconut water and oils are known for accelerating metabolism.
Thus they do not pose the same health threats as typical saturated fats do. Multiple studies on Pacific Island populations who consumed 30 to 60% of their caloric intake from fully saturated coconut oil have all shown nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease! So with benefits like; improved hearth health, increased thyroid activity, increase in metabolism, and strong immune system support, this oils should be mandatory in your kitchen. Cooking shrimp or fish with coconut oil adds a unique flavor and do not be scared to eat this oil cold with its sweet flavor.
Like I said health is vital to anybody and variety is the key. Do not just stick to one type of oil rather make dishes that contain each of them. I keep all 4 of these types of oil in my kitchen at all times and enjoy cooking with them very much. Be sure to look for my recipe videos coming soon which will include each of these oils!