June 17, 2023

From grilling to frying to baking, oils are used a lot in our everyday cooking. And with so many different oils on the market, it can be hard to know which is going to work best for you and your needs. You may also be thinking, “Why does the type of fat I consume matter?” Replacing saturated and trans fats with healthier fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats is not only great for your heart, but also for your overall health. One reason for this is that saturated and trans fats are responsible for raising bad LDL cholesterol, whereas monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in oils can help lower LDL and raise your good HDL cholesterol.

One way to eat healthier fats is by using non-tropical vegetable oils for cooking and preparing food instead of solid fats like butter, ghee, shortening, lard, hard-stick margarine, and tropical oils including palm and coconut. When choosing an oil to cook with, you may consider its flavor, smoke point or refinement. Let’s discuss a few types of oils and what makes them different from each other.

● Olive Oil: Olive oil is rich in healthy fats with each 1 tsp serving containing 10 mg of monounsaturated fat and 2 mg of polyunsaturated fat. It is also loaded with powerful antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of chronic disease. With a 410°F smoke point, extra virgin olive oil is great for sautéing and roasting. Olive oil has a flavor profile of fresh herbs and fruit, so it also makes for delicious dressings and marinades.
● Avocado Oil: Each 1 tsp serving of avocado oil contains 10 mg of monounsaturated fat. This oil has the highest smoke point of 500°F and a neutral flavor, making it incredibly versatile. You can use this oil in baking, marinades, dressing mixed greens and pasta salads. You can also use this oil for higher-heat cooking, like sautéing and frying, without the risk of smoking up your kitchen.
● Sesame Oil: Sesame oil has a nutty taste, making it add fun flavor to a variety of things, including Asian-styled dishes. One 1 tsp serving provides 6 mg of monounsaturated fat and 6 mg of polyunsaturated fat. Sesame oil has a smoke point of 410°F, making it a great oil to use when cooking a stir-fry or sautéing.

Oils play an important role of our diet and are helpful to have on hand when cooking your own meals at home! Keep a few different types of oils stocked in your pantry for different cooking needs. For more guidance and ideas on how to incorporate oils and other healthy fats into your diet, reach out to a Hy-Vee dietitian to sign up for our Healthy Habits Menu or Weight Management programs. For more ongoing guidance and access to all the dietitian services check out our NEW Healthy You subscription.

Try this perfect-for-summer marinade for dinner tonight! It combines the protein and probiotic benefits of kefir with the healthy fats in olive oil.

Greek Kefir Marinade

All You Need:
¼ cup plain whole milk kefir
2 tbsp olive oil
Zest of ½ lemon
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
Pinch of salt and pepper

All you do:
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl or large plastic bag and use it for any produce or protein you would like to marinate.

Recipe source: https://lifewaykefir.com/recipes/kefir-marinades/. The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.