Harmful Oils to Avoid & Beneficial Oils to Include
Harmful Oils: Canola, Safflower, Sunflower, Corn, Soybean, Grapeseed & Vegetable Oils
Dietary fats and oils are hard to avoid, and shouldn’t necessarily be avoided- but this depends on the type of oil, how it’s used and how your body metabolizes it. We have all heard of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial, anti-inflammatory oils found in fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. Another form of fatty acids is omega-6. While omega-6 is essential (along with omega-3 since our body does not inherently make it), our current diet generally contains too much of it- by way of the abundance of oils added to the processed foods we are over consuming. Omega-6 sources include safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean and canola oils.
Canola oil (and other oils mentioned above) is a highly processed, widely used commercial oil that contains this omega-6 fatty acid. It also contains the beneficial omega-3 oils we need BUT due to its heavy processing in canola oil, the omega-3 and omega-6 content are vulnerable to the oxidation that occurs in this processing. When exposed to oxidation, omega-3 and omega-6 can actually damage blood vessels and brain cells. Yikes.
Look at the image to see the comparison of how these different oils are processed.
In excess, omega-6 oils propagate PRO-inflammatory processes in the body. And unfortunately, with the ubiquitous nature in which canola oil now shows up in everything from salad dressings, chips (yes, even “healthy” chips), baked goods, candy, fast fried foods, the amounts we are now consuming omega-6 is no longer in the traditional, evolutionary ratio to omega-3 of 1:1, it’s now closer to 25:1.
The implications of this increased consumption is still coming to light but some studies have linked the effects of canola oil consumption to Alzheimer’s disease and general neuropathology. It has also been shown to impact the microbiome and impede the body’s ability to metabolize glycerolipids (a building block of triglycerides, a component of blood cholesterol that when elevated, can increase risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks).
I think it is safe to say, if you have any of these harmful oils (mentioned above) in your kitchen that you use for cooking, you should throw them out and head to the grocery store and grab the healthy oils we recommend.
4 Oils You Should Have in Your Kitchen
You should replace the oils from above with our top 4 oils. At Myosyn, our chefs are only allowed to use these oils when making your dishes, so rest assured we always have your best interest at heart.
Healthy Oil #1: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Extra-virgin olive oil is an amazing fat for your body. It is high in monounsaturated fats, providing numerous health benefits, including an anti-inflammatory benefit. Many studies have shown the incredible benefits of extra-virgin olive oil. One study showed the powerful effects in mice and rats, reducing inflammatory pain better than a corticosteroid named Dexamethasone.
Extra-virgin olive oil also contains powerful polyphenols, one standing out above the rest, oleocanthal. This potent phenol has been shown to reduce inflammation within the body in many areas. Numerous studies show that it can help with preventing atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease - the number 1 killer of Americans.
Oleocanthal has such powerful anti-inflammatory effects it is comparable to taking a dose of ibuprofen with no side effects. Wow, talk about powerful and healthy. Instead of heading to the medicine cabinet for inflammation, it might be better to hit the kitchen.
Clearly, using extra-virgin olive oil daily can give you some great health benefits, including great benefits for the brain.
Some ways of incorporating extra-virgin olive oil in your daily routine:
1) In salad dressings like the majority of the side salads accompanying our main dishes
2) Drizzle over roasted veggies when they’re first out of the oven
3) As a butter substitute on popcorn, garlic bread, or in dips such as hummus
Healthy Oil #2: Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO)
Coconut oil has seen a lot of debate over the years. The research shows that virgin coconut oil (minimally processed) is healthy. It contains a large part of saturated fat, which was demonized for years. An article published in the New York Times 2 years ago, covered the main reason saturated fat got the bad name...the now known Sugar Association paid Harvard researchers a substantial amount of money to publish a review on sugar, fat, and heart disease research that was “handpicked” by the Sugar Association, downplaying the role of sugar and heart health while pointing the finger at saturated fat (you can see the link in our references).
Coconut oil’s fats are medium-chain triglicerides (MCTs). MCTs go straight to the liver and are turned into a quick source of energy. They also optimize the amount of calories that your body burns, helping with healthy weight (boosting metabolism). Some other amazing functions of MCTs are that it increases insulin sensitivity and improves cognitive function.
A randomized control study of coconut oil, olive oil, and butter showed that after consuming 50g of coconut oil a day for 4 weeks showed an increased level of HDL (the good stuff), similar to olive oil, as well as lowered the total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio - a good predictor of heart disease (the higher the ratio, the worse it is for your ticker).
Saturated fat is also more stable under heat, so use it for cooking at higher temperatures.
Bottom line, throw this baby in the oil rotation.
Virgin coconut oil is a staple for Myosyn chefs and they don’t reuse the oils like restaurants- which break down the oils composition and oxidize the components, causing health problems.
Healthy Oil #3: Grass-fed Ghee & Butter
What’s ghee? Ghee is made from simmering butter. It evaporates the water and then the milk solids are separated from the clarified butter. Ghee is sometimes used interchangeably with the term clarified butter. There is a slight difference between the two during the production process.
Butter was good, then it was bad...now it’s good again? In short, yes.
A meta-analysis involving over 600,000 people found there was no link between butter and cardiovascular disease, obesity, or diabetes. Eating grass-fed butter and ghee, as opposed to conventional, is important because it has more antioxidants, a better fatty-acid profile, and fewer toxins. Ghee and Butter also contain conjugated linoleic acid which is known to help prevent cancer and heart disease, all while optimizing your metabolism. These guys are also great because of their high smoke-points and stability because of the high amounts of saturated fat in them.
Another study found that ghee downregulates an enzyme responsible for carcinogenic activity in the liver and upregulates carcinogenic detoxification in the liver and mammary tissues of rats. With more efficient detoxification comes increased protection from chronic diseases such as cancer.
So ditch the margarine and other processed ingredient-laden substitutes and incorporate butter or ghee (back) into the mix!
Healthy Oil #4: Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is a great choice when cooking. It has a high smoke point and many health benefits because of its healthy fat and antioxidant content. Using this oil for cooking at higher temperatures is always a safe choice. This oil also improves skin health and enhances wound healing. But that’s just the start.
Avocado oil is able to optimize the health of all cells by increasing glutathione, an antioxidant that helps the mitochondria to work efficiently and to prevent mitochondrial damage. Mitochondria are the powerhouses in each and every cell in the body that are responsible for creating energy used by the entire body. So, as you can deduce, they are very important. When mitochondria are damaged there can be a plethora of problems that ensue in the entire body. Glutathione, is therefore a critical component in our health to help prevent disease and promote optimal health.
One study identified avocado oil as being able to repair long-term oxidative damage in kidney mitochondria with type 2 diabetic rats by increasing glutathione levels. While another study showed avocado oil improved mitochondria function and decrease oxidative stress in brains of rats with diabetes.
If you’re more about aesthetics, a study in rats showed a significant increase of collagen in their skin. Yes, collagen is what helps skin, hair, nails, and joints. Do we hear people clamouring to get their hands on this oil...we thought so.
Avocado oil also helped promote regeneration of the liver in rats when fed a high sugar diet that resulted in liver deterioration. It also showed to have similar health benefits to olive oil.