Making sure you get the good oil!

In my last post we cleared up some of the confusion around low fat products. Today I want to talk about good fats and not so good fats.

Hopefully you understand now that fats and oils are necessary for good health. We just need to choose the right type.

Most animal fats are ‘saturated’ fats, which we tend to want less of in our diet. Vegetable fats (usually in the form of oils) are generally unsaturated in some form, and tend to be healthier.

Avocados and almonds are really high in fat, but both excellent food sources of healthy fat, but also fibre and other nutrients. Oils aren’t all the same, however.

The first thing you should look for when buying oils is to see how they were prepared. Look for ‘cold pressed’ oils – those prepared without heating that changes the chemical structure and quality of the oil. If it doesn’t say ‘cold pressed’, then the vegetable/nut/seed has been cooked before pressing. In the case of olive oil the terminology will be different. Wording such as ‘100% pure’, ‘light’, and ‘extra-virgin’ are used. Extra-virgin means the oil comes from the first cold pressing of the olives and is really the oil you want to consume.

Storage of oils is important. Oils can become rancid when exposed to air, light and heat. Best to keep oils in your cupboard, away from the stove top. Re-using oils is really not a healthy thing to do, as they undergo changes to their structure with heat that make them less healthy to consume.

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