Written by: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
But there’s a common mistake many people make that can undo all of those healthy benefits. And that’s using the wrong cooking oil.
The type of oil you use in your cooking may not immediately come to mind when you think about your health, but it should. In fact, this small choice has a big impact on the level of inflammation in your body.
Most high-heat cooking oils – including vegetable oil blends, canola oil and even antioxidant-rich grapeseed oil – are extremely high in omega-6 fats.
In small amounts, omega-6 fats are essential to the human body. But in excess amounts – like those found in the Standard American Diet – these fats strongly promote systemic inflammation. They have been linked to cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative disease and other chronic conditions.
One of the reasons that refined oils like sunflower, safflower, peanut and others are promoted for cooking is because of their higher “flash points.” This means these oils can withstand higher temperatures before they begin to degrade. When an oil is heated beyond its flash point, toxic fumes and dangerous free radicals are produced (not to mention, smoking up your kitchen!).
The good news is that you don’t have to make a trade-off between a cooking oil that will stand up to higher temperatures… and one that is low in inflammatory fats.
There is a delicious cooking oil that’s extremely low in omega-6 fats. And not only does it stand up well to heat, it also imparts a rich, buttery flavor to your sautéing, baking and pan-frying…
Macadamia Oil: You Need it in Your Pantry
Next to coconut oil, macadamia nut oil has the lowest omega-6 content of all of the cooking oils. In fact, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of macadamia nuts is approximately 1:1. This fatty acid ratio is similar to what our Paleolithic ancestors evolved eating.
In addition to the low omega-6 content, macadamia nut oil also has a flash point between 410 and 453 degrees F. It remains stable and preserves the antioxidant potential that is inherent in the macadamia nut.
In fact, adding macadamia nut oil to your primal pantry doesn’t just help to reduce the risk of consuming oxidized omega-6 rich oils… it can also help to provide more antioxidant protection in your diet.
In addition to vitamin E (in the form of full-spectrum tocotrienols), macadamia nut oil also contains squalene. This antioxidant has been found to help protect the skin against UV-induced damage. It also assists the body in producing essential vitamin D and cholesterol.
Mediterranean Benefits of an Island Oil
Macadamia nut oil also confers many of the healthy benefits of the Mediterranean diet. It has extremely high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) – the healthy fats also found in foods like olives and avocados.
Take a look at some of the ways a diet rich in MUFAs can benefit your health:
Protect the Heart: A study of more than 3,000 men and women found that a diet rich in MUFAs can help reduce the risk of damaged cholesterol by almost 20%.
Reduce Belly Fat: A study published in Diabetes Care found that when participants ate a carbohydrate-rich diet, they accumulated belly fat and had lower levels of adiponectin (a weight loss hormone) as well as reduced insulin sensitivity. On the other hand, when the participants ate a diet rich in MUFAs, they enjoyed a decrease in abdominal fat, higher levels of weight loss hormones, and improved insulin sensitivity – all without exercise or calorie reduction!
Boost Insulin Sensitivity: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that six months on a MUFA-rich diet resulted in a 3% drop in fasting aglucose, a 9.4% reduction in insulin levels, and a 12% decline in insulin resistance.
Guard Against Cancer: A study published in Public Health Nutrition found that women getting the most MUFAs had significantly lower risk of breast cancer than those getting the least. Another study published in Cancer Causes and Control found that men eating a MUFA-rich diet had a lower risk of prostate cancer. What’s more, the higher the MUFA in the diet, the greater the reduction in prostate cancer risk.
Look for macadamia nut oil bottled in dark glass containers (Olivado is a brand I like). Store in a cool dark place, and use for sautéing, searing, and baking as well as for homemade salad dressings and sauces for a light, buttery flavor with a myriad of health benefits.
Read Kelley’s article about other good fats here.
Kelley Herring is the Founder and Editor of Healing Gourmet – the leading provider of organic, sustainable recipes and meal plans for health and weight loss. Be sure to grab Healing Gourmet’s free books – Eating Clean & Saving Green: Your Guide to Organic Foods on a Budget (includes 100+ foods at the best prices) and Eat Your Way Into Shape: Flip Your Body’s Fat Blasting Switch and Melt 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks (includes a delicious 7 day meal plan!). Claim your free copies here…
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