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Q. What is the healthiest oil to cook with?

A. Relative to other oils, canola (made from the seeds of a yellow-flowered plant) and olive oils are rich in monounsaturated fats—the kind that help reduce “unhealthy” LDL cholesterol and boost “healthy” HDL cholesterol. But new research suggests that virgin (and extra-virgin) olive oils—those produced purely by mechanically pressing the oil from olives, with no chemical processing—have an edge: antioxidants called polyphenols. Naturally found in olives (in red wine and green tea too), polyphenols mop up free radicals before they can oxidize LDL (oxidation makes LDL even more damaging to arteries).

In a three-week study of 200 men published recently in Annals of Internal Medicine, those who consumed just under two tablespoons a day of high-polyphenol virgin olive oil in place of other dietary fats registered larger increases in “good” HDL cholesterol and fewer markers of oxidative stress than men who consumed the same amount of “ordinary” olive oil, which had a very low polyphenol content. Chemical refining processes remove some polyphenols from “ordinary” olive oils (often labeled as “pure” in the U.S.) and other cooking oils, says Maria-Isabel Covas, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a researcher at the Municipal Institute for Medical Research in Barcelona, Spain.

Bottom line: Virgin olive oil doesn’t just taste better than plain old “olive oil,” it’s better for you too. (Great justification for splurging on a pricier product, no?) That said, any olive or canola oil is a heart-healthy choice—assuming you use it as a substitute for (not a complement to) saturated fats in your diet. If cost is a concern, go ahead and use refined olive oil or canola in cooking and save the virgin oil for cases that call for a high-impact fruity flavor (dipping bread, dressing salads, accenting soups).
—D. Milton Stokes, M.P.H., R.D.

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COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

In my reserch, the best cooking oils are: organic coconut oil, macadamia nut oil and mustard seed oil,
then for salads: extra virgin organic olive oil. Stay healthy, no GMO!!!!
Andrzej Gruszka

Anonymous

07/24/2013 - 12:19am

Have you ever heard of GMO's? Your either stupid, ignorant or lying.

Anonymous

07/22/2013 - 5:38pm

GMO Sucks...stop trying to promote it..you probably work for Monsanto or something..

trying to sound all intellectual...

Anonymous

07/04/2013 - 7:10am

Coconut oil has a lot of saturated fat so No it is not the best, at all.

Anonymous

06/17/2013 - 9:41pm

extra virgin coconut oil is the best oil over all of them

Anonymous

06/01/2013 - 2:16pm

SAY NO TO GMOs!!!!!

Anonymous

05/30/2013 - 12:38am

My comment is on what another Anon said on the very first page of this forum. There's no way I could wade through 8 or 9 pages of the contradictions and complaints.
That being said, I've heard that coconut oil is very healthy to cook with and after trying it, I'm sold. It tastes great. I usually cook with virgin olive oil, but have also heard about the ramifications of heating it too much, thus negating the good qualities.
I'm no Scientist, but I know what I hear, which is GMO's are used for a good reason but are not good for us. I've also heard that people have died from cancers caused by handling products that produce GMO's because they worked in the evil corporation's labs and factories.
I've also been told by someone who is a scientist that the best foods for us are those produced right where we live; and by that I mean local farm products and local meats. If anyone needs to question what is better for them, a steak that came from an animal that has been given growth hormone drugs since it was able to take it's first step, or a steak that came from an animal that was raised on free roaming grass and seed, then it's time for that person to improve the gene pool by jumping of a bridge. Good Riddance!

Anonymous

05/20/2013 - 11:27am

im more confused than ever i know oil aintoils are not good for you but if you want to use one is it xtra virgin and sunflower i dont know

Anonymous

05/13/2013 - 5:57am

What our world needs more than anything is proper education of consumers. These freaks that spout statements that learned on anti GMO blogs, have no basis of science behind them. If they did they would understand that DNA is DNA, and is the building block of all things. Just because something is labeled organic doesn't make it automatically healthy. Also, new GMO will be able to have the highest levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, without the mercury worries of fish, and won't have that crappy fishy taste. Also, new GMO soybeans will have the same nutritional profile as olive oil without the price or that awful greeny taste. its gonna be a beautiful world....jump on board!!!

Anonymous

05/07/2013 - 8:29pm

Who ever says crops that are geneticlly modified are causes of all this illness is full of shit. Understand science first before you say anything about them. Most of our illnesses are self induced by inactivity and bad habits. Quit reading your freak blogs and read up on science dumbass.

Anonymous

05/07/2013 - 8:24pm

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