Need an Oil Change
Olive Oil continued...
The skinny on olive oil: Choosing an olive oil can be confusing.
Here, Heverling explains how to pick the best bottle.
Always choose extra-virgin. It's made from the first pressing of
olives, so it has the most antioxidants and flavor. Look for an oil that's
cold-pressed, meaning no heat was used during the processing. Think that's too
pricey? Opt for an inexpensive extra-virgin olive oil for cooking, then splurge
on a high-quality, unfiltered one for drizzling and dipping. "This adds
amazing flavor and health to your food — it's worth every penny," says
Go imported. Spain, Italy, and Greece are the biggest olive oil
producers, and their strict quality standards mean you'll get a better product.
Look for the words product of (as in "product of Italy") to
guarantee that the oil comes from that country.
Buy dark-colored bottles. And keep them in a dark, cool place, since
light and heat can turn oil rancid. Olive oil is best used within six months
but can last for two years if stored properly.
Why it's healthy: Canola oil contains the lowest levels of
unhealthful saturated fats of any oil, and it's also a good source of
alpha-linolenic acid, a heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid. The FDA recently
approved canola oil products to carry the health claim that it may reduce the
risk of coronary heart disease. Substituting it for other vegetable oils, and
canola oil — based spreads for margarine, can significantly reduce the amount
of saturated fats in your diet, according to a recent study.
What it's best for: Mild-flavored canola oil is the cheapest option
for sautéing and frying, and it also works well as a shortening or butter
substitute in baked goods.
Peanut and Sesame Oils
Why they're healthy: Consuming a diet rich in peanuts, peanut butter,
and peanut oil may be as effective in protecting against heart disease as an
olive oil-rich diet, according to a Penn State study. Peanuts contain
resveratrol, an antioxidant also found in wine that has been associated with a
reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. Sesame oil is a good source of
vitamin E, magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, and vitamin B. It also contains
sesamin and sesamolin, substances that have been shown to lower cholesterol and
protect the liver.
What they're best for: These oils have a high smoke point, so they
work best for stir-fries. Peanut oil has a bland, nutty flavor, making it an
ideal choice in dishes featuring nuts or when you want other flavors in a
recipe to shine. Sesame oil has a strong, distinctive taste. "I finish
Asian dishes with a splash of toasted sesame oil," says Krieger.