By Nicole De Coursy
6 good-for-you choices that'll add health and flavor to your cooking.
Smart women know they need some fat in their diet. 6 good-for-you choices that'll add health and flavor to your cooking.Smart women know they need some fat in their diet. "But moderation is key — all oils have about 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon," says nutritionist Ellie Krieger, R.D., host of Healthy Appetite on the Food Network. She suggests sticking to about two teaspoons of added fat per meal — and cooking with a variety of oils, since they all offer different body benefits. Here are some of the best kinds, plus delicious ways to get them in your diet.
Why it's healthy: Of all the oils, olive has the highest amount of heart-protective monounsaturated fats and polyphenols — antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory and anticlotting properties. It's also a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to lower your risk of heart disease, lengthen your life, reduce your odds of cancer and diabetes, and help you lose weight. Newly pressed extra-virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, a compound that acts similar to ibuprofen, according to a recent University of Pennsylvania study. Researchers say that a diet rich in olive oil may have pain-relieving and heart-health benefits similar to those of taking a low-dose baby aspirin every day.
What it's best for: Let extra-virgin olive oil's strong flavor shine though in salad dressings, on bread, or atop grilled meats, fish, and veggies. And (surprise!) you can fry or sauté with olive oil too! Frying isn't as unhealthy as you may think: "When you fry a food in olive oil that's heated to about 350 degrees F, a crust will form and your food will absorb less oil," says Nicki Heverling, R.D., program manager for the Mediterranean Foods Alliance. Just know that extra-virgin olive oil has a smoke point of about 385 degrees F to 420 degrees F — so keep an eye on the heat or else the oil will burn and splatter.