If you haven't tried beauty oils yet, then get thee to the nearest cosmetics aisle. The benefits of oils are endless. Not only do they hydrate and add sheen to skin and hair, but they also create a natural protecting barrier. And now is the perfect time to start experimenting with oils, as your skin gets seriously parched come Winter. From your scalp to your heels, see the many reasons why you'll love beauty oils.
Not all oils are created equal, so when you cook, it helps to know what to reach for. The amount of antioxidants and healthy fats vary widely in different types of oils. So, too, do smoking points, which are important, since cooking at a high temperature with an oil that has a lower smoke point can produce free radicals and damage the oil's nutrients.
When shopping for cooking oil, read the labels carefully and choose oils that haven't been refined chemically — look for descriptions like cold-pressed, expeller-pressed, organic, or mechanically refined — to reap the most nutrition benefits from each type, and check the ingredients to avoid anything that is hydrogenated. Find your favorite cooking oil below to see if you are using it to your health benefit, and then check out our calorie breakdown of oils to see how they stack up calorically!
Canola oil: Canola oil comes from the canola plant, a variety of the rapeseed plant that was cultivated to produce rapeseed that is low in uric acid, which has a bitter taste and which some believe to be toxic in high quantities. Canola oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce the risk of heart disease. If you're worried about canola oil's controversial genetically modified history as well as types that may contain low levels of trans fats, look for canola oils that are labeled organic.
Use for: The light taste and high smoke point of canola oil make it a great all-around cooking oil.
Coconut oil: The health benefits of coconut oil are hotly debated; while some claim that there isn't a lot of research to prove that coconut oil's high saturated fat content is worth it, others look to studies that have found that virgin coconut oil raises good cholesterol and prevents tooth decay.
Use for: Coconut oil has a high smoking point, so use it when you are cooking at a high temperature. You can also substitute the oil for butter in many types of baked goods since it imparts a flaky, buttery-like consistency — just remember that coconut oil contains more calories than butter.
Olive oil: When it comes to oil, extra virgin olive oil packs a nutrient-rich punch. It contains high levels of vitamins A and E for healthy hair, skin, and eyes, as well as chlorophyll and magnesium. But what most people know about olive oil is that it's high in healthy fats called monounsaturated fats, which help lower bad cholesterol levels and your risk of heart disease.
Use for: Extra virgin olive oil, which comes from the first pressing of olives, is great for drizzling onto veggies or in salad dressings, but not so much for cooking at a high heat, since it has a low smoking point; use virgin (from subsequent pressings) for cooking things at high heat, or opt for another oil.
Keeping your pantry properly stocked will help you cook your favorite recipes and explore new cuisines more seamlessly. Here are the only four types of oil you'll ever need.
- Oil for high-heat cooking: Keep neutral flavored oils, like canola and peanut, on hand for high-heat cooking, like frying. Canola oil is also essential in many baked goods.
- Oil for medium-heat cooking: Olive oil (not extra-virgin) is a great option for everyday medium-heat cooking, such as sautéing. It imparts great flavor into the food but has a high enough smoke point to make it an effective cooking oil. Olive oil can also be used in baked goods.
- Finishing oil: Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil to finish dishes and give a burst of fruity flavor. This is also best used in salad dressings.
- Exotic oil: If you like to cook meals from various cuisines around the world, it's handy to have a variety of unusual oils in your pantry. Walnut, sesame, hazelnut, and pumpkinseed oils are all unique and contribute strong flavors to dishes.
What oils do you keep in your pantry?
In an age when grocery shelves are stocked with everything from toasted sesame oil to coconut oil, here's a relative unknown that you may have never heard of: dendê oil.
This oil, which has a distinctive orangey-red color and a thick, somewhat opaque consistency, is a recurring ingredient in the cuisines of Southeast Asia, West Africa, and Bahia, a northeastern region in Brazil. There, the very rich, nutty flavor of dendê oil, or azeite de dendê, as Brazilians call it, is used to flavor fritters, sauces, and stews.
The ingredient is derived from the fleshy fruit pulp of the dendê palm tree and shouldn't be confused with palm kernel oil, which is extracted from the fruit's pit. Although it's high in saturated fat, dendê is prized for its antioxidants and fatty acids, and maintains a long shelf life. Have you ever cooked with red palm oil?
"But Bella, I already have oily skin," I hear you saying. "Why would I want to put more oil on it?" I know the concern; I've been there, too. Here's the thing, though: if you normally overload your skin with mattifying products made to reduce oil, your skin may think, "Oh, not enough oil! Time to crank up the production." Then you know what's next: mo' sebum, mo' problems. Using oils, on the other hand, can help regulate sebum production.
Over the next few days, I'll talk about cleansing and moisturizing with oils. Have questions or a topic you want me to look into? Leave a comment here.
Source: Flickr User Tétine
Yesterday, Burger King announced that all of its restaurants in the US and Canada have made the switch to cooking with trans fat free oils. The second most popular fast food chain also announced that all of its menu items, including baked goods, will contain zero grams of trans fat by Nov. 1 — earlier than the company anticipated.
According to a statement issued by Burger King, customers who tried the new trans fat free foods were either unable to tell a difference in the taste of menu items or felt that the products tasted even better. The hamburger chain attributes this to its two proprietary blends of three oils.
The company has fallen under criticism for taking so long to cut out trans fat oils: Both KFC and Taco Bell switched in 2007, and Wendy's a year before that. Number one fast food chain McDonald's is now one of the last to make the complete switch, promising a menu free of trans fats by the end of the year.
Essential Oils are made from the volatile and highly fragrant part of the plant. They are used in aromatherapy and are often referred to as aromatic oils or ethereal oils. They are believed to each have their own health benefits such as strong healing powers, so they're often used as alternatives to medicinal cures. Essential oils quickly penetrate the body through the skin and the respiratory tract, and they enter and leave with body without leaving any toxins behind.
Commonly, they are used in perfumes, cosmetics and flavoring. They are usually distilled or put through some kind of distillation process, but essential oils can also be cold-pressed (like oils of citrus fruits) or burned (for instance, made into incense). The most common essential oils are lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus; however, there are more than 400 in production.
'Tis the season for Hiking and trail running. There's a lot of beauty in these woods, but you got to be careful and avoid the poison ivy that lurks at the edges of the forest. Yes, it pays to know your enemy.
First off, it is the uroshiol oil on the plant that is the culprit and creates the horrible itchy, blistery skin reactions associated with poison ivy. While some people don't have a reaction to the oil, others may be hospitalized because their reaction is so severe. You should also know that even if you've been exposed to poison ivy and had no reaction, you are not necessarily immune to it. People can develop reactions at any time of their lives, so it is best to avoid poison ivy at all costs.
You will experience symptoms wherever the oil makes contact with your skin. First you will get a red, itchy spot on your skin, that develops into blisters. Once you wash your skin with soap and cold water, the rash won't spread. If you pop the blisters, the rash won't spread either, but the wounds could become infected so it is best not to pop them.
Many plants can look like poison ivy, so pay close attention whenever you're walking in moist areas. The rule "Leaves of 3, Let it be," doesn't always work. It can grow in groups of 3 leaves, with a larger middle leaf, but it can also grow up to 9 leaves in a group.
Want to know what to look out for, then read more
As you know, I have been pretty thrilled about all the bans on trans fat happening worldwide, but of course food makers are finding a way to still make food cheap and unhealthy, without the trans fat. Enter Interesterified Oils.
Being confused about it myself, I decided to look to Mr. Seth Braun, natural health expert and author of healthyfastandcheap.com, because he's really done his research on this new type of oil:
Food manufacturers are getting around the trans fat labeling by mixing small amounts of fully hydrogenated oil with liquid polyunsaturate oils and calling “interesterified oil.” They claim that fully hydrogenated oil is healthier. Since there is less trans fat, they can sell this product to food manufacturers for use in commercial dressings, baked goods, candies and anything else that used to have partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list.
In plain english, interestification means mixing fully hydrogenated oil with liquid polyunsaturate oil to produce a consistency similar to partially hydrogenated oil, which is the source of trans fats. The solution to the trans fat problem; from the manufacturer perspective!
So what's the moral of the story? Read those labels folks. Food makers are in the business of not only making food, but also in the business of making money. If it has interesterified oils listed, chances are it has trans fat too.