Angie King is a Registered Dietitian and Clinical Nutritionist and has great healthy tips for cooking, our CSA food and for children. This is her first post and the topic will help us all to eat our CSA food with healthy oils. I plan to buy the last oil suggested because I have never cooked with it. Angie’s cooking tips will be posted this weekend. Look for more nutrition and health tips in future blog posts. Here is a little more about her and the work she does in New Mexico as the Gourmet Healer. Welcome Angie!
Amy Hetager, CSA Blogger
The Gourmet Healer, aka: Angie King, MS, RD, LD, lives, works and plays in Albuquerque and the surrounding area. The focus of her private practice, Gourmet Healer, is to empower individuals and families to take part in their own healing process by using Food As Medicine together with lifestyle and other therapies. Passionate about delicious food that serves the senses, the soul and the cells, Angie facilitates healing by teaching classes, holding workshops, providing Integrative Nutrition Therapy to individuals and speaking to groups interested in changing their lives with the foods they eat. Angie earned her Master of Science in Nutrition as well as the credentials of Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian from UNM. She also works for the UNM School of Medicine Nephrology Division as an outpatient Pediatric Clinical Nutritionist.
Healthy Oils, by Angie King
Most American diets are rich in pro-inflammatory Omega 6’s and low in anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s, which causes an over-production of pro-inflammatory compounds by the body. This can lead to the development and/or aggravation of cardiovascular disease, arthritis and asthma to name just a few conditions. Sound familiar? So, that’s the bad news. Here’s the good news:
More and more research is emerging that supports the delicious Mediterranean style of eating as prevention for major chronic diseases and complications. These can include heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, asthma and many cancers. One of the most important health promoting components of the Mediterranean diet, besides a high intake of fruits, veggies and whole grains, appears to be a high consumption of Olive Oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) has been shown in studies to prevent plaque build-up on the artery walls because it contains high amounts of the monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), oleic acid. In people who use it as their main source of added fat, LDL (potentially harmful cholesterol) particles contain high levels of oleic acid. The high oleic acid content of the LDL particles prevents them from becoming oxidized, or degraded. This is very important, because only when LDL is oxidized does it stick to artery walls and cause plaque build-up. EVOOs phenolic compounds have also been shown to increase the elasticity of artery and blood vessel walls, which helps to prevent heart attacks and strokes. This is all wonderful news because it means that we can enjoy our food AND prevent cardiovascular disease and other diseases at the same time!
Now you’re ready to rock mealtime with more EVOO, right? Great! BUT…before you start or continue cooking with it, you need to know this first:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil’s health promoting compounds like oleic acid and its rich profile of beneficial phenolic compounds are very sensitive to heat. They begin to breakdown when exposed to even moderate cooking temperatures, from 375 to 575 degrees. Additionally, EVOO has a low smoke point, which means it oxidizes (degrades and turns into cell-damaging free radicals) fairly easily, starting at 200 degrees for some varieties. Bottom line, if you’re cooking with EVOO, you are consuming potentially harmful, pro-inflammatory compounds.
So, how to keep this healthy oil healthy?
Do NOT cook with it!
Use a fat or oil with a high smoke point and add your EVOO after for hot dishes. And of course, continue to use it in cold dishes like veggie salads, pasta/rice salads, dips and spreads.
Organic ghee (clarified butter) is The Gourmet Healer gold standard for cooking. Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby… Saturated fats are more structurally stable and have a higher smoke point than plant oils (unsaturated fats). Meaning, they are Heat Stable. Use just enough to coat your pan, and when you need more moisture, add water or broth–or more ghee if you like. Ghee is known by the ancient science of Ayurveda to enhance the healing properties of foods as well as to aid digestion and cooling. Purity Farms makes an excellent organic ghee, which is fairly easy to find in health food stores, and increasingly in conventional stores.
As far as using plant oils for cooking, my first recommendation is to SKIP the corn and vegetable oils, which are very high in the pro-inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids. Instead, use an oil such as cold- or expellar-pressed Avocado oil. It has the highest smoke point of all plant oils AND it has a stellar fatty acid profile similar to that of olive oil. Also an option is expellar-pressed high heat almond oil because its fatty acid profile is also high in Omega 3’s and MUFA and lower in Omega 6’s.
For those who truly need the least total fat (such as in liver disease), add olive oil AFTER using this method from one of my favorite food and nutrition web resources, The World’s Healthiest Foods : Click here for a healthy way to saute.
Blessings and Good Health,