Branch out with these healthy cooking oils


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Who wants standard oil when you can have a variety? From the palm tree to the olive tree, cooking oils have branched out over the years. Not only have oil flavors expanded, but health benefits, too, have made the following selection of cooking oils sought after by frying pans and health nuts everywhere.


Olive oil is International Coaching Alliance wellness coach Jennifer Connaghan’s pick for optimum cooking oil. “Olive oil is rich in antioxidants called phytonutrients polyphenols, which are anti-inflammatory,” Connaghan says. “Studies have shown a decrease in heart disease and lowering of cholesterol due to olive oil.” Cancer-fighting nutrients derived from omega-9 fatty acids are another healthy and noteworthy accolade of olive oil.


Coconut oil, according to Dr. Bruce Fife, reduces the cholesterol ratio drastically, making it one of the most heart-healthy polyunsaturated oils. Proceed with caution, however, when introducing coconut oil to your smoothies or frying pan. Initially it may disturb digestion, so start with 1 tablespoon a day and work your way up.


Sesame oil adds a tasty snap to many Asian food dishes, as well as provides your diet with some extra vitamin E. For a yummy vitamin E-antioxidant boost, try sautéing healthy favorites like spinach and tofu in sesame oil with a little garlic and ginger.


Indulge in flaxseed oil and consider yourself omega-squared (or omega-nined), as it contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These friendly fatty acids are essential in reducing inflammation, thus lowering the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and arthritis.


Walnut oil, much like flaxseed oil, is abundant in omega-3 fatty acids. Rich in fiber and shown to reduce stress, walnut oil also helps prevent the risk for coronary heart disease by lowering triglycerides. Go wal-nuts and drizzle some oil on your salad, or in a cookie or brownie recipe for a healthy twist.