If you already pan-roast your chicken in canola oil and adorn your salad greens with Italian olive oil, way to go. But just like your workout routine, when it comes to culinary oils, you should shoot for variety. By using an assortment of oils in your kitchen, you’ll be exposed to a wider range of healthy fats and disease-fighting nutrients and antioxidants.
It’s not as simple as drizzling a new bottle into the pan the next time you stir-fry, though. Certain oils are better for sautéing or baking, while others should be used exclusively for dressings and dips. Here’s the lowdown on what to add to your kitchen (store them in a cool, dark place such as a pantry cupboard away from the oven to prolong shelf life) and how to use each to keep your body a well-oiled machine.
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Greener than Al Gore, this earthy-tasting oil pressed from hemp seeds abounds in essential fatty acids such as omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, which may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to studies. Hemp oil also delivers gamma linolenic acid, an omega 6 that emerging research says can improve skin health by reducing conditions like roughness and dryness. Though hemp may bring to mind peace, love, and tie-dyes, the variety of hemp grown for food production contains virtually none of the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana.
Best uses: Hemp oil is too delicate to be heated, so save it for dips, pestos, and dressings—anywhere you would use extra-virgin olive oil.
Try: Manitoba Harvest Certified Organic Hemp Oil (manitobaharvest.com)