Back in the day, when common wisdom said that fat made you fat, many people wouldn’t touch certain oils with a 10-foot pole.
Different oils for your varying needs
Fortunately, we’ve now begun to realize how healthy certain oils can be, and how they can be used to serve a variety of purposes in our daily lives. We’re here to tell you that, yes, oils are awesome, and here’s what you should use them for.
Best oil for food: Olive oil
Olive oil helps fight against coronary heart disease, so it’s good for your health if you get a little bit of it every day.
Mixing 3 or 4 parts olive oil with 1 part red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar is a delicious and healthy way to spritz up a salad or fresh, uncooked vegetables.
Olive oil does have a fairly low smoke-point, which means that it starts to deteriorate when it’s heated to a lower heat when compared with some other oils. However, research has shown olive oil to be more stable than other seed oils, and it has the great heart health benefits that separate it from saturated fats, including oils from plant sources like coconut and palm oil.
Best oil for your skin: Rosehip oil
Rosehip oil contains both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which help your skin cells regenerate and nourish dry or scarred skin. Rosehip oil also contains vitamin A and other antioxidants, which fight skin damage from the sun and slow the development of wrinkles.
Best oil for your hair: Argan oil
Your skin isn’t the only thing that’s susceptible to drying out during pregnancy – many women report their hair getting drier at this time too. Pure argan oil has healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins, and it doesn’t contain any added ingredients, so it won’t damage your hair like products that use alcohol as a base might. Try rubbing just a few drops into damp hair and see if you notice a change when it dries.
Best oil for stress reduction and better sleep: Lavender oil
The scent of lavender calms the nervous system, helping you to relax, fall asleep quickly, and stay asleep for longer periods of time. Some studies have shown that lavender oil during a massage can result in a better mood than a massage without any lavender oil. Lavender tea is also often consumed to get rid of stomach cramps and nervousness. If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you’ll want to get your healthcare provider’s go-ahead before you use lavender oil or tea, just to make sure that it’s safe for you.
Oils: The bad
With all of these oils, we have a lot of great options to use in our daily lives. But there’s one oil that we should all try and stay away from: partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. This oil contains trans fat, which increases cholesterol in the blood, removes some important nutrients from the oil, and raises the risk of heart disease. Fully hydrogenated oils don’t have any obvious negative effects – it’s the partially hydrogenated ones that we should avoid. You can’t avoid all trans fats; instead, make sure that the products you buy don’t have this listed as one of the main ingredients.
As you can see, oils are helpful in so many different ways. They can also be natural, healthy alternatives to commercial products that contain additional ingredients or are more expensive. And despite their relatively new-seeming popularity in the public eye, oils have been around for thousands of years, and they aren’t going anywhere.
- “Healthy Cooking Oils.” Heart. American Heart Association, Nov 2016. Web. Accessed 10/26/17. Available at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/SimpleCookingandRecipes/Healthy-Cooking-Oils_UCM_445179_Article.jsp#.WfDJ_hNSyCQ.
- “Ask the Expert: Healthy Fats.” Hsph.Harvard.edu. Harvard University and The Culinary Institute of America, Jun 2012. Web. Accessed 10/26/17. Available at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2012/06/21/ask-the-expert-healthy-fats/#healthy-fats-cooking.