Back in the day, when common wisdom said that fat made you fat, lots of people wouldn’t touch certain oils with a ten-foot pole. Fortunately, we’ve now begun to realize how healthy oils can be, and how they can be used to serve a variety of purposes in our daily lives. There are many oils that can be extremely helpful for use during pregnancy.
To save you time, we’ve created a list of ‘superlatives’ to show you which oils are best for what occasions.
Best oil for food: Olive oil
Olive oil helps fight against coronary heart disease, so it’s great 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.
It’s also a great choice for cooking food in, though there’s a bit more conversation around that point, since olive oil has a fairly low smoke-point, which means that it starts to deteriorate when it’s heated to a lower heat than some other oils. Extra virgin olive oil, in particular, has an especially low smoke-point and should be saved for dressings and other non-heated foods. However, even with the higher smoke point, research has shown most olive oil to be more stable than other seed oils, and it still has the heart health benefits that separate it from saturated fats, including oils from plant sources like coconut and palm oil.
Coconut oil does get a special mention, though, because it contains lauric acid, a healthy fatty acid that raises your ‘good’ cholesterol, which can help balance out the fact that it’s a saturated fat. The fact that it’s a saturated fat, though, means that it should be used in moderation. Some people choose to use coconut oil in place of olive oil or vegetable when frying, sauteing, or roasting foods.
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 the products that use alcohol as a base can. Try rubbing just a few drops into damp hair and see if you notice an effect when it dries.
Best oils for stress reduction and better sleep: Lavender oil
Lavender calms the nervous system, helping people relax, fall asleep quickly, and stay asleep for a longer amount 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. And lavender tea is often consumed to get rid of stomach cramps and nervousness. You’ll want to get your healthcare provider’s go-ahead before you consume lavender oil, just to make sure that you aren’t susceptible to any side effects.
Oils are helpful for a lot of different things. They can be a natural, healthy alternative to commercial products that contain chemicals or are more expensive. Because your body goes through so many changes during pregnancy, it can be helpful to have certain oils on hand for a variety of uses.
- “Ch. 17: Nutrition During Pregnancy.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Apr 2015. Web.
- Pamella Mello Faria, et al. “Hair Protective Effect of Argan Oil (Argania spinosa Kernel Oil) and Cupuassu Butter (Theobroma grandiflorum Seed Butter) Post Treatment with Hair Dye.” Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications. 3:40-44. Web. 2013.
- Steven D Ehrlich. “Activation of MITF by Argan Oil Leads to the Inhibition of the Tyrosinase and Dopachrome Tautomerase Expressions in B16 Murine Melanoma Cells.” UMM. University of Maryland Medical Center, Jan 2015. Web.
- “Why is rosehip oil so good for your skin?” Kosmea. Kosmea Ply Ltd, 2017. Web.