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Seeking Jess Vegan Nutrition

Is Oil Healthy, and if So, Which One?

Is Oil Healthy and if So, Which One?

Fat make up one of the three macronutrients. While there is a lot of opinions on the internet about how much fat we should be consuming, most organisations recommend the fat content not to exceed the amount of 30% of a diet. And this is mainly healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds. Oils should only make a small part of it, due to the fact that oil are very high in calories (9kcal/g) and low in their energy density.

There are some nutritional benefits such as vitamin A, D, E & K, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats.

Most of us like oil due to its taste and aromas. And let’s be honest, oils make so many things taste better.

But first let’s answer the question: What are vegetable oils?

Vegetable oils are the isolated fat component and thus an extract of a high fat plant such as seeds or nuts. In this process the fat component is extracted and only a minimal part of the valuable ingredients is kept as most of the nutrients are lost. The energy value of the extracted oil is also much higher compared to the actual nut or seeds. That’s why daily consumption should be kept to a minimum. Usually oils are liquid at 20°C and fats are solid.

Which oils are the healthiest and best for cooking?

Firstly, it depends on the quality of oils:

  • Cold pressed virgin oils: can contain more valuable nutrients compared to refined oils
  • Organic oils: low pesticide content, which is better for us as a consumer and for the environment
  • Type of fat: Saturated fat (coconut oil) – not the healthiest; monounsaturated fat (olive oil) – little healthier due to oxidation stability; polyunsaturated fat (essential) – need to consume through food, not that stable, but are the healthiest

Which oils have a high smoking point?

A high smoking point means that these oils can be heated very high. These oils are coconut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil and soybean oil.

What oil is best for salad dressings?

The best choice would be oils with polyunsaturated fatty acids such as flax oil, hemp oil or walnut (these should not be heated).

What can I do with olive oil?

You can moderately heat olive oil or also use it for salad dressings.

What else should you know?

You have to keep in mind that generally, speaking from a nutritional point of view, oils have less positive value than the product it has been extracted of. Hence, it is always better to use the food item in its whole form (flax seeds over flaxseed oil).

In case you have an underlying disease (such as cardiovascular disease), it would make sense to completely stay away from any type of oil.

Generally I would say that I personally try to avoid cooking with oil as much as I can, as I do not see that much nutritional value in it and I prefer the whole food over the refined one. But I try not to avoid it any cost, as for example most restaurants add oils to their dishes.

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Vegan Nutrition

SUPERFOODS – Top 6 foods you should be eating every day!

Superfoods, a term that most of us are hearing a lot lately.

But what is a superfood?

A superfood is actually a marketing term. It is used to describe a food, which is considered to have special benefits for the health and well-being.

Once in a while it seems like the market has discovered a new superfood, which everyone hypes about and everyone wants to buy and consume. Most of the time these products are much more expensive, than conventional products.

If it is the açaí berry or maca powder, many of the normal foods we can find in our supermarket have the same or even better nutritional value. 

These are my personal 6 “superfoods” I eat (almost) every single day:

 

1) Sweet Potato

If you are scared of potatoes (how so many people are), you shouldn’t be!

Why I love sweet potatoes so much is that they are so versatile, are super tasteful naturally (no extra spices are needed) and they only have 87 calories per 100g.

Also, sweet potatoes are high in dietary fiber, which can help for weight loss.

 

2) Blueberries (vs. Açaí berries)

According to Dr. Michael Greger: “one cup of blueberries a day can improve cognition among older adults,[…].And the same thing with kids after just a single meal of blueberries.”

Blueberries are super rich in in vitamins, soluble fiber and phytochemicals.

Phytochemicals have an antioxidant effect. Antioxidants are chemical compounds produced by plants, which help protect our cells from free radicals. And as a result this may help prevent the development of certain types of cancer.

 

3) Kale

+other dark leafy greens such as swiss chard, collards, spinach and cabbages.

These foods are full of vitamin A, C and K, as well as fiber, calcium, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium.

Vitamins A and K (as well as D and E) are fat-soluble vitamins, which means they are better absorbed when a fat source, such as avocado, nuts, seeds, or oils are added to the meal.

 

4) Beans

Beans are the best source for low-fat protein. Legumes and beans are literally one of the healthiest food groups out there and we unfortunately don’t eat enough of it.

They are also loaded with fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients and they are also packed with iron and zinc, which are minerals you’d expect to be in meat. But beans are so much better for you, as they are naturally low in saturated fat, sodium and they have no cholesterol.

Dr.Michael Greger suggest eating beans and legumes 2-3 times a day.

 

5) Quinoa

Especially, if you are active, quinoa should be a staple in your diet. I always have this grain at home, as it is high in fiber and it is also considered to be a high quality protein (contains more protein than any other grain).

It is also perfect for those of you who can not eat gluten, as this super-grain is gluten-free.

I like to have a combo of both, the white and the red quinoa at home.

 

6) Hemp Seeds

Why I love hemp seeds is not only because of the seed being a high protein source, but it is also a great source of Omega 3. It is essential for us. Especially vegans might not consume a sufficient amount of it while at the same over-consuming on Omega 6 (these fats are available more often in food than Omega 3).

It is important to eat at a ratio of 5:1, 5 being Omega 6 and 1 being Omega 3. The smaller the ratio the better.

 

What is your favourite?

 

With love,

Jess x