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Heart Health Myths Debunked: The Best Oils, Dressings, and Sauces

 

Would you rather live clear-headed, energetic, and ready to take on the day? Or slow, sluggish, and lacking the motivation to even get out of bed?

In order to maximize your body’s energy, longevity, and overall health, it’s critical to get your fat facts right. But even us health-nuts could be eating too many nuts for the sake of “getting in our healthy fats.” 

Managing our fat intake is all about a balanced ratio between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Recent research is finding that we’re eating a frightening ratio of up to 1-to-25 of Omega-3 to 6—that’s no good!

By simply focusing on this balance and getting the ratio down to even a 1-to-4 relationship will boost your long-term health, lower your inflammation, and reduce your risk of mortality up to 70%!

Throughout this month, I’ve been debunking heart-health myths that everyone falls susceptible to and help you distinguish what is legit and what is not. 

Today, we’re diving into one of my favorite topics—oils and condiments.

If you’ve been asking questions as you venture down the sauce aisle, allow me to clear up the confusion and point you in the proper direction toward healthy condiments and oils you can use every day. 

Heal with Healthy Oils: 5 Go-To’s for Everyday Cooking

Bad oils are rampant in our food supplies. They lead to a load of health issues, including cancers, high blood pressure, obesity, strokes, and heart attacks. We can’t get rid of bad ingredients completely in every single meal, but here are the five basic oils you should have on hand in a healthy kitchen. 

Avocado Oil 

Packed with antioxidants and good fats, avocado oil is as healthy as it is tasty. It’s full of Oleic Acid, reduces cholesterol, and improves heart health. Some studies are finding that it may reduce symptoms of arthritis and gum disease and decrease the production of harmful free radicals. 

Avocado oil is an excellent all-purpose oil. Because of its very mild flavor, it’s a perfect swap-out for vegetable oil and canola oil in baked goods and desserts. If your kids are dying for some double-chocolate brownies, you can make them a little healthier for them, and you, by baking them with avocado oil. Thankfully, this switch doesn’t require any confusion conversions. It’s a one-to-one ratio with other oils, so you can simply swap it. 

I love Marianne’s Harvest Brands avocado oil. It’s non-GMO and made from 100% avocados. This oil is water extracted from the avocado fruit without the use of harmful chemicals and solvents, making it a squeaky clean option. 

Coconut Oil

This popular oil has a long list of health benefits. It can boost fat loss, heart health, and brain function. Unlike many other fats, our bodies use the fatty acid chains from coconut oil and turn them into ketones, which have powerful benefits for our brains and may help treat epilepsy and Alzheimers.

Coconut oil has a very high smoke point, meaning you can push it to higher temperatures than oils like olive oil without it oxidizing. It can go from solid to liquid and back to solid and not become rancid, making it a super stable shelf staple.

Because of its high smoke point, coconut oil is great for stovetop cooking. And its slight coconut flavor can be a delicious addition to baked desserts. You can find organic coconut oil from brands like Simple Truth Organic at your grocery store. For the cleanest coconut oil, stick with ones that are organic and cold-pressed.

Grass-Fed Butter

It’s better to throw your butter substitutes in the trash bin. Stick with a stick of butter next time you’re baking. 

While butter gained a bad reputation back in the day, recent scientific reviews of over nine studies found that butter was not linked to heart disease at all. It even seemed to be protective against diabetes. 

When butter is made, almost all of the inflammatory properties are removed. Cow dairy’s inflammatory properties come from its proteins (the A1 protein molecule that’s really hard for our bodies to break down), and its lactose—but the fat from cow’s milk that’s used to make butter is almost void of those properties. 

Like coconut oil, butter has a high smoke point and can handle the heat, making it a great option for cooking and baking. But if you really want to get all the benefits of butter, you have to pick the right brand.

Find a brand that carries butter made from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows. It’ll provide more CLA which is good for your metabolism and helps prevent cancer, and it has higher Omega-3 fatty acids. Next time you’re baking, grab a pack of Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter or one of the many grass-fed butters available today. 

Ghee

Also known as “liquid gold” or “sacred fat,” ghee originated thousands of years ago in ancient India. Today, it’s widely spread across the U.S. and our morning toast. Ghee is clarified butter, made by gently heating butter until its water content evaporates and any remaining dairy proteins and lactose is strained away. 

Because ghee is only a liquid fat, many people with a dairy allergy can tolerate it. It also outperforms butter when it comes to its smoke point, making it great for a stovetop saute and an oven roast. 

Grab a jar of 4th and Heart Grass-Fed Ghee (they have some delicious flavors we love like Vanilla Bean, Garlic, and Turmeric), and enjoy ghee’s rich buttery flavors.

Olive Oil 

Olive oil is truly a miracle food packed with so many unbelievable health benefits. High-grade olive oil is loaded with antioxidants, offers strong anti-inflammatory properties, helps prevent strokes, protects against heart disease, and aids in weight loss. It also has anti-cancer, anti-Alzheimer’s, and anti-diabetes properties. 

Talk about being tough as hell, olive oil is the top dog. 

Unlike the other healthy oils on our list, olive oil has a low smoke point. Once it’s heated over 250 degrees, it starts to oxidize. If you love the rich taste of olive oil on your roasted veggies, just give them a good drizzle after you pull them out of the oven. Enjoy olive oil on your salads and in your sauces. 

The key to olive oil is buying the right type. Extra virgin olive oil has the highest of benefits. But the olive oil market is saturated with fraudulent claims, and many oils that claim to be “extra virgin” have been diluted with other refined oils. As a safe bet, grab a bottle of California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This brand is cold-pressed, is non-GMO, and tastes amazing. 

What’s the word on Palm Oil?

Palm oil is another healthy fat that can be a great option. The problem with palm oil is that it is not sustainable. Most harvesting of palm oil is causing deforestation today. So make sure if you are buying palm oil to look for a brand that’s aware of palm oil’s environmental impacts and is properly sourcing their ingredients. 

Clean Up Your Condiments: 4 Dressings and Sauces to Swap Out

I know, especially with families, condiments are key—those wild children can’t go a day without some sauce on their snacks. 

When shopping for condiments, it’s best to find options that are made with the healthy oils listed above. When picking between brands and ingredients, try to avoid these seven condiment culprits: vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, cotton oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, and canola oil

These highly processed oils are full of inflammatory properties and have been associated again and again with the growth of cancer cells, higher blood pressure, increased obesity, heart attack, stroke, and depression, water retention, and even violent tendencies. So swap out the following four sauces with healthier versions: 

Mayonnaise

A fat-filled condiment, mayo is usually made with a long list of unhealthy ingredients. Most brands use soybean oil as their main ingredient, and many others use another high Omega-6 oil like the ones we listed above. 

Mayo labels can be quite tricky. When searching the grocery aisles, making a healthy choice is hugely about knowing how to read your labels. Today, lots of mayo brands are advertising healthy oils (like avocado and olive oil) on their front labels. But a quick scan of the ingredients shows that many of these mainly use an unhealthy oil in their mix. 

So swap out your soybean mayo with Sir Kensington’s, which carries a tasty mayo made with avocado oil instead. 

Sauces 

Mustard, ketchup, buffalo, and BBQ sauces are next up. Not only are these sauces usually loaded with sugar and artificial flavors, but they also tend to use unhealthy processed oils as their base ingredient. When picking up your sauces, give the ingredients list a quick read. Make sure the list sounds like real food, not chemicals. 

I love the Noble Made brand. They pump out flavor-packed sauces that taste amazing and are made with clean ingredients you can pronounce.

Dressings 

Salad dressings feel like the trickiest on the list. After all, aren’t salads healthy for you? Well, if they’re topped with highly-processed vegetable oil, your healthy lunch just turned into an inflammation station. 

Instead of reaching for the big-brand dressings, find one that’s olive-oil-based and made with clean ingredients. Primal Kitchen carries a variety of great healthy dressings with ingredients like avocado and olive oil as their bases. 

Nut Butters 

There are enough nut and seed butter options available today to make your head spin. Many of them claim to be healthy, natural, low-calorie, you name it. But you can quickly narrow down the options and find the healthiest nut butter in the batch by picking ones with fewer ingredients. 

Nut butters can be made by simply blending nuts. The oils in the nuts create its creamy consistency, so any added oil is really unnecessary. My favorite nut butters are the ones that have dry-roasted nuts as their only ingredient. Check for brands like Santa Cruz, Justin’s, Crazy Richard’s next time you’re in need of a solid nut butter.

Shop for condiments with confidence.

Now that you know your way around the oils and condiments aisle, you can shop intentionally, knowing how to navigate through all the options. 

Whether you’re making a weekly run to the grocery store or getting your groceries on Amazon, use our tips to make informed decisions about the oils and condiments that end up in your cabinets.

If you’re hungry for more health tips, sign up for my free weekly newsletter and join our crew of health pursuers like you!

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