You probably think of butter as an unhealthy fat that should be avoided at all costs. But is it? Actually, butter is healthier than its replacements because it contains healthy fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that you will not find in alternatives, such as margarine. And some of the other cooking fats you avoid might be healthier than you think. What are they?
Types of healthy fats for cooking
As I just mentioned, butter is one type of healthy fat to use in cooking; real butter is actually not as unhealthy as many people believe. Margarine and butter replacements are much more unhealthy. Coconut oil is another type of healthy fat I use in my cooking. Coconut oil is commonly believed to be “bad” because it is more than 90 percent saturate fat; however, about half of the saturated fat is medium-chain fatty acids, making it easier to digest. Lard is also healthier than you may think; it is made up of mostly oleic acid, a heart-healthy essential fatty acid.
Ways to incorporate them into your cooking
Lard has a high smoke point, making it a good choice for frying crispy foods. I use both butter and coconut oil for baking and pan frying food, such as eggs. I use them both to coat pasta, rice and quinoa. Either butter or coconut oil can be drizzled on popcorn. They can also be used as spreads for bread or crackers. I have even used coconut oil to make my own, homemade chocolate; it can be used to make a variety of treats.
Unhealthy fats to limit or avoid
Although olive oil is not necessarily unhealthy, it is not the healthiest cooking option, either. It has a low smoke point, so if you want to incorporate it into your diet, it may be best used uncooked, as a salad dressing, for example. Margarine and other butter replacements are to be avoided, and the same goes for canola oil. Avoid any cooking oils that are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are easily oxidized by oxygen and heat, and can cause oxidative damage.
Butter, coconut oil and lard are three healthy fats that you might have previously thought of as unhealthy, and you might have thought olive oil and margarine were better replacements. Incorporate these healthy fats into your cooking in various ways, including those discussed in this article.
Healthy Cooking Oils
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Health benefits of coconut oil
Top 10 ways to use coconut oil as a beauty product
Healthy treats you can snack on guilt-free