Did you know that heat, light and air will all damage your cooking oil?  The more omega-3 (healthy fat)  fats in the oil, the less suitable it is for cooking.  These oils are better served at room temperature.  The heat actually changes the chemical structure of the oil and turns it into an unhealthy substance.  Therefore, store your oils in a cool, dark place.

Never let your oil start smoking in the pan.  This is bad.  The less time the oil actually touches the pan, the better.  Also do not use your healthy oils to bake at high heat (over 400 F).

Smoke Point:

The temperature at which the oil will start smoking and also turns into a harmful substance.

  • Olive Oil:  as low as 280 F up to 350 F depending on how it was made
  • Coconut Oil: 375 F

Oil Vs Fat

Most of you know that fats and oils differ based on what forms they take at room temperature.

  • Saturated fats are solid at room temperature
  • Unsaturated fats take the form of oils

Coconut oil is an exception to this general principle because it is an oil that is solid below 76 degrees Fahrenheit, but above that it becomes an oil.  Since saturated fats are less healthy than unsaturated, interest in coconut oil remained minimal until new research showed signs that coconut oil’s unique structure may be more easily dissolved by the body than polyunsaturated fats.

Comparing Coconut vs Olive oils

Both coconut and olive oils have great health benefits.  The two have unique features that make each have unique applications.  Coconut oil does not become rancid and is better at higher heat than olive oil.  It also can improve thyroid function.

Olive oil is more common, easier to find and therefore has a wider range of proven applications.  Olive oil is liquid at room temperature and is therefore better for salad dressing and other cool temperature applications.  However, it is a completely different kind of oil, composed mostly of monounsaturated fats.

Bottom line:

  • Use coconut oil instead of butter when baking and other dishes.
  • Use coconut oil instead of olive oil if sauteing.
  • Use olive oil for salad dressings and dipping sauces.
  • Use olive oil for warm cooking not hot cooking.
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils
  • Store your oils properly

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is an extract derived from coconut meat, the white and edible part.  There are two main ways to produce the oil.  It can either be skimmed from coconut milk, which is a mixture of coconut meat and water, or pressed directly from shredded and dried coconut meat.  Virgin coconut oil refers simply to oil made from fresh coconuts rather than dried ones.

Coconut oil contains about 66 percent Medium Chain Fatty Acids, (MCFA).  The main one being lauric acid.  Medium Chain Fatty Acids affect your blood sugar somewhere between a carbohydrate and a fat.  They give your brain energy without an insulin spike associated with carbs.  So in effect, coconut oil is a fat that acts like a carbohydrate when it comes to brain fuel.  In fact, MCFAs are directly converted into the preferred source of brain food in patients affected by diabetes or Alzheimer’s.

Fun Facts:

  • MCFAs do not spike blood sugar yet feed your brain.
  • The main MCFA in coconut oil (lauric acid) is converted in the body to become antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antiprotozoal.  Which boosts your immune system.
  •  MCFAs are easily digested and absorbed, thus putting less strain on your digestive system.  This is especially important for those of you with digestive or metabolic concerns.
  •  MCFAs are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.  This is good for those with gall bladder issues.
  •  MCFAs in coconut oil can actually help stimulate your body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss.
  •  Coconut oil is great for the skin and hair.
  • MCFAs help in prevent various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is an extract produced by pressing olives until they release oil. The oil is then purified and bottled. Depending on how the olives are processed determines the different grades of oil.  Extra-virgin olive oil is the first produced by squeezed olives and most free of contaminants, while later grades are darker and considered less pure.  The virgin and extra-virgin olive oils contain the highest levels of polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant.

Olive oil is a healthy source of fats it is 75% monosaturated fats and only 13% saturated fats.

Fun Facts:

  • Olive oil can help with cholesterol.  Studies show that it can raise HDL (good) and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • It can soothe the effects of ulcers and gastritis. It naturally activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic enzymes and may lower the risk of gallstone formation.
  • People living in Medertearren countries with most of their fats coming from olive oil have some of the lowest cardiovascular mortality rates.
  • The olive tree was first cultivated in 6,000 B.C. and a tree can live up to 600 years

Yours in Health,

Dr Brent Smarinsky DC