So far, I mentioned some important tips for optimal digestive health including: “how and when to eat fruits” and “combining high-protein and non-starch vegetables”, as well as the “importance of water (when to drink without hindering digestion)”.
I would like to introduce another excellent food combining strategy: “Healthy oils and All types of vegetables”. What are Health oils for good digestion and how to combine them?
There are three types of Fats and they are; 1. Saturated fatty acid, 2. Monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), and 3. Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA).
Especially oils from plants (and fish oil) are rich in PUFA and are important to good health. This kind of oil can make an excellent combination with all types of vegetables and is also okay with high-starch foods. PUFAs provide essential fatty acids called linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acid (ALA). They’re essential because our body can’t produce them on its own; they must be consumed via foods.
However, to maintain good health, our bodies need both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. You can use different kinds of oils, according to cooking methods. Some oils are suitable for cooking others are good for salad.
When you’re cooking, you want to use oils that are stable, don’t oxidize, nor become rancid. Generally, saturated fats and MUFA are suitable for cooking, because they are pretty resistant to heating. On the other hand, PUFA should not be used in high heat.
Best cooking oils
- Coconut oil (Saturated fatty acid)
Be sure to choose organic, virgin coconut oil. This is one of the most popular oils in North America, because it has a good taste (natural flavor) and powerful health benefits. Coconut oil has a very high smoking point which makes it ideal for high heat cooking. When the room temperature is high, it becomes liquid. When it is cooler it becomes semi-solid, like thick hand cream. Both states are still usable and last years without going rancid.
I like to use this oil when I make pancakes and also for baking. I keep it in my fridge, so that it is always solid and scoop out when needed.
- Olive oil (MUFA)
Be sure to choose good quality, cold pressed, extra virgin oil for more nutrients and better flavours. This oil is good for salad dressings as well as cooking. Although, it is fairly resistant to the heat, it will lose its flavour with high heat. Keep oil in a dry, cool, dark place, to protect from going rancid.
I like to use this oil mixed with apple cider vinegar for salad dressing. I also like to cook with this oil for garlic pasta. Add some more after dish is prepared for extra flavour.
- Canola oil (MUFA)
Choose organic canola oil or Non- GMO (free of Genetically Modified Organisms). This oil is free of trans fat and cholesterol and has the least saturated fat of all plant-based cooking oils. A great source of vitamin E. Canola oil makes perfect for cooking and baking, because of its high heat tolerance.
I mainly use this oil for cooking and frying, because this is less expensive than olive oil.
- Avocado (MUFA)
Avocado oil has a similar profile to olive oil in nutritional value (high in vitamin E), texture, taste, and both are MUFA. Only it has a higher smoke point that makes it a better choice for cooking. You can use it for cooking (still preferably with low temperatures) as well as dressings. Choose one in dark bottles to prevent from oxidation.
My friend Margaret likes to use this oil for cooking. She usually buys it at Costco.
- Sesame seed oil (PUFA)
Sesame oil is a very flavorful oil that is used in certain Asian dishes. It has a high smoking point (in spite of being PUFA) and that makes it suitable for frying and sauté. It can also be added to Asian style dressings and dipping sauces. Since it has lots of flavor, you can add a bit into the dish after cooking.
I like the flavor of this oil and use it for both cooking and dressing.
- Flaxseed oil (PUFA)
Flaxseed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which the body converts into the omega-3s EPA and DHA. It has a low melting point that makes it only good for adding to foods such as salads, yogurts and steamed vegetables. To maintain quality, this oil should be kept in the refrigerator. Be sure to shop where they keep this oil in fridge rather than on regular shelves.
This oil is a bit more expensive than olive oil. Rather than only using Flaxseed oil, mixing with Olive oil for dressing may be a better choice.
Consuming “Healthy oils and any types of vegetables” is an excellent combination for optimal digestion. Healthy oils are usually contained in seeds and nuts (sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, chia seed, hemp seed, walnuts…and they are all PUFA) and you can find these in liquid oil form at stores. However, these oils are processed and one step away from their natural form (seeds and nuts). Besides using seed or nut oils, I recommend to add seeds and/or nuts on top of your salad, so that you are combining “Heathy oil and vegetables” more naturally.
All is well and all the best!