Thursday, July 24, 2008
Yoga Diet Food - Olive Oil
Earlier this week, we got to taking about the benefits of fat in our diets. Ayurvedic science advocates ghee (organic clarified butter), and most western nutritionists promote olive oil for good health.
I was under the impression that sauteing with olive oil was harmful due to the low smoking point. So, years ago I began using canola oil (recommended by the Okinawan Program) for medium to high heat. Saving the extra virgin olive oil for no or low heat.
A wonderful student, M.C., questioned this and looked into it further. She forwarded an article: http://www.oliveoilsource.com/cooking_olive_oil.htm touting the ability to heat olive oil to almost 400 degrees.
This caused me to look into it a bit further, and if you're interested here are some additional links to consider when looking at the healthiest fat available:
Tasty-looking recipes!! -- http://mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/NU00203
In summary, Dr Weil is a HUGE proponent of cooking with only olive oil. On the other hand, the Okinawa Program sites canola oil as the healthiest (pg 30). Chopra is a fan of ghee and olive oil.
So, what's best? Consider the smoking point. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=56 describes the importance of not heating an oil to the point of smoke.
In the end, it sounds like the answer lies in what type of oil and how it was processed to determine if it's wise to use with heat. A good rule of thumb could be: If the oil smokes in the pan, it's too hot.
My sister used to save her extra virgin oil for salads and flavoring after cooking. The "regular" olive oil she used when it'd be heated. Her reasoning was cost and flavor. Perhaps, without knowing, it was healthiest too--http://whatscookingamerica.net/OliveOil.htm.
Now time for some fresh whole wheat bread dipped in some herbed extra-virgin olive oil!