Wellness

4 ways to save your oils…and your health

Olive Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Hemp oil, Fish Oil, Safflower Oil, Sunflower Oil….if ANY one of these is lingering in your cupboards, please take 30 seconds to read this.

One of the reasons I’m biased towards Coconut Oil (and use it as my primary fat source) is because it is stable…and low maintenance!  Unlike monounsaturated fats (Olive Oil, Avocado Oil) and polyunsaturated fats (Fish Oil, Flaxseed Oil) which spoil quickly, saturated fats (Coconut Oil) do not easily react with natural elements or have the tendency to go “bad”.

Here are the 3 things that will turn your unsaturated oils rancid: 

  • Light
  • Heat
  • Oxygen

Frequent exposure to the above will alter the molecule structure of fatty acids and create free-radicals.  In other words, you’re turning something healthy into something carcinogenic.
But as you know, not all fats and oils are created equal.  The higher the Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) content (omega 3s and 6s), the more vulnerable the oil is to oxidation and spoiling.

Follow these steps to prevent your oils from going bad:

  • Avoid heat
    • Opened bottles should be stored in the refrigerator (especially EFAs)
    • Do not heat oils above their smoking point.  Flax, Hemp and Fish oils must NEVER be heated.  Olive oil can be used to LIGHTLY sauté (no higher than 320 F or 160 C).
  • Avoid oxygen
    • Store oil in tightly sealed containers
    • Buy oil in small quantities to minimize opening of a bottle:  Flaxseed Oil (250ml), Hemp Oil (500ml), Olive Oil (1000ml)
  • Avoid light
    • Store/buy oil in airtight, dark containers (black, brown or green)
  • Add Antioxidants
    • Antioxidants such as Vitamin E, beta carotene, herb extracts (from sage, rosemary, thyme) can be used to preserve the oil and slow down oxidation.  
    • For instance, squeezing a Vitamin E tablet in your Flax Oil (or other EFA) will increase its longevity.

We all need fats in our diet, but it’s the quality that counts.  So show your fats and oils some love, to make sure you get lots of love right back.

Danielle Binns, CNP, BA