For Salads + Drizzling: Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Macadamia Oil
Olive oil is the main oil consumed in the Mediterranean diet, with the potential to reduce cardiovascular disease risk due to components such as its high, beneficial monounsaturated fat content, which you’ll also get from macadamia oil.
But skip the ‘light’ and ‘extra light’ varieties, both highly refined and low in olive flavour, not kilojoules. Go for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) instead; Produced from first-pressed, cold-pressed olives, its cholesterol-lowering properties, vitamin E content and rich, olive flavour are retained as it hasn’t been extracted with heat or chemicals.
The healthiest way to have you EVOO: On salads and drizzled over the final product of a cooked dish to bring it all together. Why? It has a low smoke point, so its fats can become unstable (think of them as going rancid), developing potentially undesirable compounds when exposed to high cooking temperatures…Although I do use olive oil for things like scrambled eggs, as these are literally cooked in under a minute on medium heat.
For Baking Muffins, Quick Breads + Cakes: Coconut Oil or Macadamia Oil
Because baked goods have a lengthier cooking time and require high heat, I like to bake with coconut or macadamia oil, as they both have a high smoke point, meaning their fat content remains stable and their health properties are retained under high temperatures.
I’m also a fan of macadamia oil because it has a higher ratio of omega 3 to omega 6, unlike most vegetable/seed oils – Worth noting seeing that the typical Western diet is too high in omega 6 and too low in omega 3; This is largely due to our high intake of omega-6 rich vegetable (seed) oils like canola, sunflower and corn oil in processed foods, which in excess can promote inflammatory pathways.
Macadamia and coconut oil also add a lovely nutty, slightly sweet flavour to muffins and quick breads – I love using either in homemade, healthy banana bread. Coconut oil in particular though adds extra moisture to your baking.
For Stir-Frying, Roasting, or Baking Veg/Meat/Fish Dishes: Rice Bran Oil or Coconut Oil
Rice bran and coconut oil have a high smoke point (rice bran oil for instance can be heated up to 250 degrees C before its structure becomes unstable), which makes them more ideal for cooking dishes that require a lengthier cooking time at a high temperature…They’re also less likely to stick to your stir-fry pan and smoke up your kitchen.
Some other reasons I’m a fan of rice bran oil: It’s made from the most nutritious part of wholegrain rice, the brown and the germ, rich in two unique compounds: ‘Oryzanol’ – a plant compound which can inhibit absorption of the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol – and ‘tocotrienols’, natural forms of vitamin E and powerful antioxidants.
If you find the taste of coconut oil overpowering in certain dishes (such as baked egg dishes), try subbing it with Alfa One’s 100% Pure Rice Bran Oil’ – slightly nutty but much milder in flavour.