When people get ready to cook a meal, the last thing they should reach for is butter. That's because butter is packed with saturated fat and calories, and is certain to foil a person's weight loss plans. Instead, many trendy weight management plans, like the Mediterranean diet, encourage people to use oils in place of butter whenever possible. Olive and other oils contain healthy lipids like omega-3 fatty acids and are lower in saturated fat than butter.
Recently, the San Diego Union-Tribune published an article explaining the many benefits of choosing oils over butter when cooking.
According to the news source, people who want to improve their cardiovascular health should choose oils over butter when the recipe can allow for it, because saturated and trans fats are not good for the heart.
"Unsaturated fats are preferred and include omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, omega-6 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats. A healthy diet contains a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in oils such as flaxseed oil, hemp oil, pumpkin seed oil and walnut oil. Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in corn, wheat germ oil, sesame and grape seed oil," stated the information provider.
More than just olive oil
The news source recommended walnut oil for salad dressings, desserts, and meat and fish dishes. This is a good source of omega-3s, though it can be pricey. The Union-Tribune also suggested hemp oil, which has a nutty flavor and contains vitamin E.
According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant, which may help boost the immune system. This nutrient can also be found in wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, tomatoes, almonds and some cruciferous vegetables like broccoli.
Grape seed oil is an interesting choice for stir-frying or sauteing, as it has omega-3s, omega-6s and vitamin C. The Union-Tribune suggested mixing this oil with rosemary and oregano for a tasty salad dressing.
Finally, try sesame oil, which can be used in a number of dishes including chicken, mixed vegetables and in marinades and dressings. The news source added that one benefit of this oil is that it has a rich and nutty flavor that does not become bitter or disappear when it is cooked at high temperatures. It also does not need to be refrigerated.
So try out these oils the next time you reach for the butter while cooking.