I posted about how bad grapeseed oil is for inflammation the other day. One of my friends and blog followers mentioned how distressed she was to read that post, as she had just purchased a big bottle of it. She uses it to sear fish, and being a health conscious cook, avoids using other oils because of the problem with oils and their smoke points.
Using an oil with a low smoke point to cook with high heat breaks down the oil into something that is less-than healthy. Of course the problem is that an oil like grapeseed is not a very healthy oil to begin with. So I promised my friend I’d take a little time to research the best oil to use for high heat searing and cooking. Off the top of my head, I thought it was ghee, and it turns out I was right.
Butter is also a reasonably good choice, but the thinking is that because things brown in butter it’s also creating some of the bad properties you are trying to avoid, so ghee is a better choice. Virgin coconut oil is also high on the list of safe oils for eating and cooking. Ghee is better for my friend because she finds coconut oil less digestible.
If you are going to try ghee and don’t want to make it yourself, make sure you buy one that is truly made with butter and nothing else. Some products have hydrogenated fats in them. Same thing with coconut oil; buy virgin.
My house is vegan, so I hadn’t given much thought to the oil cooking question until the question came up, but now that I’ve done more reading, I probably won’t even use olive oil to roast vegetables anymore but will opt for coconut oil. Olive oil has a low smoke point and many people think even a little heat negates the benefits of the oil, so I’ll make that change. I am now down to having only virgin coconut oil and extra virgin cold pressed olive oil in my house.
Edit: I just read on a site that refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil but virgin coconut oil has a lower smoke point so I need to do a lot more research about coconut oil and its smoke point. I’ll probably stick with olive oil until I find definitive facts one way or another.
Edit 2: Go to this site to see the smoke point of all cooking oils. Unfortunately that list only lists coconut oil without making any distinction between refined or virgin, and its smoke point is lower than extra virgin olive oil, so I’m back to sticking to EVOO. It’s smoke point is 406F so I’ll roast veggies longer at a lower temperature.
This site has a great explanation of cooking oils and the dangers they present to your health. I almost fell over when I saw at the top of the list Evening Primrose Oil. Although the site explains that many people use it as a supplement, and if you’ve kept up with this blog you know I used it for years, it states that it needs to be refrigerated to avoid oxidizing and becoming problematic. All those years I took EPO the bottle sat on my counter under the kitchen window!
Second on the list was hemp oil, that I still have in my refrigerator and use as a supplement (that I’ll be flinging into the garbage when I’m done with this post) and fourth was grapeseed oil, that I ate almost everyday in salad dressing and on sandwiches in the form of Veganaise, a vegan mayo substitute.
I was a walking omega 6 disaster! I wasn’t even eating junk foods, where most people probably really overdo it. I thought I was eating healthfully! But being vegan was an added complication because I probably wasn’t getting enough omega 3’s to compensate for so much omega 6. My body was a ticking time bomb of inflammation!
I’m actually, now, happy the whole histamine intolerance bloomed. Inflammation is a killer, and I was probably in the midst of a silent, full on, major systemic problem that could have led to who-knows-what. I consider myself quite lucky.