As part of the annual CKNW Health Series, we’re taking a look at healthy eating habits.
All week we’ve been speaking with certified naturopathic physician Dr. Allana Polo about ways to improve your diet.
Today, Tim Dickert chats with Dr. Pollo about how to incorporate healthy oils into your diet.
LISTEN: Incorporating healthy oils into your diet
We hear a lot about healthy oils.
But at the same time, when many of us hear the word “oil” we think of grease or fat. So how do we differentiate between good and bad oils?
“There are some oils that are saturated, so we don’t want to use that,” says Dr. Polo.
But while you stay away from those, she says there are a group of healthy, unsaturated oils that are both delicious and good for you.
“The really great ones to incorporate into your diet, because they’re a lot higher in Omega 3s and Omega 9s – which are anti-inflammatory – are avocado oil, flax seed, macadamia nut, olive and coconut oil,” Dr. Polo says.
“But even within the healthy oils, you need to be mindful of which ones you’re cooking with and which ones you’re using raw.”
Dr. Polo points, for example, to olive oil, which she says is best used in its natural form.
“You want to use it on your salads, or on your cold foods, because it doesn’t have a great smoking point. When you heat olive oil, you’re actually denaturing the benefits of it. Whereas something like coconut oil, it has a much higher smoke point. You want to cook with coconut oil because you’re maintaining all of the health benefits of coconut oil through heating it up.”
On the other side of the coin are the oils that Dr. Polo says are outright unhealthy, like corn, palm, peanut, sunflower, and soy oils.
“Canola is one of the worst things you want to stay clear from,” she says.
That’s because it contains Omega 6s, which she says have pro-inflammatory properties.
“So when you talk about Omegas, there’s 3, 6 and 9, just generally basically speaking. And Omega 3 and 9 are really hard for us to get through our diet, so they’re the ones we get through our salmon and fish oil, and avocado and olives, stuff like that.”
But she says Omega 6, which is found in canola oil, is pro-inflammatory. She says we already get plenty of that in our diet, and don’t need to be adding any extra.