The Most Healthy And Eco-Friendly Edible Oils

When it comes to your food, there’s no clear way to be sure that what you’re eating is the best thing for you. However, there are of course many ways in which you can try and each person has their own way to check up on their groceries before buying them. You can read nutrition labels online before you go to the store or you can do an internet search on the brand name foods you buy to see how they’re made. It’s easy to remember to do this for big foods like meats or boxed meals, but other foods can slip the mind.

Almost everyone learns to cook with oils, so they become a basic factor of anyone’s kitchen supplies. They’re easy to take for granted and overlook when you’re trying to read up on the health facts of your daily foods. You have to remember that even if you’re covering the bottom of a frying pan, you’re still consuming the oils you cook with. You’re also impacting the environment based on what oils you buy and companies you support, so check out some of the best healthy and eco-friendly oils to help ease your worries.

Canola Oil

What It Does

Canola oil is a commonly used oil by households for recipes and doing things like oiling up cookware so food doesn’t stick to them. The process that creates canola oil is actually more complicated than most people might realise. Canola oil is taken from the rapeseed plant and put into a process that genetically modifies it into a newer, more usable product. In fact, 87 percent of the canola oil in the U.S. has been genetically engineered, putting a strain on the environment with the energy it takes to make it.

How To Use It

Because it can withstand frying temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best used for sautéing and frying foods. While it is high in trans fats and should be used in smaller portions, if bought in an all-natural form, it won’t force the body to digest anything that’s been genetically altered. The process of making it will also be much more natural for the environment.

Palm Oil

What It Does

While many foods are made in big factories located in highly populated cities and countries, some are the exact opposite. Palm oil has become one of these, with companies choosing to set up their factories in dense, jungle areas of the world. This destroys large-scale conservation and takes homes away from endangered animals. Once the factories are built, the damage is done.

How To Use It

Do research on the many different companies that make palm oil and decide for yourself which ones use business practices that benefit the environment. One of the leading companies in green palm oil production is Palm Oil Roundtable, a green company that produces 35 percent of the world’s palm oil. The oil itself is used in many different recipes from different cultures, so look up one that looks good to you and try it out once you’ve found a reliable green brand.

Coconut Oil

What It Does

Recently, people have begun to recognise coconut oil for what it is—a product that can be used in the kitchen, the bathroom and even as a skin care routine. The way it’s made doesn’t hurt the environment because it’s easy to extract, but the transportation does add to the CO2 levels released into the atmosphere.

How To Use It

The real question is, what can you not use coconut oil for? To decide how to use it best in your own life, read up on the many kinds of coconut oil available and double check the companies to ensure that their processes are environmentally friendly.

Olive Oil

What It Does

There used to be a three-step production process to making olive oil, but most companies use a two-step process now. While it speeds up production, it creates a lot of waste that hurts the environment. When olive oil is extracted, it excretes phytotoxic and antimicrobial properties because of the phenols in olives. These toxic wastes are then dumped into the environment, hurting the water and land they seep into.

How To Use It

Buying virgin olive oil from European countries like Italy, Spain and Greece is the best way to buy the best quality olive oil that doesn’t harm the planet it’s made on. Virgin olive oil doesn’t go through the same extraction process as regular olive oil, so it retains all the health benefits it naturally has. It will help lower risks of hypertension and high cholesterol and can even help fight depression. All around, it’s just better to buy from companies that don’t mass produce and shed a lot of harmful waste.

Vegetable Oil

What It Does

It may come as a surprise, but vegetable oil doesn’t come from vegetables at all. It’s actually extracted from the same rapeseed as canola oil, except afterwards it’s processed with a petroleum solvent, combined with acid and treated with chemicals for color. This is all highly unnatural for the body to digest, but it’s even worse because vegetable oil spills happen just like petroleum oil spills, and they’re equally as harmful to the animals and environments they happen in.

How To Use It

Vegetable oil, like canola oil, is one of those oils that can be used for pretty much anything in the kitchen. It can grease pans, fry foods or be combined into recipes for baking purposes. Because of the way food is made now, there’s really no way to cut it out of your diet altogether. Just be careful of how much you use, since in 2015 it beat out sugar as one of the worst foods humans can eat.

Finding healthy and eco-friendly edible oils isn’t hard to do. Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the process of how each of your favourite oils are made, ensure that the companies you buy them from do everything in their power to limit their impact on the environment.

Author Bio

Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work.


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