Olive Oil And Other Vegetable Oils Better Than Animal Fats
Vegetable Oils are better for us than animal fats. Animal fats raise the cholesterol blood level, choke our arteries and cause heart attacks and strokes. Vegetable oils differ from animal fats in that they contain less hydrogen, are therefore termed “unsaturated.” Some vegetable oils (coconut an palm oils) are exceptions to this rule and contain a lot of dangerous “saturated” fat, like animal fat. Also, if manufacturers “hydrogenate” or “partially hydrogenate” vegetable oils (by bubbling hydrogen gas through them to make them more appealing, solid and resistant to rancidity) they become just as dangerous as animal fats.
A good example of this is to look at “Skippy Peanut Butter” and the label will say, “hydrogenated”. This process keeps the peanut butter from sticking to the roof of your mouth, so instead, the fat sticks to your arteries in the form of life-threatening plaque. Depending upon how much hydrogen vegetable oils naturally contain, they are either “monounsaturated” or polyunsaturated”. This difference is not of great importance since both types are beneficial. Like fish oil, vegetable oils also contain linoleic acid, which the body converts into cholesterol-lowering omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are plentiful in salmon and, to a lesser extent, in several other types of fish [fig. 2].
Olive oil is a prime example of the beneficial effects of vegetable oils, and is believed to account for the longevity and freedom from heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer in those who eat a “Mediterranean diet”. The difference between a $4 bottle and a $20 bottle of olive oil is essentially one of taste, and does not involve any significant difference in healthful effect. If you do not mind paying more, and are an olive oil enthusiast, you will want to buy “extra virgin” or “virgin ” quality olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the first oil to be pressed from olives when they are crushed, and is not artificially changed in any way. Virgin oil differs from it mainly the being more acidic, which makes it taste slightly bitter. SO-called “Pure” olive oil has been processed by the addition of an alkaline “neutralizing” agent (to remove its higher acid content), and contains a small amount of Extra virgin or Virgin olive oil blended into it to improve its flavor.
Canola oil is a good alternative to olive oil. It is about equally healthful, but considerably less expensive. Olive and canola oils are good to cook with since, unlike other vegetable oils, they resist oxidation when heated. Oxidation the other oils produces “FREE RADICALS,” which could injure our cells.
Like olive oil and canola oil, most other vegetable oils (such as corn, cottonseed, flaxseed, peanut, safflower, sesame, soy, sunflower and walnut oils) are unsaturated and good for us. All convey the same health benefits as olive oil. Try them, since you might enjoy their different tastes. However, remember that all vegetable oils are high in calories, and are just as fattening as animal fats such as butter, cream and ice cream. So, don’t consume them in excess. Incidentally, the term “Light” applied to olive oil does not mean that it is any less fattening than other oils, but refers to its color.