Monday, May 18, 2009

The Best Oil for Your Cooking

Knowing what cooking oil to use is like knowing what baby name to choose. With so many options, where do we even begin? 
Canola: Nutritionists recommend staying away from canola oil whenever possible. It has been linked to vitamin E deficiency and heart disease, plus it goes rancid easily. But if it's all you have lying around, it's pretty all-purpose, and most commonly used in baking and sautéing.

Olive: Ideal for salads, Mediterranean and Italian dishes (like pesto), and of course bread-dunking. Some recommended olive oil brands include: Carapelli, Whole Foods 365 brand, Berio, or the giant Kirkland brand jug from Costco, which should last you months.

Grapeseed: A bit pricy, but keep in mind, grapeseed oil lowers cholesterol. Use it when you'd use olive oil, and since it has a higher smoke point, it's also good for frying and sautéing. (And the super special bottles will involve an elephant spout.)

Peanut: Not the best one for you (lots of monounsaturated fatty acids in there). But when the time comes for stir frying and deep frying, throw a little in there.

Sesame: The vitamin E-rich oil adds a nice smoky flavor to foods, especially in meat and chicken. Make sure to keep it in the fridge. Usually the darker the oil, the more sesame-y the taste.

Soybean: It's in so many packaged goods (margarine, salad dressings, and mayo), odds are you're digesting it right now.

Walnut: The FDA is pretty pro-walnuts. They have said that "supportive but not conclusive" evidence shows that "eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts a day ... may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease." So go for it oil form. Throw walnut oil into salads or finish off a fish dish.
Whether in Rome or at home, do as the Romans do: Make olive oil a staple. If you already eat the Mediterranean way, you know that the oil not only tastes good but that it is good for you. It's an amazing source of antioxidants, capable of dousing inflammation, defending cells from menacing molecules, and more. Here's the latest on this superhero food.

Olive oil's cancer-preventing powers are lab legends. Which substances get the credit? Polyphenols, for one -- these potent plant antioxidants protect against cancer-causing cell damage. But it also looks like the oil's monounsaturated fat has anti-cancer effects, which means olive oil packs quite a one-two punch! Some people-proof: Check the lower rates of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer among Southern Europeans -- whose diets flow with olive oil -- compared to their northern neighbors.

There's virtually nothing better than the big "double O" when it comes to your heart. Olive oil ups good HDL cholesterol, lowers bad LDL, and reduces other harmful blood fats (triglycerides). And that's not all. It also reduces inflammation, another contributor to cardiovascular disease.

Speaking of your heart, how's your blood pressure? If it's not below 120/80, you need to get it there. And yes, olive oil plays a role. It can help enough to reduce the need for daily meds. Those potent polyphenols appear to dilate arteries, which brings blood pressure down. (Always choose extra-virgin olive oil, by the way -- its minimal processing preserves the maximum number of antioxidants and heat-sensitive vitamins.)

"Great taste, less filling" -- that light beer slogan rings true for olive oil. While ounce for ounce, all oils have the same calories, olive oil has a fuller flavor so less is needed for tantalizing taste. Plus research shows that overweight people who eat a diet with some fat -- including olive oil -- are more likely to shed pounds than those who slash fat. Why? Oil's rich flavor makes it easier to stick with the program.

If you're prone to headaches and wary of overdoing ibuprofen, try routinely dressing your salad or crisp-tender veggies in extra-virgin olive oil. It contains oleocanthal, a natural compound that, like ibuprofen, blocks pain-producing and inflammatory substances -- but without the risk of stomach upset. While daily oleocanthal doses aren't the painkiller's complete equal, they could lower your risk for heart disease, cancer, arthritis and possibly Alzheimer's. Quite a trade-off.

Source :
Air conditioning in cars cuts out more than 80 percent of germs, fungal spores and particles from outside air, providing a boon for people with respiratory problems or allergies, German scientists say.
In a study released at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), a Hannover Medical School team monitored air quality in three cars between five and 10 years old that had been fitted with air conditioning.
The microbiological quality of air showed "an enormous improvement," ranging from 80.5 to 88.7 percent, when the air conditioners were on, the researchers say.
The scientists stress, though, that the test was carried out on cars whose air conditioners had been properly maintained and whose air filters had been changed regularly.
The team recommends car users examine their air conditioning systems as soon as they smell any suspicious odour.
The three cars were a 1998 Volkswagen Passat station wagon that had notched up 110,000 kilometers (68,000 miles); a VW Polo FSI saloon, also called a sedan, built in 2003 which had travelled 10,000 kms (6,000 miles); and a 1997 SEAT Alhambra van, with 175,000 kms (110,000 miles) on the clock.
The research is to be released on Monday, the penultimate day of a four-day conference in Helsinki gathering more than 8,000 experts in virology and microbiology.
Thanks for sending across the information Gays :)
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