Olive oil is extremely healthy.
It is the “default” healthy fat… loaded with beneficial fatty acids and powerful antioxidants. Olive oil has also been a dietary staple for some of the world’s healthiest populations. That being said, there may be a problem with olive oil…
Many people believe that it is unsuitable for cooking because of the unsaturated fats.
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When fats and oils are exposed to high heat, they can become damaged.
This is particularly true of oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats, including most vegetable oils like soybean and canola.
When overheated, they can form various harmful compounds… including lipid peroxides and aldehydes, which can contribute to cancer.
When cooking with these oils, some of the carcinogenic compounds actually vaporize and may contribute to lung cancer when inhaled. Therefore, just being present in a kitchen where these oils are used can cause harm.
If you want to minimize your exposure to harmful and carcinogenic compounds (always a good idea), then it is essential to cook only with fats that are stable at high heat.
There are two properties of cooking oils that matter most:
- Smoke Point:The temperature at which the fats begin to break down and turn into smoke.
- Oxidative Stability:How resistant the fats are to reacting with oxygen.