If polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats must be taken into consideration when choosing cooking oils, those richest in monounsaturated fat, phytochemicals, and alpha linolenic acid should be well-thought-of when it comes to choosing the healthy cooking oil for your salad.
Most of us already get a good source of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that’s prevalent in processed foods made with soybean and corn oils. However, we don’t consume sufficient ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in flax, walnut, canola and hemp oils that may help lower the risk of heart disease. While olive oil is considered the richest source of monounsaturated fat, containing 77% of its total fat; canola, peanut, avocado and almond oils are another excellent sources of monounsaturated fat.
According to the Mayo Clinic, olive, canola and peanut oil are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which may lower your total and LDL cholesterol levels. If you think olive oil is the healthy cooking oil for your salad dressing, choose virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. These are “cold pressed” from olives using minimal heat and no chemicals that retain the highest amount of phytochemicals and nutrients compared to “pure olive oil”, “olive oil” or “light olive oil”, which have been refined.
Flaxseed oil makes a healthy salad dressing because it is the most concentrated source of alpha-linolenic acid. Each tablespoon contains 7.3 g of alpha-linolenic acid, or about 450 percent of the daily value for this cholesterol-lowering fatty acid. Adding tuna or salmon in your salad can further increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Nut oils such as walnut, almond, hazelnut, and flaxseed have a distinctive rich taste. You can experiment using a combination of these oils in your dressings. Walnut oil not only provides a unique nutty flavor but an excellent source of monounsaturated fat and alpha linolenic acid.
While the cooking oils corn, flaxeed, grapeseed, hemp, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and walnut, are known high in polyunsaturated fat that provides essential fatty acids called linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acid (ALA), monounsaturated oils may be the best choices for low-fat salad dressings if the goal is to maximize the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.