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5 organic oils for health and beauty

Pure golden oils extracted from plants capture health and beauty ingredients in a bottle. While they are fats and should be limited, * they are high in unsaturated "good" fatty acids. Rich in vitamins and minerals as well, these oils counterbalance the processed saturated and trans fats, with empty calories, so prevalent in diets today. Plus, many plant oils externally applied provide effective home remedies for more glowing skin and hair. 

Veestro embraces the culinary qualities of organic oils, using them sparingly in preparing our plant-based meals. Among the many oils available at the market, the following are some of the healthiest ones to stock in your cupboard:

1. Avocado Oil
This rich oil is extracted form the fruit's flesh and provides a mild, smooth flavor that enhances other foods.

  • Health: Vitamin E, unsaturated fatty acids, carotenoids (antioxidants); anti-inflammatory for arthritis; stimulates cartilage growth and repair.
  • Beauty: Hair and skin moisturizer; with vitamin B12, treats psoriasis.
  • Cooking: High smoke point; bake, sauté, stir-fry; sauces, salad dressing, marinades.

2. Olive Oil
The olives are ground then cold-pressed to extract extra virgin olive oil, the flavor and aroma ranging from grassy to bitter, and may be infused with a herb or fruit extract. Like fine wine, olive oils complement different foods. 

  • Health: Vitamins E and K, carotenoids, chlorophzll, and polyphenols (antioxidants), monounsaturated fats; anti-inflammatory; lowers LDL, raises HDL cholesterol.
  • Beauty: Skin exfoliator and moisturizer; eye-makeup remover; nail an dcuticle care; controls dandruff; stronger, shinier hair. 
  • Cooking: Low to high smoke point; bake, sauté, stir-fry; bread dip, pasta drizzle, salad dressing; used in Veestro's Tomato Lentil Soup.

3. Sesame Oil
Light sesame seed oil is used for cooking, especially in India, while toasted sesame oil (amber), known for its nutty flavor and aroma, is a food enhancer in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines.

  • Health: Vitamin K, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. 
  • Beauty: Body, hair, and scalp massage; carrier oil for cosmetics.
  • Cooking: Medium high smoke point; sauté, stir-fry; curry, gravy, omelette, and (with spice powders) idli, dosa, and rise.
    Used in Veestro's Red Curry with Tofu and Soba Noodles in Peanut Sauce.
    4. Sweet Almond Oil
    The almond is actually a drupe, or stone fruit, not a nut. The oil is extracted from the seed and is prized for its sweet, light flavor and fragrance. 
    • Health: Vitamins B, E, and K; protein, calcium, magnesium, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated (omega-6 and -9) fats; reduces cholesterol and risk of colon cancer. 
    • Beauty: Used in Ayurveda for over 5,000 years; hydrates skin and lips; moisturizes and strengthens hair. 
    • Cooking: High smoke point; bake, brown, sauté, stir-fry; salad dressing, granola, pastry, drizzle on roasted vegetables. 

    5. Walnut Oil
    This higher prices, high-quality oil is extracted from the nut, offering a delicate nutty flavor and scent. Ninety-nine percent of walnut oil in the United States is produced in California. 

    • Health: Vitamin K, phytosterols, polyunsaturated (63.3%) and monounsaturated fats; anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, promotes regeneration of skin cells; potential anti-cancer properties.
    • Beauty: Relieves fungal infections of skin, reduces eye wrinkles, smoothes and glosses hair. 
    • Cooking: Low to medium smoke point; dip, drizzle; vinaigrette, toss with pasta, drizzle on sweet potatoes or on vegetables before grilling. 

    Compare Fat Content
    You may want to compare the percentages of fats in oils, unsaturated vs. saturated, before you buy. Both for cooking and cosmetics, always choose pure, cold-pressed liquid oils - rather than refined or hydrogenated (hardened) - for optimum health benefits.

    *Limit oils to 6 teaspoons a day for women and 7 for men, maximum, per ChooseMyPlate.gov.

    Sources:Nora Mueller,"A Definitive Guide to Cooking Oils, Inside & Out" Garden Collage
    "Cooking Oil Smoke Points" Good Eats Fan Page
    "Avocado Oil for Skin" Med-Health.net
    "Health and Olive Oil" The Olive Oil Source
    Susan Knowlton, "Almond Oil Health Benefits", HealthGuidance
    "Walnut Oil", OilHealthBenefits

     

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