Generally, women can have up to 5 teaspoons of oil each day, while men can consume 6 teaspoons, suggests ChooseMyPlate.gov. Oils are an important part of your diet, providing nutrients and good fats. Keep in mind, though, that some types of oil are healthier for you than others.
Oils are naturally rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E gets rid of free radicals that scavenge through your body and damage healthy cells, lessening your risk of developing chronic diseases. One teaspoon -- which weighs 4.5 grams -- of any type of oil has 5 grams of fat, totaling 45 calories, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You need fat in your diet to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin E. Fat also helps produce several hormones, cushions organs and insulates your body.
Olive, canola, peanut, vegetable, soybean and sunflower oil are just some of the healthy types of beneficial plant-based oils. These oils are full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, known as MUFAs and PUFAs. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats improve cholesterol levels by reducing harmful low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol. This benefit reduces hardening of your arteries, minimizing clogging and lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease. Top your salad with olive oil at lunch or add flavor to Asian cuisine by using peanut oil to saute stir-fry dishes. Find other ways to incorporate heart-healthy oils into your diet, but measure out your serving size ahead of time, rather than pouring straight from the bottle.
Avoid unhealthy oils, such as coconut, palm and palm kernel oil. While you may not cook with these oils, processed junk foods and treats are often hidden sources of coconut, palm and palm kernel oil. These bad oils are full of saturated fat, which clogs arteries and ups your chances of having a heart attack. You can have some saturated fat, but you need to limit your intake to less than 10 percent of your calories, says the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Based on an 1,800-calorie diet, you can have up to 20 grams of saturated fat each day. One teaspoon of coconut, palm or palm kernel oil provides about 4 grams of saturated fat, or 20 percent of your total daily allotment for an 1,800-calorie diet.
Exposure to heat, light and air has an effect on oils. Some oils break down and become bitter tasting during cooking. If oil is smoking heavily in the pan, it degrades and affects the taste of your dish. Vitamin E is sensitive to light and air. If you leave a bottle of vitamin E-rich oil out on the counter without sealing it tightly, the vitamin E content may diminish, reducing the health benefits of the oil. Keep oils tightly sealed in a cool pantry or cupboard to prevent degradation.
- Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- MayoClinic.com: Olive Oil: What Are the Health Benefits?
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Much Is My Allowance for Oils?
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: Why Is it Important to Consume Oils?
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