A healthy diet is critical to your heart health

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Alex Hernandez, MS, RDN, Clinical Dietitian, Wellness Bus, University of Utah Health joined Nicea on ABC4 Utah to talk about National Nutrition Month and what we can do during the month of March to make informed choices and develop healthier eating habits.

Today we are talking about the different types of cooking oils, the pros and cons of them, and which ones dietitians recommend for heart health.

Alex suggests that we look at replacing bad fats (saturated and trans) with healthier fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) because it is good for your heart. One way you can do this is by choosing healthier non-tropical vegetable oils for cooking and preparing food.

  • Here’s an alphabetical list of common cooking oils that contain more of the “better-for-you” fats and less saturated fat.
    • Canola
    • Corn
    • Olive
    • Peanut
    • Safflower
    • Soybean
    • Sunflower

Blends or combinations of these oils are often sold under the name “vegetable oil,” and cooking sprays made from these oils are also good choices. In general, choose oils with less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon, and no partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats.

  • You can usually use cooking oils just like solid cooking fats.
    • Make your own salad dressings, marinades, dips, and sauces
    • Grill, sauté, stir fry, bake or roast foods
    • Coat pans to keep food from sticking
    • Substitute for butter, margarine, or solid fats in recipes

Also remember that if the oil smells bad, don’t use it, get rid of it. When the oil is stored too long it can become oxidized or rancid. Store oils in a dark, cool place to keep them fresh longer.

Not all families have access to healthy food, you can help struggling families during National Nutrition Month and receive a link to download a free Healthy Cooking Starter Kit today. Visit the American Heart Association website for more information.

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