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Heart Month – Oil

Heart Month – Oil

American Heart Month – Oils are Essential for Heart Health

How often do you change the oil in your car? Every 3,000 or 5,000 miles? Just like your car, your body will benefit from preventive maintenance. Have you ever thought about the type and amount of oil you are eating?

The selection of available cooking oils has grown tremendously at the supermarkets. All oils are a combination of saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Mono and poly unsaturated fats are heart healthy fats, while saturated fats are not.

There are many choices among the heart healthy fats. Olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, sesame oil and flaxseed oil are all mainly polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. What kind of oil you need depends on the recipe and cooking technique.

Oils have different smoke points, which is the temperature when they begin to break down and smoke. Peanut, vegetable and sesame oils have a higher smoke point and can be used in higher temperature cooking.

Oils also have distinctive flavors and work well in different types of recipes. Canola oil has a light flavor and works well in baking recipes and for stir frying. It can be substituted for half of the butter in most recipes. Walnut, olive, and flaxseed oils work well for salad dressings.

Oils are essential for good health, but a little bit goes a long way. A cup of oil contains about 1,700 calories … so measure oil in teaspoons not tablespoons. By adding an oil salad dressing to your salads, the vitamins from the vegetables will be better absorbed.


Consult your doctor before making changes in your diet. If you have a medical condition certain items may need to be reduced or eliminated. Seek the advice of your physician and Registered Dietitian before making any changes in your diet or lifestyle. Email questions to

Nutrition Tip: Oils can turn rancid (off smell and taste). So buy in smaller quantities to ensure freshness.

Classic Vinaigrette

Cooking Light (June 2009)


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  • Combine vinegar, shallots, salt, Dijon mustard, and pepper. Gradually add olive oil, stirring until incorporated.

Nutritional Information – amount per serving:

  • Calories: 94
  • Fat: 10.1g
  • Saturated fat: 1.4g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 7.4g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1g
  • Protein: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 0.7g
  • Sodium: 178mg