Healthy Dancer Cooking Tip

October 21, 2014

Pop quiz: If you’re sautéing fresh veggies, like squash, peppers and onions, for a healthy side dish and want to add a splash of oil, which kind should you use?


A. corn

B. sunflower

C. olive

D. soybean


In an era where seed-based products, like sunflower butter, are touted as healthy choices, corn, sunflower or soybean oil may sound like sound options. However, research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that while seed-based oils aren’t necessarily unhealthy, olive oil is the best choice for pan frying.


Why? When all four oils were pan-heated to a high temperature, the seed oils tended to break down, losing some of their nutritional value and impacting the overall quality of the dish. Olive oil, which is packed with the healthy fat omega-6, stood up to the heat and retained its healthful properties best. Sunflower oil—though high in vitamin E, which is sometimes used to help reduce muscle damage and boost energy after exercise—degraded the quickest.


Next time you’re planning dinner after class, don’t foil an otherwise nutritious dish with something as small as your oil choice. Stick with olive oil; sometimes basic is better.