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Choose your vegetable oils wisely!

Written by Simone Froley

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Posted on August 16 2016

Okay, let's talk about vegetable oil. Is it good for you, bad for you? The stuff is often billed as a panacea of sorts. For example, some have been said to aid in weight loss, help prevent cancer and—when used as a mouthwash— can even fight gum disease.

Oils are also often blamed for a whole host of health problems. Processed vegetable oils are said to be just horrible for you... high in trans fats attributed to heart disease, cancer and diabetes and a plethora of other health issues. Forcing oils to be palatable with a firm shelve life destroys its natural benefits. The truth is, it just depends on whose sales pitch your listening to.

Marketers tout certain oils as the “healthy oils” while all varieties have many wonderful properties. However, there is also rampant negative info swirling about some oils. I think we might be throwing the baby out with the bath water when we cast a wary eye toward all canola, palm and soybean oils.

Saying all these oils are bad and to be avoided is the same as me telling you never to eat mushrooms again because some are poisonous and therefore all should be avoided.

First, let's look at canola. This oil is sourced from the rather malicious-sounding rapeseed plant. And, in all honesty, about 90 percent of the canola oil on the market today can be harmful to your health. It is over-processed garbage sourced from genetically modified seeds.

The remaining 10 percent, which represents the organic, cold-pressed variety that I use in my soaps, is expensive, hard to come by and very rich in nutrients. To dismiss it is not fair to those who go out of their way to provide this beautiful golden oil.

It may also be interesting to note that organic and non-organic canola oil aren't even sourced from the same plant. Standard commercial canola comes from the Brassica Napus plant while organic canola oil originates from the Brassica Campestris. The former has a higher concentration of the toxin erucic acid. The latter contains less than one percent of the acid and has been shown to be safe in countless studies.

Palm oil is another one that gets a bad rap. This massive industry has been known for destroying rain forests, wrecking animal habitat and exploiting the people in the regions where it is harvested. Negative news always spreads the fastest.  However, there are also many conscientious organic farmers who are harvesting the palm fruits sustainably and could really use our support. For example, we source our organic, single-source Red Palm Oil from an RSPO-certified mill that protects its workers, its land and the surrounding environment.

And then there's soybean oil. The plant has a reputation for messing with your hormones but the truth is that most plants actually have an effect on hormones to some degree. Even broccoli, has shown to affect hormones to the same level of soy. As long as you are purchasing an organic, non-GMO, non-hydrogenated soybean oil you should be fine. There are actually some nutritional benefits of soybean oil with its ability to improve heart, bone and skin health among other things.

The bottom line is that by simply buying organic oils (and other products) you are putting yourself on the right path to avoid the bad stuff while reaping the benefits of the good.  You can always do your own research but if you purchase certified organic products you can rest assured that someone else has.