The scary reason you shouldn’t reuse cooking oil

A research team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign set out to test the effects of thermally abused frying oil (that’s the fancy term for cooking oil that has been raised to high temperatures repeatedly) on laboratory mice. Reusing cooking oil is common practice in quick-serve restaurants for frying up menu items like French fries. Specifically, the scientists wanted to see if this reused oil plays a role in metastatic breast cancer growth. On the contrary, these are 10 foods that can lower your risk of breast cancer.

Researchers injected 4T1 breast cancer cells, which are known for being relentless in that they quickly spread to distant parts of the body from their origin, into a tibia (shinbone) of each mouse. The mice were initially placed on a low-fat diet for one week, then a portion of the group were fed fresh soybean oil for 16 weeks while the others were given the “thermally abused” oil.

13 PHOTOS
Why You Shouldn't Always Cook With Olive Oil
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Why You Shouldn't Always Cook With Olive Oil

For the longest time, the only oil I bought was extra-virgin olive oil.

Then a friend, who was also a chef, told me that there are actually times when olive oil is not the best choice. So I looked into the best uses for olive oil, and when to choose another oil.

When To Use Olive Oil

When you’re making salad dressing or sautéing vegetables over medium heat, olive oil is an excellent choice. Since it has a distinct flavor, use it in dishes where you want to taste it—drizzled over steamed vegetables, soup or bread, for example. Olive oil has more monounsaturated fat than other oils, making it a great choice for heart-healthy cooking.

Find out the difference between extra-virgin olive oil and other olive oil labels and learn the winners of our olive oil taste test.

When To Skip Olive Oil

If you’re cooking over high heat, don’t choose olive oil. Olive oil has a lower smoke point—the point at which an oil literally begins to smoke (olive oil’s is between 365° and 420°F)—than some other oils. When you heat olive oil to its smoke point, the beneficial compounds in oil start to degrade, and potentially health-harming compounds form.

What To Use Instead

Canola oil, on the other hand, has a higher smoke point and is a good choice if you’ll be cooking over high heat, as when you’re roasting vegetables or sautéing food over high heat. It also has a neutral flavor and is packed with heart-healthy alpha-linolenic acid, which makes it ideal for baking. It’s also cheaper than olive oil.

From Olive Oil to Canola Oil

To help you make the switch and leave olive oil on the shelf (at least for now), click through to find recipes that use canola oil to make everything from breakfast to a tasty dinner appetizer.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Use canola oil to create the perfect breakfast muffin.

Click here for the recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Grilled Apples With Cheese & Honey

Dessert meets the cheese plate when you drizzle grilled apples and flavorful cheese with honey and toasted pecans for a quick and healthy finish to any meal for two.

Click here for the recipe: Grilled Apples With Cheese & Honey

Honey-Mustard Turkey Cutlets & Potatoes

Potatoes, leeks and turkey burst with intense flavor when roasted with honey, mustard and curry. Serve with: Steamed snow peas and carrots and a glass of white wine.

Click here for the recipe: Honey-Mustard Turkey Cutlets & Potatoes

Honey-Sweetened Cherry Pie

If you can’t find sour cherries, don’t fret—it’s also delicious with sweet cherries. The filling has a hint of clove and honey, which gives it a novel flavor. Serve this cherry pie with your favorite light vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Click here for the recipe: Honey-Sweetened Cherry Pie

Hungarian Apple Soup

This savory apple soup for two gets body from Yukon Gold potatoes and a touch of heat from paprika. Float some cocktail shrimp or a mound of lump crabmeat in each bowl to make it a main course.

Click here for the recipe: Hungarian Apple Soup

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Serve this dense, fudgy pudding cake with vanilla frozen yogurt.

Click here for the recipe: Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Middle Eastern Burgers

Exotic-tasting spices and chopped prunes give Middle Eastern flair to these truly succulent burgers. Serve with Yogurt-Garlic Sauce, slices of ripe tomato, lettuce and sharp red onion.

Click here for the recipe: Middle Eastern Burgers

Miso-Glazed Scallops With Soba Noodles

This Japanese-inspired dish uses one sauce to make the marinade for the scallops and the caramelized pan sauce for the noodles. A good pairing would be a simple green salad.

Click here for the recipe: Miso-Glazed Scallops With Soba Noodles

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It wasn’t long before the team realized that the tumors in the mice who were given the reused oil metastasized four times more than their peers who were given the fresh oil. Also alarming was the presence of more lung tumors in the thermally abused oil group.

It’s important to note reused cooking oil isn’t causing breast cancer itself, but in the study results its properties do appear to have an effect on the spreading of existing cancer. These are 15 breast cancer myths you can safely ignore.

What about reusing cooking oil makes it problematic to our health?

As Medical News Today explains, reheating the oil changes its composition. Once it is reheated a toxin called acrolein, known for its carcinogenic potential, is released.

As with all research in the medical field, more studies need to be done for a better understanding of the thermally abused oil’s effects on breast cancer. But the team is hopeful that these results will at least provide a conversation starter with the study findings now published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

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Unusual uses for coconut oil
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Unusual uses for coconut oil

1. Butter alternative 

It can be used on toast, in a pan or when making cookies! Coconut oil is a healthier alternative to butter.

2. Oil alternative

Coconut oil is a healthier alternative when cooking. Instead of using olive oil, coconut oil can reap the same benefits.  

3. Makeup remover 

At night, simply dab a cotton ball with coconut oil to remove excess makeup. Make sure to wash your face after. 

4. Moisturizer 

Dab coconut oil on rough, dry or chapped skin. 

5. Overnight conditioner 

Pour some oil into hands and rub it through hair before sleeping. Wash it out in the morning. 

6. Soother for split ends

After showering, sprinkle coconut oil on the ends of your hair for smoother and shinier results. 

7. Teeth whitener 

Coconut oil is a great and natural ingredient for oil pulling. Swish in your mouth for 7-10 minutes before brushing for pearly whites! 

8. Cheekbone highlighter

Dab coconut oil on your finger and apply lightly to skin. 

9. Shaving lotion 

Coconut oil helps reduce inflammation and the possibility of ingrown hairs. 

10. Callus remover

Simply sprinkle some coconut oil on your callus and file away! After the callus is gone, coconut oil can reduce the spot's redness and dryness.

11. Energy supplement 

One spoonful of coconut oil can give you a great start to your day. Add a teaspoon of coconut oil to oatmeal, coffee and smoothies (or even by itself) for a boost of energy and a natural ant-inflamatory. 

12. Removes sticky labels 

When you're having a hard time removing barcode labels from glass cups, plastic toys or other items, just add coconut oil! 

13. Makes cleaning pots and pans a breeze 

Having trouble getting rid of grimy and greasy pots and pans? A splash of coconut oil will make your after dinner routine so much easier 

14. Sanitizes wooden cutting boards

When scrubbing cutting boards, drizzle some coconut oil to sanitize and condition them. Then, simply scrub with soap and water. 

14. Cleans leather

16. Remove crayons from walls

Simply dab on a paper towel and cloth and scrub! It will look like it never happened. 

17. Remove gum from hair.

Condition the hair with coconut oil -- it acts as a natural detangler! 

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“We’re trying to add to this conversation and help people understand that it might not be just some inherent biological mechanism but a lifestyle factor,” says study co-author Ashley W. Oyirifi in an interview with Medical News Today. “If diet provides an opportunity to reduce breast cancer survivors’ risk, it offers them agency over their own health.”

Interested in taking charge of your own health? These are 50 everyday habits that reduce your risk of breast cancer.

The post The Scary Reason You Shouldn’t Reuse Cooking Oil appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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What You Should Know Before Buying Olive Oil
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What You Should Know Before Buying Olive Oil

Shopping tips that will help you get the most for your money when buying olive oil.

The Grades: Extra-Virgin

This slide and the next three slides detail designations of quality you'll come across most often when shopping for olive oil.

"Extra-virgin" is the highest possible standard that an olive oil can meet according to criteria set by the International Olive Council (IOC), an international organization that creates voluntary standards for olive oil production. In order to qualify for this grade, an oil has to pass certain chemical tests and also a taste test to show that the oil has some fruitiness (more on that later) and is free from major faults, including rancidity, fustiness, and mustiness. Extra-virgin olive oils are best suited to low-temperature cooking and garnishing dishes in order to preserve their distinct flavor.

The Grades: Pure

Not an official IOC grade, but a common marketing term that refers to a refined olive oil with a touch of extra-virgin olive oil for flavor. Refined olive oil has undergone chemical processes to remove the portion of the oil (specifically, polyphenols and similar compounds) that gives it flavor. Refined olive oils, in other words, are completely neutral in flavor and have no aroma. They are suitable for high-temperature cooking, such as sautéing, roasting, grilling, and deep-frying.

The Grades: Extra Light

Also called "light," this is a marketing term for refined olive oil and does not refer to its caloric content, but rather its flavor.

The Grades: Pomace

The lowest grade of olive oil available to consumers, this oil is extracted from the leftover pits, skin, and pulp of the olives after they are pressed to make higher grades of oil. Pomace oil is often extracted using hexane or a similar solvent, and it has come under scrutiny lately for a number of food safety issues.

Much of the discussion that follows applies to extra-virgin olive oils, the most expensive and arguably best-known and popular grade of olive oil. It is also the grade subject to the most fraud.

Pick the Right Store

Picking an extra-virgin olive oil at a supermarket is a lot like picking wine at a supermarket — unless you have prior experience with a particular product, you have no idea what it's going to taste like, and you pretty much have to go with what's written on the back of the bottle.

Although it takes a bit of extra effort, it can be helpful to find a shop that will allow you to taste olive oils. If you think that you can spend your way to a good, unadulterated bottle of oil, you may be surprised to find that "you get what you pay for" isn't necessarily true when it comes to olive oil. "Price is by no means an indicator of quality," says Paul Vossen, a University of California oil specialist who, in 1997, conducted the first tasting panel recognized by the IOC. To put this in context, spending $20 on a bottle of olive oil is no guarantee that it will necessarily be unadulterated, extra-virgin, "good" oil, but at the same time, being dirt cheap isn't a good idea either. Figure on spending at least $7 to $8 for a decent half-liter bottle.

Still, the best thing to do is to trust your senses and taste the olive oil.

What Does Good Olive Oil Taste Like?

A good extra-virgin olive oil will exhibit fruitiness; in fact, it is the minimum criterion for the IOC to consider an olive oil for the extra-virgin grade. What, exactly, is fruitiness? Simon Field, instructor for Savantes, an olive oil certification program for producers, says a fruity olive oil is "reminiscent of both the odor and taste of sound, fresh fruit" which can be "picked at its optimum stage of ripeness" but can also be reminiscent of unripe fruit, like green tomatoes, to name one example, or even a vegetable. It should, in other words, smell and taste like fresh produce.

It can also exhibit pepperiness and bitterness, two other desirable characteristics that may seem surprising to someone tasting a good oil for the first time. These are not flaws; rather, they are evidence that an oil is fresh and that it contains beneficial compounds like polyphenols. Polyphenols have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and help protect the oil from spoiling.

Pick the Right Bottle

Particularly when purchasing extra-virgin olive oils, avoid those that are contained in clear glass bottles. Instead, choose oils sold in dark glass bottles, which minimize the oil's exposure to light and help keep it fresh longer. When exposed to light, certain beneficial components of extra-virgin olive oil, polyphenols, break down.

Check the Date

Most extra-virgin olive oils will have a "best by" date and in some cases, the year the olives used to make the oil were harvested. If you see this information on the back of the bottle, pick an oil made using olives from the prior or current year. Olive oil is different from other oils in that it is extracted from the juice of a fruit, and like fruit juice, it is best consumed as soon as possible after it is harvested. If there isn't any information on the harvest, and only a date, try to choose an oil which has a "best by" date that is no sooner than two years from today.

Packed in... Bottled in...

Be leery of labels like "Packed in Italy" or "Bottled in Spain" — such claims are misleading. It may sound like the oil in the bottle is made from olives grown in that particular country and made in that country, but that's often not the case. Instead, look for labels that talk about production from a specific mill. Labels that specify a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or a Protected Geographical Indication (IGP in Italian) are also usually good signs.

Don't Buy Too Much at Once

In a way, purchasing extra-virgin olive oil is like purchasing spices: You don't want to buy too much at once. Because of its perishable nature, the faster you use it up, the better.

Last Words

If you happen to gain an appreciation for fine olive oils, some things you may want to consider delving into are:

-Trying "early harvest" versus "late harvest" oils: Early harvest oils come from green olives that often exhibit marked pepperiness and/or bitterness. They are also called "robust" or "full-bodied." Late harvest oils come from riper olives which tend to turn creamier, nuttier, and in general, mellow out. They are often described as "mild" or having "delicate fruit."

-Trying olive oils made from different varietals: Like wine, olive oil can be made from different varietals of the fruit. Some popular ones include Arbequina, Frantoio, Picual, Hojiblanca, and Koroneiki.

-Trying olive oils made with the same varietal in different parts of the world: Many varietals can be grown in different places around the world. Depending on where they are grown, the same varietal can take on different flavor characteristics.

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