Oils to try with indigenous roots


The Healthy Roots Indigenous Wellness Challenge is all about prioritizing healthy foods into your diet while giving honour to those foods indigenous to the Haudenosaunee.

One of the most exciting parts of this challenge is to expand your grocery list and start incorporating tasty foods that might be unfamiliar to you — especially when it comes to oils.

It is safe to say most of us are familiar with corn, soy and olive oils. Even lard is commonly used for cooking. But what are some healthy indigenous options? What will they do for my whole body health? How do you use them? Check it out.

Walnut Oil

In 1937, researchers discovered people who ate walnuts had a reduced rate of coronary heart disease. Since then adding walnuts along with their healthy oils has been recommended to maintain whole body health.

In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration reported that eating just 1.5 ounces of walnuts a day can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Walnuts and their oils are an excellent source of selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium as well as a good dose of your daily Vitamin B1, B2 and B3 plus Vitamin E and Niacin.

You’ll also find a lot of antioxidants in walnut oil, which can help rid the body of harmful free radicals that contribute to cell damage and speed the aging process.

Walnut oil has a nutty and rich flavour best used uncooked or in cold dressings and sauces. When it is heated it can taste slightly bitter. Try adding walnut oil and walnuts in place of mayonnaise when preparing tuna or chicken salad. Delicious!

Sunflower oil

A sunflower is one of those things that is very familiar as both a food and foliage in our territory. However in cuisine it is still yet to become a regular item in your pantry.

The great thing about sunflower oil is that it is readily available, cost efficient and tastes very mild.

Sunflower oil is a good source of palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid and lineoleic acid. This along with hefty doses of Vitamin E make this oil a good anti-inflammatory food, making it a perfect dietary additive to those with arthritis or asthma.

Most readily available sunflower oils in the grocery store have a relatively high smoke point as well; about 440 F making it a great substitution for cooking and baking. We like to toss chopped up 1” cubes of mixed root vegetables with sunflower oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven till tender. So simple and satisfying.

Pumpkin Seed Oil

Pumpkin seed oil is one of those super luxurious ingredients that can up the flavour in anything instantly.

Known among foodies as “green gold” this emerging oil has a deep and rich flavour making it perfect for adding vinaigrette dressings to balance out things like apple cider vinegar. Because it is a delicate oil it should always be consumed raw and kept in a cool, dry place.

Raw pumpkin seed oil also has a good reputation as one of the most nutritious oils for use in your diet. It is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and sterols.

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