Olive oil gets a lot of well-deserved love, and rightly so. But there are four other healthy oils to try for a variety of health benefits and flavors. 1): Walnut oil has more than 10 times the omega-3 fatty acids in olive oil, and your body will burn more calories after eating a meal derived from walnut oil than with butter or other saturated fats. However, do not heat this oil in order to preserve its health properties-pour it on salads, quinoa, or roasted vegetables. 2): Grapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds of grapes, and it’s an excellent source of vitamin E and oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid that seems to help suppress food cravings. Grapeseed has a high smoke point, making it great for stir-frying, and its light flavor makes it ideal for salads and marinades. 3): Safflower oil is neutral tasting, and has a number of health benefits such as cholesterol levels, abdominal fat, blood sugar, insulin resistance, and inflammation. Use in dips, salad dressings and humus. 4): Avocado oil-it’s mild tasting and has been shown to increase levels of HDL cholesterol, while lowering C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the blood. Avocado oil also has a high smoke point, making it ideal for stir-frying.

I’ve written about sodium and potassium before, but the importance of a proper ratio between the two is so profound it bears repeating. Sodium and potassium are very important electrolytes for the human body. They form a delicate balance for the transfer of fluids and nutrients across the cell walls (known as osmosis). The body needs both, but in the right balance. The diet should get roughly 4700 mg of potassium to 2300 mg of sodium-most Americans get the opposite.

Salt regulates blood pressure and blood volume, and is critical for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles. Sodium sources are everywhere, especially in processed foods.

Potassium regulates normal activity of the heart muscle, as well as skeletal muscle. Potassium also helps move nutrients into and waste out of the cells, and works to neutralize some of the fluid-retaining effects of high salt intake. Potassium is abundant in many fruits and vegetables.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.