Not sure which oil to choose for cooking? The following discussed oils will give you the tastiest results, all the while giving you a healthy boost.
Advertisements on oil can be so misleading. We are often led to believe that some flavorless, refined, and fortified oil is good for us, while that could be further from the truth.
Using fortified soybean oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil, etc, are all very unhealthy choices for cooking. This is because those refined oils are decked with unhealthy saturated fat that leads to numerous health problems, especially heart disease.
If you want to stay healthy you have to choose the right cooking oil. Oils don’t have to be the villain in your health-story, as long as you use the right ones. There are a variety of options for cooking oils that will give you deliciously cooked food without harming your health.
How to Choose the Right Healthy Cooking Oil
Choosing the right oil for cooking depends on their smoking point and the method of cooking. The level of heat used for cooking needs to match with the smoking point.
Oils with low smoking points are not recommended for high heat cooking like roasting or deep-frying. Using oils with a low smoking point in high heat cooking means your oil will burn and become bitter, but not only that it will also lose all the nutrients.
We often use oil that says refined, hydrogenated, deodorized, etc. These words are all red flags and should be avoided, these oils are the unhealthiest ones. The words you want to find on the label are extra-virgin, unrefined, and cold-pressed.
Ten Healthiest Cooking Oils
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Currently, the most popular cooking oil, it is a no-brainer that cooking with extra-virgin olive oil c is healthy. With its light yet mouthwatering fruity aroma, extra-virgin olive oil works great with most savory foods.
The health benefits of extra-virgin olive oil or EVOO are many. It is debatably one of the healthiest oils, decked with Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Even though it doesn’t have too many nutrients compared to other oils, it does have vitamin E and K.
The smoking point for EVOO ranges from 374 °F to 405 °F, making it great for different types of cooking, including short-term deep-frying, pan-frying, baking, roasting, and many other forms of cooking. The refined version called light olive oil has an even higher smoking point.
If you love East Asian cuisine, you have tasted sesame oil. It has a nutty flavor, which is moderately stronger than olive oil. The flavor is quite strong, and those who don’t like deep flavor should try these sesame oil substitutes.
Chinese, Japanese and Korean people frequently use this oil, as it has numerous health benefits. It is even used for making desserts! There are two types of sesame oil; One is toasted and has a nuttier flavor and the other one is untoasted and milder.
Light sesame oil has a higher smoking point of 410° F, which is great for high-heat cooking. Toasted sesame oil has a lower smoking point making it suitable for sautéing, stir-frying, dips, and dressings.
Avocado is a unique fruit. It is like nature’s butter! Even though it’s a fruit, it is mainly used for salads, spreads, and dips. This nearly flavorless healthy fat is used to make one of the healthiest oils on earth, avocado oil.
Avocado oil can give extra-virgin olive oil a run for its money. Nutritional value is similar to that of EVOO, but it has more health benefits. On top of that, it has a light flavor. With a smoking point of 270° F, it’s great for pan-grilling, sautéing, stir-frying, and other low-heat cooking. People use it in salads too.
If you are looking for a nut oil for deep-frying, peanut oil is a great option. But, not for people with peanut allergies. Make sure that you do not have allergies to peanuts before using this oil for cooking.
Peanut oil has a nutty flavor when used in salads or dips, but if you cook with it, the flavor does not transfer to the food. So, if you are looking for a flavorless oil, peanut oil is a good choice.
Refined peanut oil has about 450° F smoking point for pretty much any method of cooking from pan-searing to high-heat grilling. But, don’t depend on peanut oil too much, since it is also rich in Omega-6 fatty acid, which makes its Omega-3 content redundant.
Walnut nut oil is healthier than peanut oil. If you are thinking of healthy fat to use during keto or any other low-carb/high-fat diet, walnut oil is an excellent choice.
Unrefined walnut oil has a smoking point of 320° F. However, when using it in food, it is better to use it in sauces, dips, and seasoning after cooking. This is because when walnut oil becomes bitter and unpalatable when heated.
Use it as a finishing oil to enjoy its numerous health benefits. After cooking, you can drizzle it over pasta or cooked fish, or make salad dressing with it. It is nutty and flavorful and goes well with savory food.
Health experts have given butter a bad name, associating it with health disorders. But, grass-fed butter is a great cooking fat. The reason being, when a cow is grass-fed, the butter it produces is decked with the good stuff. You get antioxidants, vitamins, and unsaturated healthy fat.
Butter has a smoking point of 300° F. The use is extremely versatile. It is crucial for baking. You can also use it for pan fry, searing, roasting, cooking, and pretty much anything. But, it is not suitable for deep-frying.
What makes butter so healthy because you only need a little to use it. A little goes a long way and butter also makes you feel fuller for longer.
Flaxseed is a superfood that has gained massive popularity in the past few years, due to its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, etc. It is packed with nutritional value, so a daily dosage can give you power and strength. That is why flaxseed oil is a super healthy option as cooking oils.
It fights cancer, heart disease, skin disease, improves digestion, and so on. It has a relatively low smoking point, around 225° F, so you can’t use it for cooking.
But, it makes a great dressing and after cooking seasoning, people use it over salads and soups or add it to smoothies and protein shakes. It has a mild, nutty flavor, making it a great finishing oil.
Coconut oil is a keto essential, as it is filled with not only healthy fats but 50% of its fat is MCT oil, an oil that pushes the body to ketosis. If you enjoy Thai cuisine, you will like cooking with coconut oil. It works great with fish and desserts. People often used coconut oil instead of butter in baking.
Unrefined coconut oil has a smoking point of 350° F, but refined oil has a smoking point of 400° F. You can use it for anything from searing to deep-frying, without trouble.
Coconut oil is a great choice to promote fat burning and heart health. It works wonders for your skin, teeth, hair, etc. But, like any other oil, use it in moderation.
Yes, mustard oil has a strong flavor. Sesame oil is its milder version but when it comes to health benefits, very few can beat it.
Loaded with antioxidants, it helps reduce the growth of cancer cells. Mustard oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It promotes heart and skin health and can help to fight cold/flu.
Mustard oil has a smoking point of 480° F, so it can be used for anything from salad dressing to deep-frying, but only if you can stand the strong flavor and heat. It is frequently used for South Asian cooking. If you use it for deep-frying fish, it works both as oil and seasoning!
Canada’s creation, Canola oil means Canada oil. First made from genetically engineered rapeseed, it mainly consists of rapeseed oil. Canola oil has a smoking point of 400° F. You can use it for virtually any kind of cooking.
Canola oil is flavorless and is great for making anything from mayonnaise to deep-frying. With only 7% saturated fats, it is the healthiest of all mainstream oils. This oil has one of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acid and also contains vitamin E and K.
If you choose your cooking oils carefully, you will be saving yourself and your family from many health hazards. Whatever oil you choose, it is important to remember that all kinds of fat should be consumed in moderation. Choose a few from the options mentioned and diversify your cooking oil choices today.