October 31, 2021

The 5 Best Healthy Cooking Oils and the Oils to Avoid

Cooking is one of the most enjoyable and effective ways to use your time. But cooking without quality oils, it can leave you feeling bloated and even feeling sick. If you want to eat a delicious, nutritious meal without spending big bucks, then you need to use cooking oil that’s free from heavy metals and heavy processing. 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a healthy diet doesn’t have to consist of a lot of fat. There are a number of healthy cooking oils that you can use instead of traditional cooking oil. If you’re looking to switch to a healthier diet, you have a number of good options to choose from.

How to Choose the Best Oil for Cooking? 

There are many different opinions about which oils are suitable for cooking, and which ones should be avoided. Some cooking oils have a greater positive impact on your health than others.

There are basically two criteria by which you can evaluate different cooking oil options and choose the best one for your cooking masterpieces.

The Smoke Point 

When heated to a certain temperature, fats can change their chemical composition and nutritional value. By “overheating” your cooking oil, you can stimulate the release of harmful chemical compounds. The particular temperature that the various oils can withstand is called the “Smoke Point.”

Nutritional Value

Fats are essential for overall health, and a balanced diet that includes both saturated and unsaturated fats is recommended. According to research, it is generally recommended to limit foods that are high in saturated fats up to 7%.

Saturated Fats

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the consumption of saturated fats. This means avoiding the use of saturated oils as primary edible oils. Oils that are solid at room temperature but liquefy when heated is known as saturated oils. Butter, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil, and other fats fall into this category.

Unsaturated Fats

Edible oils high in unsaturated fats are recommended for their potential health-promoting properties. In fact, The American Heart Association suggests that oils rich in unsaturated fats are effective in replacing saturated oils and can be used as the main source of fats in home cooking.

Unsaturated fatty oils appear as a liquid at room temperature and after cooling. Olive, sesame, flaxseed, soybean, corn, and a variety of other oils are examples.

The 5 Best Healthy Oils for Cooking

Olive oil

Research stated that Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids that reduce inflammation, lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol, and prevent chronic diseases. 

There are many different types of olive oil on the market. Cold-pressed, 100 percent virgin olive oil is best for you. This is because it is made without excessive heat or chemicals and is pressed from ripe olives. It also has a lower smoke point as it is not as heavily machined.

An article published in The Nature states that the reduced inflammation due to the use of extra-virgin olive oil may even reduce pain, providing relief comparable to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers like ibuprofen.

The smoke point of olive oil is 176°C. This means that it is not suitable for grilling or frying. Use it at lower temperatures to avoid burning food, for example in salad dressings, dips, and dishes that are too hot.  

Avocado oil

Avocados are one of the greatest sources of oleic acid. It is a monounsaturated fatty acid that lowers blood pressure, improves brain function, and reduces the risk of cancer. According to research avocado oil, made from cold-pressed avocado pulp, also has these health benefits.

Avocado oil also increases HDL while lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides which is also beneficial for heart health.

Consuming avocado oil with vegetables increases the absorption of soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K – that fat needs to be absorbed. 

Avocado oil has a high smoke point of 271°C. This makes it ideal for high-temperature cooking methods. You can use it to smoke meat on the grill or to stew your favorite whole grain products.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil contains 90% saturated fat, making it the greatest choice for oxidation resistance. It contains lauric acid, a medium-chain saturated fatty acid. It appears to raise the blood concentration of vascular HDL cholesterol.

A journal published in The Journal of Nutrition states that the medium-chain triglycerides present in coconut oil can boost your metabolism and help you shed a few extra pounds.

It has a medium smoke point of 176°C. coconut oil is suitable for baking and sautéing. It contains potentially beneficial compounds, but it also contains a high proportion of saturated fat, so use it minimally.

Sesame oil

Sesame oil contains a lot of valuable linoleic acid. This lowers high cholesterol levels, strengthens the heart, and is said to lower high blood pressure.

In addition, sesame oil has a high content of lecithin. This nutrient is an important part of our cell membranes and its consumption is said to help the brain in particular. 

Sesame oil has a smoke point of 210°C, which is considered medium-high. Therefore, it is good for frying and deep-frying food. Toasted sesame oil is best for dishes where its nuttiness enhances the flavor, such as in a salad or for marinating chicken or salmon.

Safflower oil

Safflower oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant, contains only a few saturated fatty acids and a high proportion of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy for the heart. It contains linolenic and linoleic acids, which can improve blood cholesterol levels, support the arteries and reduce the overall risk of heart disease.

Safflower oil is also tasteless and has a high smoke point of 265°C. This oil is, therefore, ideal for grilling in the garden or for searing delicious vegetables. 

Oils to Avoid

Many processed foods contain unhealthy oils because they have a long shelf life at room temperature. Oils high in saturated and trans fats can increase “bad” LDL cholesterol. Compared to unsaturated oils, these oils tend to solidify at room temperature.

Here are some common unhealthy oils to avoid:

Just avoid highly refined, heavily processed oils because they are often high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids while being deficient in heart-healthy omega-3s.

The Final Verdict

Oils should always be stored in the dark and as cool as possible so that the fatty acids they contain do not oxidize and make the oil rancid. Also, you should make sure not to buy oil that is too cheap because the price usually decreases the quality of the oil. 

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