Frying is a big part of our everyday cooking. There will almost always be reasons to do some frying, at least once a week. This raises the question: what cooking oils are healthy? Which ones are bad for me? In this article, I will be answering those questions.
Check out the 6 healthiest cooking oils and, of course, oils to avoid.
Healthy Oils for Cooking
1. Avocado Oil
Want to do some deep frying at a temperature that isn’t going to make your food burn? Then Avocado oil should be your pick.
As the name already suggests, this oil is made from avocado, which happens to be a rich source of fiber and antioxidants—totally recommended!
Avocado oil has a smoke point (the point where it begins to give off smoke) of about 271 degrees Celsius and is known to contain good fatty acids like oleic acid.
A study conducted on animals suggests that avocado oil may have a helpful effect on the cardiovascular system.
What can you cook with avocado oil? Well, just about anything. Since the oil is plain and may not change the taste of your food much, you can cook just about anything with it.
2. Olive Oil
Olive oils are healthy and are so similar to avocado oil that one can easily be used in place of the other. Olive oil is made from olives.
It is a clear oil that can serve a variety of purposes, some in the kitchen and others outside the kitchen. Olive oil can be used in cooking, as well as in frying.
It has a smoke point of just about 176 degrees Celsius.
Olive oil is a storehouse for Vitamin E, which is great for your skin, and it also has antioxidant properties.
Like avocado oil, olive oil is healthy and contains oleic acid, which is typically considered good fat because it has anti-inflammatory properties and may have an effect on lowering your risk of cancer.
(Away from the kitchen, you can use olive oil as a skincare product. In fact, products that contain just enough olive oil are a yes.)
3. Safflower Oil
This oil is made from the seeds of safflower. It makes it to this list because, like olive oil and avocado oil, it is packed with a number of nutrients and has a unique flavor I bet you’ll love in your food.
Even though it may contain ‘unhealthy’ fats, it is typically richer in saturated fats, which are considered healthy and just great for your heart.
Since it has a high smoke point, it is recommended for cooking foods that have to be heated for long periods.
4. Grape Seed Oil
This is made from the seeds of grapefruit. So, when next you eat a grapefruit, know that oils can be made from those seeds.
The grape seed oil has a high smoke point, which means it is recommended for cooking at high temperatures.
It has a rich concentration of antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, meaning it has an impact on heart health and is usually considered clear cooking oil.
Grape seed oil can be a perfect frying oil because it adds a typical flavor to your fries. You can get this oil in regular grocery stores or maybe even make an order on Amazon, and it will be delivered.
5. Vegetable Oil
This one here is quite commonly used. It is made by blending a number of vegetables and is tolerant to low to moderate heat, with a smoke point of just about 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
It might be the oil with the highest amount of poly-saturated fat. This isn’t quite a bad thing, as poly-saturated fats, according to studies, are known to have an impact (a good one) on the heart.
Please note that only liquid vegetable oil is considered good for health. Some kinds of vegetable oil, as seen in margarine and some processed snacks, contain quite a lot of trans fat, which is typically considered bad.
6. Coconut Oil
This is by far one of the most heat-resistant oils out there due to its high saturated fat content. More than 85 percent of the fat in coconut oil is saturated!
Lauric acid, one of the main fatty acids present in coconut oil, may have an effect on improving cholesterol levels.
Coconut oil can also have you feeling fuller, which means an impact on appetite!
Oils to Avoid
These are some oils you need to avoid for cooking, especially if you are cooking with heat:
1. Corn Oil
Coin oil is an extract from the germ of maize. It can be used for cooking and frying but is typically considered not-so-healthy. It contains a high amount of phytosterol, which is something like cholesterol.
Even though phytosterols can reduce cholesterol levels by lowering cholesterol absorption from the gut, phytosterols are indicated in the risk of heart disease in women yet to reach menopause. It may also increase the risk of heart disease in the young.
2. Canada Oil
Canada oil may not be that bad, but it is still best if one stays away. It contains a number of fatty acids, including unsaturated fatty acids and trans-fats. Unsaturated fatty acids are linked with heart disease and other cardiovascular trouble.
The oil contains erucic acid, which has been seen to impair liver function in certain experimental animals.
3. Walnut Oil
This isn’t typically a ‘bad’ oil. It serves better as a low-heat oil and can be used in several recipes, including salads. (Can be used as a salad dressing.) You are fine with it as long as you do not need much heat.
4. Palm Oil
Palm oil contains quite a lot of calories and fat and so poses the risk of weight gain. It also has a low smoke point, which means it is not quite suitable for cooking associated with high heat.
Palm oil may also be bad for the ecosystem, as palm oil production involves falling trees and using heavy machinery.
Check out this article to see sustainable ways to eat.
5. Oils from Fish
Oils from fish are typically not so good for heat. They contain many omega-3 fatty acids and will smoke when you heat them. It is best you eat just enough and keep the heat away.
Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash