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What Are The Healthiest Oils For Cooking?

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: June 10, 2022

Cooking with the right oils is important for your health. Not all oils are created equal, and some are better for you than others and finding out which ones are best can be time-consuming.

In this blog post, we will teach you about the healthiest oils for cooking and why they are good for you. We will also discuss how to cook with these oils and how they interact with your body.

What Makes Certain Oils Healthy?

Although there are certain oils that truly are better for your health than others, most of the different types of oils have the same general effect when consumed.

What actually makes them healthy doesn't necessarily have to do with their health benefits but the dangers involved when the oils get too hot.

Smoking Points

All cooking oils have different smoking points which indicate the temperature at which they start to smoke and release harmful toxins into the air.

You want to avoid cooking with oils that have a low smoking point because this means they will release more toxins when heated.

Some of the healthiest oils for cooking have a high smoke point, which means they can be heated to a higher temperature without releasing harmful toxins.

Processing Method

Another factor to consider for healthy oils is the processing method. There are two major types of processing for oils: refined and unrefined.

Refined oil is typically less expensive but has a more uniform appearance whereas unrefined oils still have some sediment leftover but retain more flavor and natural color.

Although refined oils may not have as many nutrients, they also have a higher smoking point so you don't have to worry about free radicals when cooking.

You should also look for a cold-pressed label on the bottle, which means the oil has been processed without the use of chemicals or heat.

The Healthiest Cooking Oils

Below you'll find the healthiest cooking oils based on their smoking point and processing method.

Avocado Oil

If you're looking for an oil that can withstand the hottest temps you'll be cooking with, avocado oil is a good choice.

It has a smoke point of 520 degrees Fahrenheit and is also unrefined and cold-pressed.

Not to mention, it's also packed with healthy fats that can help improve your cholesterol levels and heart health.

Some studies have suggested that avocado oil may lower blood pressure and reduce joint inflammation.

Olive Oil

Chances are if you've cooked some meals before on the stovetop you're familiar with the classic olive oil.

This oil is extracted from olives and has a fruity, bitter taste. It's also one of the healthiest vegan oils for cooking because of its 350-degree smoking point.

You can't use it for really intense cooking but most meals will require the same cooking temps that olive oil can withstand.

Olive oil is also rich in vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant for any free radicals in the body.

Safflower OIl

Safflower is another one of the oils that has a very high smoking point of 510 so you can use it for cooking at high temps.

This oil is also light in taste and color, making it a good choice if you're looking for an oil that won't change the flavor of your food.

It's also unrefined and has a nutty flavor which makes it great for salads or dipping bread.

Safflower can manage your inflammation and also your blood sugar levels.

Sesame Oil

Sesame is a healthy oil to cook with because of its medium-high smoke point of 410 degrees. It can withstand most cooking recipes but some of the more heat-intense meals will need to go with avocado oil.

It also has a nutty flavor that can enhance the taste of your food and you can even throw it directly onto salads.

Sesame oil is also rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. There is also toasted sesame oil which provides the same benefits but with a slightly nuttier flavor.

Oils to Avoid

Unfortunately, not all oils are going to have antioxidant properties or be able to manage your inflammation.

Fish oil is one that you want to keep as a supplement and not for cooking. Although it's rich in omega 3 fatty acids, it has a low smoke point so you'll release toxins into the air when cooking.

Flax oil has become popular in recent years for some of it's great health benefits but the 225 degree smoking point doesn't make it useful for cooking. You'll want to stick it on cold meals like salad dressings.

Palm Oil has more calories than other oils but one of the main concerns is the environmental impact. The processing of palm oil has been linked to rainforest deconstruction and loss of biodiversity.

Best Ways to Store Your Oil

To keep your oils as healthy as they can be without compromising their integrity you'll want to follow some simple rules for storage.

Keep them in a cool place where they can rest without the chemical structure being broken down by heat. The hotter the location you store them the quicker they will go bad.

You also want to make sure they are in a dark place because light can also damage the oils. The intensity of the light will again cause the chemical structure to break down.

You'll want to keep them in an airtight container so that oxygen doesn't interact with the oil and start the process of oxidation. All oils will come in their own container but you can transfer them to an air-tight container if needed.

FAQ

Is there a vegan cooking oil?

Yes, there are vegan cooking oils. Some popular vegan cooking oils include avocado oil, olive oil, and safflower oil.

Which oil is best for heart and cholesterol?

Oils that are good for the heart include peanut, olive, corn, canola, and sunflower.


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