a guide to healthy cooking oils

Healthy cooking oils sounds like an oxymoron. One of the first things most diets tell you is to cut back or eliminate oils, especially in cooking. Yet oils have different levels of badness. Choosing the right kind of healthy cooking oils can be a nightmare for people looking to track their fat levels.

Healthy Cooking Oils from Best to Worst

With so many different oils to choose from and so much conflicting advice on what kind of healthy cooking oils to choose, how do you know what kind of cooking oils are healthy for you? While some cooking oils hold debate where opinion is split — as with coconut oil — there are also several inarguable truths about some great oils. Knowing the healthy oils and not so great oils may make the difference in your cholesterol levels. So let’s have a look at some of the best and some of the worst.

The Best – Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the few undisputed kings of the cooking oil market. With a smoke point of somewhere between 375 and 470 degrees, olive oil is not always perfect for high heat cooking, but its health benefits cannot be overstated. Olive oil is packed full of antioxidants that have proven health benefits, and a number of varieties to choose from are easy to find, Buyers can choose an extra virgin olive oil that is entirely unrefined. Olive oil has a high ratio of monounsaturated fat to polyunsaturated fat, making it great for fat levels.

The Very Good – Avocado Oil

Avocados are slowly being recognised as something of a superfood, so it’s not surprising to see that avocado oil is amongst the best in show. With a smoke point of 430ºF/210ºC degrees, avocado oil is full of vitamin E, a vitamin that is heavily linked to boosting the immune system. Avocado oil is also not too far behind olive oil in terms of its monounsaturated fat ratio, so a healthy choice.

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The Not So Good – Corn Oil

Corn oil is made from the most inner part of the corn grain, and it has a monounsaturated fat to polyunsaturated fat ratio of around 1: 2.5. Compare this to the ratio in Olive oil of roughly 8: 1 and you can clearly see the difference. Corn oil also has an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio that is more than 10 times greater than the ideal. All adds up to corn oil being a bad choice for cooking.

The Worst – Vegetable Oil

Generally made from soybeans, vegetable oil is usually the cheapest cooking oil you can find and with very good reason. Vegetable oil is heavily refined, has terrible fat ratios and is more often than not used in heavily processed foods like snacks or potato chips. If you’re looking to keep an eye on your fat levels, you should stay well clear of vegetable oil.

Healthy Cooking Oils and Fat Content

One of the reasons fat has classically been used to cook with is because of its ability to enhance flavor. More recent research results claim that fat is essential to optimal health. Much of this can be trial and error, right in yur own kitchen. The jury, for example, is still out on coconut oil, and whether it should be included in a list of healthy cooking oils. At some point I say, follow the signals your body is sending. Mine tells me I’m allergic to coconut, so I rarely use it.

What are your favorites? Let us know!

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