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Best Cooking Oils For Your Health According To Science

Written by Dr. Shaun Murphy

There are so many varieties of cooking oils in the market it’s easy to be confused by which ones are healthy and which ones aren’t.

To bring things into perspective, oil is a fat, and fat calories are still fat calories, no matter which type of oil you use. But fat isn’t always the bad guy in your diet.

Certain organs, like your heart, primarily use fat for energy, plus there are nutrients, like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, that you can only get by eating fat.

The proportion of the different types of fats that make up these oils can vary dramatically making them either less or more healthy.

In today’s article, we will tell you about the healthiest oils available in the market. From Avocado to Canola oil and many more. So let’s get started!

Which Oils Are Best for Cooking?

1.Avocado Oil:

  • Avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, about 70%. This is one of the highest levels of monounsaturated fat among cooking oils, second only to olive oil.
  • This helps in promoting healthy cholesterol levels in your body and also enhances the absorption of some nutrients. Plus it’s loaded with vitamin E, which can help to strengthen your skin and immune system.
  • Keep in mind, it can be more expensive than other oils and may be harder to find.
  • It has a mild flavor similar to avocado, can withstand high cooking temperatures, making it one of the best oils that you can use for high-temperature cooking, sautéing, grilling, roasting, or using in salad dressings.

2.Almond Oil:

  • Almond oil is made by expeller pressing the oil in ground almonds and is available in refined and unrefined forms.
  • Unlike most natural cooking oils, you can find them in both bitter and sweet variations, making the oil quite versatile in cooking and preparation methods.
  • It is rich in vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium, and zinc.
  • This is helpful in Increasing your healthy HDL cholesterol while lowering harmful LDL, supporting your immune function and liver health, alleviating irritable bowel syndrome, and also reducing colon cancer risk.
  • Almond oil is light, clean, and mildly sweet while the unrefined one has a nutty, toasty flavor with buttery undertones.
  • Its high smoke point makes it best for stir-frying, roasting, grilling, and other high-heat applications.
  • You can use unrefined for salad dressings, in dips, and to drizzle on cooked dishes.

3.Canola Oil:

  • Canola oil was first developed in the 1970s after it was discovered from a plant that belongs to the mustard family.
  • The plant underwent selective breeding to help improve the quality of the oil, and today it is among the most preferred oils for vegan dishes. You may know this oil by its bad reputation, thanks to its association with fried food.
  • But it is not only high in both forms of unsaturated fat, it also has one of the lowest percentages of saturated fats of any oil.
  • It contains a neutral flavor thanks to low amounts of erucic acid. Even when unrefined, canola oil exhibits a high smoking point, which makes it an ideal choice for meals that require heating to high temperatures.
  • Though it contains lesser amounts of antioxidants compared to olive oil, it does have alpha-linolenic acid, a kind of omega-3 fatty acid.
  • Alpha-linolenic acid may reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cardiovascular disorders.
  • However, canola oil is chemically processed, which can be a red flag for those of you trying to stick to an organic diet.
  • Because of its super neutral taste, you can use it for baking, roasting, and of course frying, rather than salad dressings and sautéeddishes.

4.Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

  • With high levels of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, and a rich, luxurious flavor, there’s no wonder why extra virgin olive oil has become one of the most popular cooking oils.
  • It is rich in polyphenols, antioxidant compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Polyphenols have been shown to help prevent cancer, as well as improve your cognitive function and memory.
  • Since EVOO’s nutritional integrity is somewhat broken down when cooked, the biggest health boost will result if you eat it at room temperature, as part of a salad dressing, or drizzle it over the dish of your choice.
  • It is also great for sautéing and low-temperature roasting.EVOO has a low smoke point that makes it difficult to fry or roast above 375 degrees.
  • Choose Extra Virgin unrefined oil for dressing and low-heat applications so you’ll be able to enjoy its robust flavor.
  • Choose Virgin, also unrefined or Pure which is a blend of virgin and refined oils for pan-frying, roasting, or baking.

5.Flaxseed Oil:

  • Since the oil is more condensed than whole flaxseeds, it provides a greater punch of omega-3s.
  • Flaxseed oil is also a terrific option for individuals suffering from high blood pressure, and studies show that supplementing with flaxseed oil on a daily basis can lower your blood pressure and have a cardioprotective effect.
  • It is also high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)which may reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, autoimmune and neurological disorders.
  • Keep in mind, It can go rancid very quickly and even faster if you heat it, so make sure you store it in the fridge and only use it for low-temperature applications like dressing salads.
  • You may also drizzle it on oatmeal or cooked vegetables, and toss it with quinoa or other grains.

6.Grapeseed Oil:

  • This mild-flavored oil, which is made from the grape seeds discarded during the wine-making process, has a huge percentage of polyunsaturated fat and a low percentage of saturated fat.
  • Grape seed oil is high in vitamin E and antioxidants and is known to deter harmful organisms.
  • Vitamin E is an essential nutrient when it comes to your skin health, immune function, and the prevention of oxidative damage to the cells.
  • In fact, a single tablespoon of grapeseed oil manages to pack in about 19 percent of the daily recommended value, making it a great way to help meet your daily needs.
  • Studies have found consuming grape seed oil can reduce systemic redness, and also improve insulin resistance in your body.
  • Make sure to pick cold-pressed or expeller-pressed choices because other options involve chemical processing which introduces harmful polyaromatic hydrocarbons into the oil.
  • In addition to being packed with heart-healthy fats, grapeseed is also a great neutral oil for just about every kitchen task, from roasting to salad dressings.

7.Tea Seed Oil:

  • Also known as camellia oil, the tea seed oil is extracted from the seeds often plants. It is a powerful antioxidant that can protect you against aging and reduce LDL or bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Tea seed oil is also rich in flavonoids like catechins, a type of polyphenol that decreases the formation of reactive oxygen species or ROS.ROS can wreak havoc on your health.
  • Catechins can also help to lower your blood pressure, balance cholesterol levels, and promote vascular health.
  • You will get similar benefits from the same epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG found in green tea, as when you eat tea seed oil.
  • From boosting your immune system to reaching your weight loss goals, tea seed oil will support your health and beauty from the inside out.
  • Like olive oil, tea seed oil contains a similar fatty acid profile, the majority comprised of oleic acid but contains even more of the anti-inflammatory-rich omega-3s.
  • In addition to some very special phytonutrients, the tea seed oil is a rich source of vitamins, A, and B.
  • Minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and manganese found in tea seed oil are critical co-factors for countless enzymatic reactions in your body.
  • The tea seed oil contains special polyphenols like triterpenes, saponins, and kaempferol shown in studies to lower inflammation and guard against oxidative stress. The high smoke point makes it incredibly versatile for baking, sauteing, deep-frying, or even as a nutritious salad dressing.

8.Rice Bran Oil:

  • Rice bran Oil contains vitamin tocotrienols that can lower your LDL cholesterol, stem inflammation, and reduce cancer risk.
  • It is also rich in vitamin K that plays an important role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating your blood calcium levels.
  • It is extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice grains and most kinds are chemically extracted.
  • When buying, look for cold-pressed varieties, which are not heated during extraction.
  • It is light and clean, with a fresh, neutral flavor and delicate aroma.
  • You can use it for high heat stir-frying, grilling, roasting, or sautéing, or in dressings like mayonnaise when a neutral flavor is desired.

9.Unrefined Coconut Oil:

  • Coconut oil is mostly saturated fat, which makes it very stable. It also contains medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs, which is a fat source that converts to energy more quickly.
  • As an added benefit, coconut oil contains an antimicrobial compound called lauric acid, which has also been shown to have beneficial effects on cholesterol.
  • Coconut Oil has also been shown to aid in weight loss. Unrefined coconut oil has a lower smoke point and so it is well suited for shallow frying.
  • One important thing to note is that unrefined coconut oil imparts a distinct coconut flavor that many of you may not like.

10.Peanut Oil:

  • Your brain is mostly made up of fatty acids, and you need plenty of it in your daily diet in order to keep performing tasks and thinking clearly.
  • Out of all the cooking oils on this list, peanut oil has the highest monounsaturated fat content, at around half.
  • Being high in monounsaturated fats, it is considered brain food, improving your memory, mood, and attention.
  • Unlike most other cooking oils, peanut oil contains no cholesterol at all, and due to its high rate of phytosterols, studies have shown it can lower cholesterol levels by 10-15percent.

Thank You.

About the author

Dr. Shaun Murphy