Rules and 8 Options of Healthiest Cooking Oil

The wide variety of cooking oils in the market can be confusing and make it difficult to choose one over the other. There are oils with plant origins like coconut, palm, olive and corn, and oils with animal origins including lard and butter. Then, which is the healthiest cooking oil?

Rules for Choosing Healthy Cooking Oil

1. Press

The method used to obtain the oil is important, because it ultimately determines how the oil will taste and which nutrients it will have. Cold pressing and the expeller methods are the best because they involve low temperatures, ensuring that the oil retains its unique flavor and nutrients.

2. Smoking Point

The smoking point is the temperature at which a particular oil starts to break down. When this happens, the oil loses essential nutrients and the taste is also affected. This is the reason why the healthiest cooking oil should either be used as a salad dressing or for cooking on high heat, depending on its smoking point. Different oils are appropriate for different uses.

3. By-Product

Polyunsaturated fats (containing two or more double bonds) have by-products that may be harmful to the body. They may lead to increased cholesterol, high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. This is because polyunsaturated fats oxidize and produce harmful free radicals and other compounds.

On the other hand, monounsaturated fats (containing a single bond) are resistant to heat and do not produce toxic by-products. They are not readily oxidized or broken down. Examples of monounsaturated oils include olive oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil.

Options of Healthiest Cooking Oil

1. Olive Oil

Olive oil contains a little over 70% of monounsaturated fats, making it one of the healthy cooking oils out there. Additionally, this wonder oil is packed with immune boosters and antioxidants such as polyphenol which supports the cognitive brain function. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

And due to its low smoking point, olive oil is ideal for salad dressing, baking, pan-frying and roasting if it is unrefined. Olive oil is not ideal for high-heat cooking.

2. Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseeds are a super food that is high in fiber and offers incredible health benefits. Studies show that flaxseeds can fight breast cancer and reverse heart disease. 

Flaxseed oil is actually a healthier option than the flaxseeds. It contains over 15% of monounsaturated fats and is packed with vitamin B1, manganese and omega-3 in more concentration than the actual flaxseeds. Flaxseed oil is best used as a dressing and in low-heat cooking.

3. Canola Oil

The canola plant, which is the source of canola oil, is a cross-breed of the rapeseed. Canola oil contains over 60% monounsaturated fats and is rich in omega-3. It also has a high smoking point of 200C, making it ideal for all round cooking, especially for high-heat cooking. Ensure to use organic canola oil because most of the products in the market contain traces of harmful chemicals such as hexane.

4. Avocado Oil

High amounts of vitamin E found in avocado oil ensure that it is great with the skin and immune system. Avocado oil also tastes amazing and contains over 70% monounsaturated fats, making it one of the healthiest cooking oil. This super oil has a smoking point of over 392ºF (200ºC), thus making it an all-round cooking oil.

It can also be stored for a long time because it does not go rancid quickly. Other amazing benefits of avocado oil include detoxification, weight loss, better digestion, thicker and healthier head of hair among others.

5. Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is pressed from the sunflower seed and is filled with amazing health benefits. Sunflower oil does not contain saturated fats and is, therefore, good for your cholesterol levels. It contains a mixture of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are actually a good balance and can ultimately reduce your cholesterol levels, putting it on the list of one of the healthiest cooking oils.

Sunflower oil also has a high smoking point and is ideal for high-heat cooking such as making French fries. A word of caution though, patients with diabetes need to consume this oil in moderation as it can ultimately lead to increase in blood sugar levels. Also, ensure that you take a balance of omega-3 fatty acids to balance out the high omega-6 fatty acids in sunflower oil.

6. Peanut Oil

It is extracted from unshelled peanuts. It has a high smoking point and is suitable for frying and roasting. Peanut oil also helps prevent cancer, lowers cholesterol, and is great for your skin. For these reasons, you should make it your friend.

7. Sesame Seed Oil

This oil from the sesame seed is best used in its unrefined form. It has a high smoking point and is quite popular in Asian cuisine. It has a nutty flavor that will titillate your taste buds, and is a popular choice in rice, tofu, and tempeh. It is better to use it in savory dishes rather than pastries because of its exquisite taste.

8. Grape Seed Oil

Grape seed oil works best in salads or roasted veggies because of its mild nutty flavor. It also has a high smoking point and is ideal for frying and baking. Grape seed oil also has a high content of vitamin E and polyunsaturated fats, making it one of the healthiest cooking oils.