The Healthiest Cooking Oil Options to Be Aware Of
Cooking oil is an essential part of cooking just about anything. It is necessary whether you do not want your food to stick to the pan, or you want some subtle added flavor to spice up your dinner. Of course, the go to cooking oil is either olive or canola oils. However, there are far better oils that you could be choosing from. The healthiest cooking oil comes from fruits, vegetables, and nuts like avocado, coconut, sunflower, and many more. But which ones are the healthiest and best options for you? I'll go over the pros and cons of each, to help you determine which will be your new favorite cooking oil.
There are a lot of different kinds of cooking oil out there. You might be surprised to learn that just about all cooking oil is actually the healthiest cooking oil. But some can be healthier than others. As long as you stay away from the spray oils, you should be fine. The healthiest cooking oil can come from a lot of different sources. Seeds, fruits, vegetables, even animal fats. Each have their own characteristics and unique flavors. Some of them are stronger in taste than others, which is definitely something to consider. In addition, they also each have their own unique melting points which will affect your cooking. Not to mention they also have different nutritional values as well.
Of course, you could just use butter. And while there are healthier butter options available, the general consensus around butter is that is it essentially solidified fat and is basically as unhealthy as they come. Now, there are some good things about butter, specifically its low smoke point, which some people like, and flavor that it adds to whatever food you are cooking it in. But it still has a lot of saturated fat that can hang around for a while. For certain dishes, butter is the recommended means to cook something. For example, frying eggs, butter is definitely the way to go. But for most, cooking oils are far better.
Healthiest Cooking Oil
If you are already sold on canola oil or olive oil, that is totally fine. Both are fine options. In fact, they are among the healthiest cooking oil options that you can choose from, and I will go over those as well. However, there are some other cooking oils that do not go through the same chemical process that canola oil does. And for those who are trying to limit their exposure foods with a chemical processing, there are better options out there. So, let's get started shall we? First off, here are all of the healthiest cooking oil options that you can choose from.
- Canola Oil- Contrary to popular belief, canola oil is actually not that bad for you. It is has a high monounsaturated to saturated fat ratio, high smoke point, but is made from genetically modified rapeseed. In addition, it is also fairly high in calories and saturated fats. Not to mention it has a stronger flavor.
- Olive Oil- This is probably the most common cooking oil there is, but also one of the healthiest cooking oil options. It is high in monounsaturated fats, but does have a lower smoke point. Nevertheless, it is by far one of the most versatile oils out there.
- Coconut Oil- Coconuts and coconut oil has so many great benefits. However, its fat content is actually most like that of butter. About 86% of its fat is saturated. However, it has a high concentration of medium chain triglycerides, which the body burns for fuel immediately. It also has a fairly high smoke point and can be extracted and processed without the use of chemicals, unlike canola oil.
- Avocado Oil- Another hit in the clean eating community, avocado oil has a ton of benefits. In fact, I just went over those benefits for skin and hair, which you can find here! In general, it has a very low saturated fat content, but packed with monounsaturated fats. Plus a high smoke point and a neutral flavor make it perfect for cooking. If you can afford it, that is.
- Sunflower Oil- One of the few seed oils that are a huge hit. Sunflower oil has a great source of vitamin E and just a tablespoon of it provides about 40% of your daily needs. High oleic sunflower oil also contains more than 70% of monounsaturated fats. However, it is also extremely high in omega-6 fats, which can result in a bad reaction if too much is taken in.
- Flaxseed Oil- Once again, another seed oil. A huge hit among vegans, as it is a great vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, it should not really be heated much because it has an extremely low smoke point. However, it is great to drizzle over salads, cooked veggies, or pretty much any other food.
- Peanut Oil- A more flavorful oil, this one has the highest monounsaturated fat content (49%). It also has a similar amount of polyunsaturated fat to canola oil (33%). However, it has a higher saturated far content, compared to other vegetable oils. Also, it is not a good idea to use this oil if you are even slightly allergic to peanuts.
The Best, Healthiest Cooking Oil
Out of all of the healthiest cooking oil options you can choose from, there are two that stand out above them all. Those two are Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Avocado Oil. The reasoning? Because both of them are incredibly versatile and have a lot of benefits to them.
Olive oil has a lot of antioxidants, which are highly beneficial to your body. In addition, it has the ability to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of breast cancer. Olive oil has also been linked, through various studies, to improved memory and better overall brain functioning. The amount of monounsaturated fats have also been shown to reduce your LDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is also known as the "bad cholesterol."
Avocado is a unique plant with very specific benefits. While most plant oils are extracted from the seed, avocado oil is taken from the flesh of the avocado. Most fruits usually contain very little fats, but are higher in carbs. However, the avocado is the exact opposite. It is very high in healthy, beneficial fats and lower in carbs. In addition, the avocado contains more potassium than a banana and more protein and fats than any other fruit on earth.
Avocado oil is a lightly flavored oil, compared to olive oil which is a much heavier flavor. It is also very high in oleic acid, monounsaturated fats, and vitamins A, S, and D. There are also a lot of minerals that are contained within avocado oil. The highest concentrations include magnesium and antioxidants, which most people do not get enough of. Avocados are one of the few natural sources of beta-sitosterol. This positively impacts lipid and cholesterol levels in the body. There is even more research showing that beta-sitosterol may actually inhibit cell division in cancerous cells. As for the antioxidant benefits of the avocado, it has the unique ability to penetrate cells down to the mitochondria and actually improve the function of the cell. Oh, and barely anyone is allergic to avocado, making it more accessible than coconut or other nut-based oils.
There are so many great and healthy cooking oils that you can choose from. Of course the healthiest cooking oil options will have a balance between nutrients and smoke point. However, some of them will also have stronger flavors than others, which can affect the end result of whatever you are cooking. Now, if you are already settled with one of the most popular oils like olive or canola, that is totally fine. But if you are looking to get away from the chemical processes, it is best to go with one of the many others.
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