Cooking with heart-healthy oil is a great way to reduce your saturated and trans fat intake. With so many options, it can be quite difficult to choose the healthiest cooking oil. There are still several choices even when you narrow oils down to the options that are widely considered nutritious. Fortunately, you don't need to spend time fretting over your options in the grocery aisle. If you keep reading, you'll learn several things you need to know about choosing cooking oil. We'll identify popular picks and highlight the healthiest ones among them. Additionally, you'll learn about the various health properties of high-quality cooking oils. Each one offers unique benefits for you to consider. Read on to discover everything you need to know to make a well-informed dietary change.
Popular Cooking Oils
There are over a dozen different types of cooking oils, but some are much more popular than others. Keep in mind that the list below includes the most common picks that are both healthy and unhealthy. The most widely used cooking oils are:
- vegetable oil
- canola oil
- corn oil
- soybean oil
- sunflower oil
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- avocado oil
There are a few reasons that these oils are more popular than other cooking oils. Several of them are healthy options, and others are very budget-friendly picks. Additionally, these oils don't add strong flavors or odors to the dishes you cook. Examples that fall into this category include canola, vegetable, and corn oil. They're versatile and don't change the flavor of your dish.
Other types of cooking oils like sesame oil, peanut oil, and pumpkin seed oil aren't as widely used. Sesame and peanut oils are often used to cook Asian dishes, and pumpkin seed oil is commonly used for baking.
Some of these oils do have various healthy properties, but their strong nutty flavor makes them less versatile. They're typically used for specific recipes due to their taste.
Which Cooking Oil is the Healthiest?
There isn't a one-size-fits-all cooking oil because everyone has different dietary and health needs or preferences. However, there are oils that are widely considered healthy options.
- Coconut oil - Coconut oil for cooking because it contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), a heart-healthy fat. The fat in coconut oil also helps it withstand high temperatures, so it's great for baking and frying.
- Olive oil - Olive oil is another pick that's rich in healthy fats. It also contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Some olive oils contain more flavor than others, and different types have different smoke points.
- Avocado oil - Avocado oil has many of the same beneficial properties as coconut oil. It has monounsaturated fats and the flavor is neutral. It's also high in an antioxidant known for promoting eye health.
Lastly, it's important to note the good and bad aspects of canola and vegetable oil. This oil is widely used because it's flavorless and very inexpensive. Unfortunately, these oils are chemically processed, and this may destroy nutrients during the cooking process.
Among the three healthiest oils listed above, avocado and coconut oil offer the most nutritional properties. In most cases, coconut oil is less expensive than avocado oil. Buy fractionated coconut oil (AKA liquid coconut oil) for easy cooking and less flavor.