Healthiest Cooking Oils You Should Make A Part of Your Diet
Oil has always been a tricky substance because there are so many different kinds and varieties available. An abundance of options may appear to give you an advantage, but it matters what cooking oil you use and the amount you use. That is because the cooking oil you choose has a significant impact on making dishes actively unhealthier or highly beneficial. This is conundrum that a lot of health-conscious people deal with when it comes to picking out healthy cooking oils.
The USDA’s database on food nutrition and safety released their latest research, which identified the healthy benefits of 7 separate cooking oils, when best to use them, and their smoke points. We are going to cover those cooking oils and inform you how best you can make them a part of your diet. There is no denying that the landscape of cooking oils has drastically evolved over the past 10 years, and that has confused a lot of consumers, who are concerned about healthy cooking.
The most important thing you must know when it comes to cooking oils is that each oil has its own unique qualities, which distinguishes it from others. Some oils are best for frying, some are best for salad dressings, and some are best for baking. However, before you choose which cooking oil to cook with, you must assess the requirements of the recipe. For instance, when you are frying something, you may want to use an oil with a high smoke point and a neutral flavor.
Refined oils have higher smoke points, which helps them eliminate heat-sensitive impurities through high-temperature heating, filtering, bleaching, or chemical processing. The temperature you are usually frying food at is above 375 degrees F, which is regarded as a high smoke point. You should choose to cook with a neutral oil if you are baking and select a flavorful oil with a low smoke point for sautéing and searing, or for dressing.
The ‘good fats’ mentioned in the cooking oils below are still fats, which is why you should use them in moderation, regardless of what food you are cooking.
So, let’s finally get to discussing the healthiest cooking oils you should make a part of your diet:
1. Coconut oil
A lot of people have the belief that coconut oil is the best oil there is out there, since it has also been advertised as a miracle cream that has the solution to all problems a person may face. There is no denying the benefits of coconut oil when it comes to beauty enhancement, and cosmetics, but when it comes to cooking, it isn’t the most miraculous oil out there. Research has concluded that coconut oil is as healthy as butter, and the oil remains solid at room temperature, because of its high saturated fat content, which comes to around 12 grams per tablespoon.
There are still no answers as to why saturated fat is good or bad for you, but it isn’t something that should make you discount coconut oil. Research has revealed that coconut oil helps increase both the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body, which makes it healthier than butter or lard. However, researchers still claim that there are better cooking oils out there, such as extra-virgin olive oils. You can make an exception if you are baking, because the fatty, creamy quality of coconut oil works well for baked goods. Coconut oil only has a smoke point of 350 degrees F, which doesn’t make it suitable for use in roasting or sautéing.
Coconut oil primarily consists of saturated fats (90%) and has been linked with high blood cholesterol levels throughout history. However, the oil has medium chain triglycerides that are used by the cells in the body as energy and isn’t stored like fat. This makes it tricky to label coconut oil as unhealthy, and recent research has safely concluded that coconut oil is healthy and should be a part of everyday diet.
The USDA states that 1 tablespoon of coconut oil consists of 121 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat.
When to use:
Coconut oil remains solid at room temperature, so you should heat it up and add it to desserts, dressings, and ethnic dishes for a flavor boost. You can use organic refined coconut oil if you are baking, stir-frying, and sautéing, because it has a smoke point of 350 degrees F. The low smoke point of coconut oil means that it is best suited for low-heat cooking, so use it wisely.
2. Algae oil
Algae oil is the newest cooking oil to arrive at grocery shelves, and may seem a little suspect, but research has concluded that it is one of the healthiest oils around. The algae are grown in fermenters, where it takes in plant sugars, which encourages oil production. The oil oozes out like it does when pressed from seeds and coconuts.
Algae oil is regarded as one of the healthiest oils on the planet today, and is known to serve as perfect pantry essential, lowers body inflammation, and preserves heart health. The oil also contains an important omega 3 fatty acid, DHA, which is also found in fish oil and is great for the cardiovascular system in the body.
The USDA has stated that 1 tablespoon of algae oil has 130 calories, and .5 grams of saturated fat, which is the lowest saturated fat percentage among all cooking oils. This means that algae oil only has 4% saturated fat, while coconut oil has 87%, canola oil has 7%, and olive oil contains 14% saturated fat. Algae oil also has 90% of monounsaturated fats, which is the highest levels of monounsaturated fats (good fats) in cooking oils. In comparison, coconut oil has 6%, canola oil has 63%, and olive oil contains 74% of monounsaturated fats.
When to use:
Algae oil allows the natural flavor of the food to shine, which makes it one of the best oils for use in salad dressings, baking, and cooking. The oil has one of the highest smoke points, and is great for stir-frying, sautéing, searing, and frying.
3. Grapeseed oil
Grapeseed oil is one of the healthiest oils out there in the market, and has a high smoke point, which makes it ideal for cooking and frying.
Grapeseed oil is great for marinating meat, but it isn’t renowned as a mainstream cooking oil. The one thing that grapeseed oil has in abundance is linoleic acid levels. Research from Ohio State University concluded that high lipid content helps reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. The research also stated that taking linoleic acid supplements or 2 teaspoons of grapeseed oil can reduce fat in the midsection and increase lean body mass. Grapeseed oil has around 80% of linoleic acid, which makes it one of the healthiest cooking oils you can cook with.
The USDA has stated that 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil contains 12 calories, and 13.6 grams of fat, which is broken down as 2.3 grams saturated fats, 6.2 grams monounsaturated fats, and 4.3 grams of polyunsaturated fats.
When to use:
Grapeseed oil is highly versatile like olive oil, and because it has a high smoke point, it is suitable for cooking at high temperatures.
4. Olive oil
Olive oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils in the market and is also the most commonly used cooking oil due to its health benefits and versatility.
Extra virgin olive oil is an extremely healthy cooking oil because it is rich in good monounsaturated fats (75.9%) and is proven to decrease the risk of heart disease. Numerous studies have proven that olive oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce pain and swelling, and keeps the arteries functioning at optimum levels. It therefore, has a positive effect on several body functions, like sex.
Extra virgin olive oil has been coming out on top of the list of the world’s healthiest diets, because it lends great flavor to any food and is so versatile. You can drizzle it on salads, bread or even use it to sauté any kind of protein or vegetables.
The USDA states that 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil contains 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, which are broken down as 1-gram saturated fat, 9 grams polyunsaturated fats, and 3 grams monounsaturated fats.
There is still plenty of debate surrounding the use of extra virgin olive oil when you are cooking at temperatures. The American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, published a study in 2014, which revealed that olive oil is more stable than other seed oils used for frying at temperatures ranging between 320 degrees F and 374 degrees F. However, it is recommended that you only use olive oil for drizzling on vegetables and salads, or for low temperature cooking.
5. Walnut oil
Walnut oil is another healthy cooking oil that has become popular among consumers and should also be a regular part of everyday diet.
Walnut oil has very high concentrations of alpha-linolenic acid and is known to have a positive effect on the heart. Oil extracted from walnuts is rich in antioxidants, which helps reduce the effects of free radicals that can accelerate the aging process and cause cell damage. The oil is also rich in calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
The USDA has stated that 1 tablespoon of walnut oil has around 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, which is broken down as 1.2 grams saturated fats, 8.6 grams polyunsaturated fats, and 3 grams monounsaturated fats.
When to use:
Walnut oil can be used and consumed in numerous ways, but the best method is to eat it cold, because of its nutty delicious flavor when it is drizzled over cooked bean salads or whole grains. You can also use walnut oil for topping on pasta or a salad, and even to add flavor to steaks and fish. Walnut oil has a low smoke point, which makes it best when used uncooked.
6. Peanut oil
Peanut oil also has a lot of amazing health benefits and has been getting a lot of positive reviews from people that have used it for cooking.
Peanut oil is considered as one of the healthiest cooking oils around because it is high in vitamin E, anti-oxidants, monounsaturated fats, and phytosterols, all of which help lower (bad) LDL cholesterol levels. Numerous studies have revealed that a moderate-fat diet of peanut oil and nuts will boost healthy HDL cholesterol levels, and lower unhealthy triglycerides, which promotes weight loss.
The USDA has stated that 1 tablespoon of peanut oil has 119 calories and 14 grams of fat, which is broken down as 2.3 grams saturated fat, 4.3 grams polyunsaturated fats, and 6 grams of monounsaturated fats.
When to use:
Peanut oil has a high smoke point, which is why it is regarded by many to be one of the best cooking oils around. It is best used for stir-frying and deep-frying, because it doesn’t absorb flavors, and you can easily fry fish and chicken in the same pan, without compromising their taste.
7. Sesame oil
Sesame oil also has a host of amazing benefits, and a high smoke point, which is why it is suitable to be consumed in everyday diet.
Sesame oil offers an extensive array of health benefits and is known to improve heart health and lower blood pressure. Research has also shown that sesame oil helps improve oral health, and remove dental plaque, while other studies have revealed that it is great in managing blood glucose levels for diabetics.
The USDA has stated that 1 tablespoon of sesame oil contains 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, which is broken down as 2 grams saturated fats, 5.6 grams polyunsaturated fats, and 5.4 grams monounsaturated fats.
When to use:
There are two kinds of sesame oil, light sesame oil and dark sesame oil. The light sesame oil is ideal for frying, because it has a high smoke point. The dark sesame oil has a lower smoke point. You can use sesame oil for sautéing, or when stir-frying vegetables or meat.