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What you cook your foods with is as important as what you cook. There’s a lot of talk around the benefits of Olive Oil and how it is one of the best cooking oils. It is but it is not the only one. Cooking oils, as it turns out, are only as good as the food item you’re cooking. Each oil has its own set of properties, which makes it good for certain uses. Some oils are good for baking stuff, some for frying, and the rest taste good in a salad.
The secret to nutrition lies in the variety of cooking oils, as it does in the variety of foods itself. When cooking at high heat, stable oils that do not oxidize easily are the best. The oils that oxidize easily, form free radicals by reacting with oxygen, and can be harmful to the body.
The relative degree of saturation of the fatty acids in the oil determines its resistance to oxidation. However, don’t feel confused with these complicated statements, we’re here to simplify it for you. Get FITFEAST to consult certified dietitians at your convenience and find out what you should be eating to get the required nutrition.
Okay, let us start with one of the most popular cooking oils out there. A favorite among many experts and renowned chefs across the globe, Olive Oil is the best cooking oil for the heart. It is an indispensable ingredient of the Mediterranean diet – salads, pasta, and bread – and good for the heart.
Olive oil has a low smoke point (325-375 degrees Fahrenheit) – the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke. This means that Olive oil is great for baking but it is not the best when frying foods. If you do use it for frying foods, the flavor and nutrition will be compromised. Therefore, it is better to use Olive Oil to sauté or drizzle.
The opinion on coconut oil as a cooking oil is largely varied. It contains saturated fats but quite different from the type found in red meat that clogs arteries. It contains plenty of medium-chain fatty acids, which the body doesn’t convert into stored fat. Nonetheless, you would do best to avoid Coconut oil for cooking if you have high cholesterol; it might affect your LDL cholesterol levels.
However, when you want to cook foods at high heat, you cannot find an option better than Coconut Oil. It is highly resistant to heat since more than 90% of its fatty acids are saturated. Moreover, it can last for years without going rancid mostly because it is semi-solid at room temperature.
It consists of Lauric Acid – a fatty acid - that kills bacteria and other pathogens. Also, it is known to boost metabolism and makes you feel full for longer. However, get virgin coconut oil because of its health benefits and taste.
When used instead of saturated fat, 1.5 tbsp of Canola oil – low in saturated fat – might help in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. As compared to Olive Oil, Canola Oil has a higher smoke point, which means you can use it to cook foods at high temperatures. However, you should probably not use it as an ingredient in salad dressings to add flavor because it has little as compared to seed oils and vegetable oils.
Canola Oil is often considered as unhealthy because it is often associated with fried food. Because of its neutral flavor and a smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, it IS good for frying. So fry, roast and bake with it but avoid dressing salads and sautéing.
High in monounsaturated fatty acids, Avocado Oil is the new variant in the market with the surge in the popularity of avocados. It is known to improve good cholesterol levels in addition to enhancing the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. It is one of the best oils for high-temperature cooking since it has a high smoke point – 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Avocado oil is the winner of the “clean-eating community”, which also means that it is not so economical. It is compared to coconut oil but it has a substantially low amount of saturated fat. Nonetheless, it is packed with monounsaturated fats, which makes avocado oil one of the best cooking oils for the heart. It has a neutral flavor without any chemical processing as compared to vegetable and canola oils. Avocado oil is great for searing, stir-frying, and sautéing.
The benefits of Flaxseed Oil are associated with its high omega-3 fatty acids contents. If you don’t eat omega-3 rich fish, you can probably use more Flaxseed Oil. This oil is not one to cook with because it has a very low smoking point and it oxidizes quickly. Flaxseed Oil is good for you because the body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids itself. This fatty acid reduces inflammation and reduces the risk of cancers. It is great for arthritis patients as well. Drizzle it on your hummus dip and other salad dressings but don't use it to cook. It is better to buy small bottles and use them within a short period.