It used to be that you’d walk down the aisle with oils and vinegar and find olive oil and canola oil. Now, there’s everything from hazelnut oil to avocado oil to safflower oil.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused by all the names and marketing, so today we’re going to break down the oils that are ACTUALLY healthy and which ones you should avoid.
Healthy Cooking Oils
You’ll want to look for oils in dark, glass bottles with tightly fitting lids because light and air can oxidize oils
One of the most versatile oils in our kitchens and one we probably already all have! Stay away from marketing ploys like “light” olive oil and opt for cold-pressed olive oils which reduce oxidation. Olive oil is perfect for salad dressings and when cooking on low heat. It’s heart-healthy and can help raise your HGL (good cholesterol). It’s also high in oleic acid.
Unrefined coconut oil has a smoke point of 350°F , and refined olive oil has a smoke point of 425°F.
It has a light coconut flavor and is great for sautéing and can be used in smoothies as a fat source as well. And, fun fact! Coconut oil converts to energy better than other fat sources. It contains lauric acid, which can improve cholesterol and kill pathogens and bacteria.
Coconut oil has a smoke point of 360°F.
Avocado oil is one that I’ve started buying and cooking with more often because I often cook at higher temperatures. It contains lutein, which is a carotenoid that can improve eye health. It has a very mild, neutral flavor which makes it great in just about everything!
Avocado oil has a smoke point of 520°F.
Ghee is essentially clarified butter, which means the milk solids have been removed. It’s lactose-free and is rich in CLA and butyrate which decrease inflammation. It also contains vitamins A, E & K2. It has a rich, buttery, nutty flavor. I love using it for baking veggies, in Indian dishes like curry and Tikka Masala for a deep, rich flavor.
Ghee has a smoke point of 480°F.
Understanding Smoke Points
The smoke point is the temperature where an oil starts to burn. When you heat past an oil’s smoke point, the oil starts to oxidize and releases harmful free radicals and compounds. It can also destroy nutrients—case in point, chose your oil based on smoke point for the healthiest cooking.
Oil sprays can be a great way to easily reduce the amount of fat you’re adding to your cooking, but not all oil sprays are created equally. Look at the ingredients to see what else is included. Our favorites are the air-powered sprays that only have 1 ingredient—the oil! Chosen Foods is one of my go-to brands.
Which Oils to Avoid
When purchasing oils, you want to avoid these on the list below. Vegetable oils might sound healthy, but they are man-made and have excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids which can cause inflammation. They’re made with chemical-heavy extraction processes that make them less desirable choices for cooking.
You’ll also want to avoid buying products that include these oils as ingredients
- Canola oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Vegetable oil
I hope that makes your next shopping trip a little easier, and if you have any of these offenders, toss them out and replace them with the healthy options listed in the first part of this post!
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