Your cooking oil is a major determinant of how much fat you consume daily, which is why you need to pay detailed attention to what you eat every day. It is very easy to use whatever oil when preparing a meal and it’d seem just perfect. But beyond the beautiful look of the food, you might unconsciously be harming yourself.
Most oils contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which may lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. It is, therefore, better to replace those oils with saturated fat like butter, olive oil, etc. These fats have been proven to lower risks of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But to get all these benefits, the oil must be used correctly.
A lot of people make the mistake of using too much heat when cooking oil which is very wrong. Every oil has a temperature at which smoke forms and the oil’s compounds break down, releasing free radicals, degrading nutrients, and producing an offensive flavour. At that point, the oil is as good as useless because the health benefits are already destroyed. The oil also becomes nearly tasteless when cooked in food.
Below are tips on the best cooking oils with immense health benefits.
No-Cook and Light-Heat Oils
Types: Flaxseed oil, hempseed oil and walnut oil.
Description: Most of these oils can’t withstand heat and, therefore, shouldn’t be cooked. But hempseed oil can be lightly heated for a short amount of time. No-cook and light-heat oils are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, a heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid.
Best for: Drizzle over a salad, or blend into a smoothie or dip.
Types: Coconut oil and olive oil.
Description: Coconut oil is higher in saturated fat and lower in beneficial monounsaturated fat than many of its counterparts. It is a good source of saturated fat, but it should be used in moderation.
Best for: Use in a light sauté, a stovetop sauce, or low-heat baking.
Medium-High Heat Oils
Types: Canola oil, grapeseed oil, macadamia oil, olive oil and sesame oil.
Description: Olive and grapeseed oil are best known for their pleasing flavours and versatile uses. Olives have a lot of aromatic compounds, giving each variety of olive its own unique flavour. A fine extra-virgin olive oil can be used for salad dressing, drizzling on soups or cooked vegetables, or in making pesto.
Best for: Use in a stir-fry or for roasting or baking.
Types: Avocado oil, corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil.
Description: These oils can be used for both low and high-heat cooking, though frying should be minimized.
Best for: Searing, browning, and frying.