Whether baking, frying, sautéing or even making a simple salad dressing, we use cooking oils almost every day. There are so many different types of oils to choose from, so how do you know which are the healthiest to cook with? To help you sort through the possibilities, we got the skinny on some well-known cooking oils.
Vegetable: Vegetable oils were never a part of our diet until the 1900s when technology became available to chemically extract the oil from seeds of plants like soybeans, corn and sunflowers. Because certain chemicals are necessary to extract the oils, vegetable oils cannot be produced naturally. They are one of the most chemically-altered foods in your diet, which means they aren't as healthy for you as a other oils. One type of well-known vegetable oil is canola oil, which is extracted from the rapeseed. Because rapeseed contains toxic erucic acid, rapeseed oil undergoes massive amounts of chemical processing in order to make canola oil consumable, making it a very unhealthy choice for cooking. (via Wellness Mama)
Coconut: Semi-solid at room temperature, coconut oil can keep for months or even years. Not only is coconut oil great for cooking, but it can also be substituted for butter or even used as a moisturizer! Ninety percent of its fatty acids are saturated, which means that it's very resistant to heat. Oils that are resistant to heat won't oxidize or go rancid. The fats in coconut oil boost your metabolism and give you a fuller feeling after eating a meal prepared with coconut oil. It's also rich in Lauric Acid, which can help lower cholesterol and kill bacteria. (via Authority Nutrition)
Olive: A popular choice, olive oil is known for its heart healthy benefits by raising the good cholesterol and lowering the bad cholesterol in your bloodstream. Extra Virgin olive oil is less processed and has more health benefits than regular olive oil, so make sure to choose EVOO at the grocery store. Trust us, it's worth the tiny markup in price. Because EVOO has 120 calories per teaspoon, you might want to use an olive oil mister to avoid ingesting excess calories. (via The Star-Ledger). For more info on how olive oil can improve your health, click here.
Avocado: Although its most popular use is in cosmetic purposes due to its high skin penetration and rapid absorption rates, avocado oil can be used for cooking as well. It is very similar to olive oil in the sense that it primarily contains monounsaturated fats and that it has a high smoke point, (the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke). (via The American Oil Chemists' Society) For other natural skincare remedies, click here.
Palm: Derived from the fruit of oil palms, palm oil is a healthy alternative to vegetable oil. According to Authority Nutrition, because it contains mostly saturated and monounsaturated fats, palm oil is perfect for cooking.
As you can see, there are plenty of options to entertain while choosing what kind of oil to cook with. EVOO and coconut oil are the most practical oils on this list, and much healthier than the other processed oils. Although not as widely used, avocado and palm oil are healthy options as well.