Oils are important not only for cooking, but for providing our bodies with healthy fats that are necessary for cell growth, warming up your body, improving nutrient absorption, and high energy levels. In fact, fats are so cool they take part in the manufacturing of various hormones which directly influence not only our body’s health, but mood as well. Some oils are really good for you, but with others you should be more careful. Olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil – there are so many of them to choose from! Here are 8 best and worst oils for your health.
Avocado is one of the yummiest superfoods, which makes avocado oil an incredibly healthy option when it comes to cooking. It doesn’t have much flavor, but has a high smoking point, which makes it great for stir-fries and the like. It has the highest levels of monounsaturated fat out of all oils used for cooking and contains lots of Vitamin E. In other words, it’s a real gem for all healthy eaters out there!
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding coconut oil, mainly because of its saturated fat content that is generally considered a no-no for a healthy diet. But don’t be quick to throw out that bottle of flavorful coconut oil as it is great for cooking at high temperatures like frying or baking. It’s also great for pastries, hot chocolate, cocoa, and all kinds of sweet yummies that go so well with coconut aroma. You just need to be moderate with it!
Sesame oil is definitely one of the ‘good guys’ and is greatly appreciated for its distinct flavor. Used mostly in Asian cuisine, sesame oil can be used for baking, cooking, and salad dressing. Light sesame oil has a higher smoking point, so it’s best to use for stir-frying, while dark sesame oil is perfect for making sauces and salad dressings.
Vegetable oil is basically any type of plant-based oil like palm oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or a mix of them all. In general, these oils are not considered healthy. Also known as partially hydrogenated, these oils are highly processed, which means they lose most (if not all) of their nutrients as well as flavour. Needless to say, it’s best to stay away from these oils and use healthier options.
Olive oil is both yummy and incredibly healthy as long as you choose the ‘extra virgin’ type which is the least processed. This means you’re getting the most of flavor and nutrients while making your delicious meals. Olive oil is great for salad dressings, but can also be used for baking and quick frying. It’s not the best option for deep frying due to its low smoking point. You can also put it on your bread and pasta. It tastes amazing!
Sunflower oil contains high level of Vitamin E – a few tablespoons pack your daily dosage! Its high smoking point makes it perfect for cooking a variety of dishes, while its flavor is distinct, but not too strong. Yet be cautious because sunflower oil contains a lot of omega-6s. Our body needs them, but when not balanced with omega-3s, they can cause excessive inflammation. Use carefully!
Walnut oil is no good for cooking, but its amazing flavor makes it great for drizzling over all kinds of yummy dishes that require a little bit of nuttiness. Add it to ice-cream, pancakes, drizzle over fruits and pastries. You can also add it to lattes or any milk-based drinks. Unlike sunflower oil, it has a balanced amount of omega-3s and omega-6s.
Flaxseed oil is not to be used for cooking as it burns easily, but it’s perfect for all kinds of dressings and smoothies. Flaxseed oil is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which our body doesn’t produce on its own, so you have to receive them from the food you eat. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3s lower the risk of developing cancer.