But it’s no longer a simple choice. You won’t find one or two options on the shelf. You’ll find 10 or even 20 with every one of them claiming to be the best cooking oil!
Choosing the best cooking oil is vital for improving your overall health.
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Fat – What Is It & Why It Matters
The first thing you need to understand is that there are three different types of fat in cooking oils:
Saturated fats typically come from animals, stay solid at room temperature, and have a shelf life. This type of fat is made from fatty acids that mostly have single bonds.
Saturated fats increase your HDL and LDL levels of cholesterol.
High levels of LDL have been linked with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, but recent studies have shown there is no significant evidence that saturated fats are associated with heart disease.
Multiple factors can lead to high LDL levels. Saturated fats have a bad reputation because LDL is involved in the repair process of cells. If cell membranes have lots of damage, your body will produce more LDL to repair the damage.
Sugar and processed foods that cause the damage are the enemies, not the type of cholesterol or fat you're consuming.
This type of fat is very good for you. Monounsaturated fats have been associated with lower levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, a decreased risk of heart disease, and even a reduction in belly fat.
Polyunsaturated fats are not bad per se, but many of the bad oils fall into this category. The worst offenders are commercially produced oils that have been refined with additional compounds.
All types of fats are important to the health of your body. Fatty acids are used by your body to ensure your cell membranes and cells work efficiently. They're also essential to the production of hormones and neurotransmitters.
You may be interested to note that fat contains the most energy of all the nutrients. This can make it a valuable energy source when working out hard.
When differentiating between different types of fat and oil, it is beneficial to categorize them by smoke point. The smoke point of oil relates to the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke.
Oils can be broken down into three different types:
- High heat oils (good for deep frying and other high heat cooking +350° F)
- Medium heat oils (pan-frying, simmering 300-350° F)
- Low heat oils (don't heat)
Oils You Should Avoid
While these oils have a high smoke point, they are highly processed and contain inflammatory compounds and trans fats that we don't want in our diet.
- Corn oil
- Soy oil
- Vegetable Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
Vegetable oils contain a very high concentration of Omega 6 fatty acids, which can easily oxidize. Due to the number of health problems linked to these types of oils, it's best to avoid them altogether.
The Best Cooking Oils For Health
The best oils are derived with minimal processing from plants and animals and contain no added compounds.
Good High Heat Oils:
- Avocado oil (Smoke point – 520° F)
- Sesame oil (Smoke point – 410° F)
Good Medium Heat Oils:
- Virgin Coconut oil (Smoke point – 350° F)
- Standard Olive oil (Smoke point – 420° F)
Virgin coconut oil is not hydrogenated, preventing unsaturated fats from being converted into saturated ones.
Good Low Heat Oils
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Smoke point – 320° F)
- Macadamia Nut Oil (Smoke point – 390° F)
You’re probably already aware that extra virgin olive is good for you. Mediterranean oil is mainly comprised of monounsaturated fats. It is fair to say that when you consume extra virgin olive oil, you are improving your health with these beneficial compounds.
These oils are full of polyphenolic compounds, and both are great for salad dressings. But macadamia nut's higher smoke point makes it the better choice for warming something up in the oven or simmering vegetables at a low temperature.
- Flaxseed Oil (Smoke point – 225° F)
This oil is also ideal for salads and other cold dishes. As well as being high in healthy unsaturated fats, it has plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential for your health and a substance that your body cannot make itself.
You should consume Omega -3. Research shows it will reduce your risk of cancer, alleviate arthritis symptoms, and decrease any inflammation in your body.
One Last Thing
It is important to note that everyone has different bodies and lifestyles. We strive to provide scientifically cutting-edge information for the ideal situation.
With certain types of health conditions, like Familial Hypercholesterolemia, high-fat diets can lead to more complications. Diets like keto and paleo are great for losing weight and being healthy but need to be followed properly.
It is always a safe choice to adopt a balanced diet, and of course, consider your own health history when making dietary decisions.
Remember to check the smoke point on any new oil before cooking with it.
Choosing the right oil will help reduce inflammation, decrease the risk of heart disease, and help you maintain a healthier longer lifestyle.
Your new friend & health coach,
Head Training Staff, The Fit Father Project
Brotherhood Nickname: “The Fit Brit”
Bragging Rights: 16 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide', Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on best cooking oils.