Discover the Healthiest Oils to Cook With

Discover the Healthiest Oils to Cook With

Key Takeaways

The nutritional value and flavor of your meals are greatly influenced by the source, fat content, and processing methods of the cooking oils you use.
Oils such as avocado, vegetable, corn, olive, and sesame oil offer various health benefits including improved heart health, reduced cholesterol levels, and anti-inflammatory properties when used in moderation.
Cold-pressed or minimally processed oils retain more nutrients and beneficial compounds while understanding the smoke points of different oils ensures you’re using them correctly for either cold or hot dishes.
Consulting with a nutrition expert, like those at Dietitian Live, can provide personalized advice on selecting the best cooking oils for your health needs and dietary goals.

Ever wondered if you’re using the best oils for your cooking? For most, the perfect meal is delicious, keeps you at the ideal weight, and doesn’t adversely impact your health.

Simply put, we are all aware that the term “oily food” is never seen in a positive context. That’s why it’s vital to understand the types of oils that are good for your health and those that spell trouble.

In this blog, we’ll take you through the cooking oils you should use and how they impact your health.

Understanding Oil Types and Their Impact

Before we dive into the specific healthiest oils to cook with, it is important to learn about the source of your oil, its fat content, and the manner in which it is processed. The type of oil you choose can greatly influence the nutritional value and flavor of your meals.

Source and Fat Content

The source of your cooking oil—whether it’s derived from plants, seeds, nuts, or fruits—affects its composition and health benefits. Oils are generally categorized based on their fat content: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature and are considered less healthy, while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquid and offer various health benefits.

Processing Methods

The way an oil is processed also impacts its quality. Cold-pressed or minimally processed oils retain more nutrients and beneficial compounds compared to highly refined oils. Cold pressing involves mechanically pressing the oil out of the source without using heat, preserving its natural antioxidants and flavor.

Suitable for Cold or Hot Dishes

Not all oils are suitable for every cooking method. Some oils have a low smoke point, making them better for cold dishes or low-heat cooking, while others can withstand high temperatures and are ideal for frying or baking. Understanding which oil to use for different types of dishes can help you maximize both flavor and health benefits.

Quantity Matters

When choosing an oil, consider the quantity used in your daily consumption. Even the healthiest oils can contribute to excessive calorie intake if used in large amounts. Moderation is key to maintaining a balanced diet.

Now that we have a better grasp on what to choose, join us as we look at the healthiest oils to cook with.

Healthiest Oils to Cook With

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil, extracted from avocado pulp, is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid. It helps reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL). Additionally, it contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage.

This oil has a high smoke point of around 520°F (271°C), making it ideal for frying, grilling, roasting, and baking without breaking down. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation and prevent related diseases.

Avocado oil also enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and has a mild, buttery flavor that complements various dishes. Its versatility and health benefits make it a top choice for cooking!

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Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is low in unsaturated fats and has a high content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which help lower bad cholesterol levels known as LDL.

There are a variety of vegetables that supply our bodies with the oh-so-crucial Vitamin E content. This is one of the vitamins that are essential for combating toxins and keeping them out of our bodies. It also keeps aging and chronic disease at bay.

Essential fatty acids are aplenty in certain types of vegetable oils such as soybean and sunflower. By cooking in these, our cardiovascular and nervous systems are strengthened to perform at their best levels to keep the body fighting fit.

The high smoke point means vegetable oil is far more suitable when it comes to frying, sautéing, and baking compared to oils that have high saturated fat content.

The neutral flavor also ensures that they alter the taste of the food in a minimal way. The benefits of vegetables vary depending on the types of oil and the way in which they are processed. For example, cold-pressed or minimally processed oils have a tendency to retain more nutrients. They also contain more beneficial substances when compared to their highly refined counterparts.

Corn Oil

As is the case with any oil, moderation is necessary to reap the full health benefits it provides. You’ll notice a common theme in these oils and that is the low levels of saturated fats. As mentioned earlier, this composition is a friend to the heart and boosts cardiovascular health.

Cell structure and brain function are also helped by corn oil due to its high content of polyunsaturated fats. In particular, it has linoleic, an omega-6 fatty acid. Toxins are once again fended off with the help of the vitamin E provided by the tocopherols in corn oil.

Bad cholesterol is taken care of by phytosterols which are classified as plant compounds. These substances are a great help when it comes to health as they tend to absorb the cholesterol content of our daily diet. This again has a high smoke point and does not break down easily.

Taste-wise, this oil has a mild flavor. Therefore, it does not alter the integrity of the food being cooked in it.

Olive Oil

A consensus among most chefs, whether home cooks or professionals, is that olive oil is one of the healthiest oils to cook with.

As one of the most common alternatives to regular cooking oil, olive oil’s rich monounsaturated fats keep those bad cholesterol levels down. In fact, it goes a step further by maintaining, and sometimes even boosting HDL (good cholesterol) levels. 

The oil’s powerful antioxidants fight away various ailments such as heart disease. In addition to polyphenols, olive oil has a healthy dose of vitamin E, an effective potent antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress. The same is true when it comes to keeping damage caused by free radicals at bay.

Cardiovascular health is also boosted by olive oil, particularly if it is extra virgin. Using the oil for your daily cooking reduces the risk of heart disease, while also curbing inflammation. It also helps that the oil has a positive overall effect on cholesterol.

Be careful, though, when storing your olive oil. Some versions tend to be on the expensive side and are best kept in a cool, dark place. Make sure the product is used to whip up some of your best dishes before the shelf life expires.

Sesame Oil

Unlike the other cooking oils mentioned in this blog, sesame oil has a bit of a flavor. Make no bones about it, this oil has a rich and nutty flavor. This, allied with a sweet tinge, adds an extra level of depth to most dishes in which it is used.

Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats add a healthy dose of the right kind of fat you need to be putting in the body. Apart from that, its composition is high in healthy unsaturated fats. As we discussed earlier, these are great sources to reduce LDL or bad cholesterol which can lead to heart trouble.

Get Nutrition Support

There is no harm in seeking professional help to learn about the healthiest oils to cook with that are suited to your cooking needs. This will help you whip a delectable meal while ensuring that your health remains at its peak. 

Book a session with a Dietitian Live dietitian to get more tips and tailored guidance. We will guide you on how to combat heart disease, keep those bad cholesterol levels in check, and work around any other conditions that may impact you.

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