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Oil Essentials: The 5 Healthiest Cooking Oils
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Fats often get a bad rap. But despite what you may have heard, fats, and especially oils, are an essential part of a well-rounded diet. Sautee, bake, drizzle, or sizzle, oils are the starting point of any successful meal, plus they help us absorb important nutrients. According to James Roche, MS, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at SCL Health, “Fat is a very underappreciated nutrient that is essential for optimal health. Fat is linked to many essential health functions and benefits. We do not need to eat a ton of fat, but we should make the fat that we eat count.”
So which oils should be mainstays in your meals? Well, that depends on the type of cooking you’re doing. The most important thing to consider when choosing an oil is its smoke point, or the temperature at which the oil starts burning. When you heat an oil past its smoke point it can lose flavor, nutrients, and even release harmful molecules called free radicals. Another good rule of thumb is to research exactly what types of fats are in your oil. Experts recommend staying away from those high in saturated fat, and opting for ones packed with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. That said, saturated fats aren’t always a bad thing, but we’ll get to that in a bit. We guess what we’re trying to say is, nutrition is a complex balancing act, and we’re here to make it just a little easier. Here are 5 nutrient-packed oils that deserve a spot in your pantry.
Olive oil is popular for a reason. It’s full of flavor and incredibly versatile. If you want to reap its full health benefits, always look for “extra virgin” on the label. This means that the oil is unrefined and has more nutrients, antioxidants, and heart-healthy fats. Compared to other oils, olive has a low smoke point, so it’s best used for medium to low-heat cooking, baking, or as dressings on salads.
Avocado oil boasts a lot of the same benefits as extra virgin olive oil, but with a higher smoking point, making it great for sauteing or pan frying. It’s full of vitamin E and has one of the highest monounsaturated fat contents in the oil aisle. Plus, avocado oil doesn’t have much flavor, so it will never overpower your cooking skills.
There’s been a lot of hype surrounding coconut oil in the past few years. So, you might be surprised to learn that coconut oil is actually pretty high in saturated fat. Still, this incredibly heat-resistant fat has powerful health benefits. It can help improve cholesterol, kill harmful bacteria, and boost metabolism. And to ease your mind a bit, many recent studies have shown that not all saturated fats are bad for you.
Not only does this oil come from the seeds of the world’s prettiest flowers, it also packs almost 30% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin E in just one tablespoon. Sunflower oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids, which while important for your body, could be inflammatory if consumed in excess. So, like some wise guy once said, “everything in moderation”.
Shocked to see this one on the list? Hear us out. Real, unprocessed butter can be fairly nutritious. It’s full of vitamins A, E, and K2, and rich in inflammation-fighting fatty acids. Your healthiest bet is to choose pure butterfat, or ghee, which is free of sugar and proteins. Opt for butter from grass-fed cows for more vitamin K2 and healthy fatty acids.
8 Healthiest Cooking Oils, According to a Registered Dietitian
The landscape of oils at the grocery store has expanded over the past several years, bringing to light new types of unique oils that may seem intimidating at first. Different oils have different characteristics and specific purposes when it comes to cooking. Some oils are best for frying, whereas some are better for simply drizzling or using as garnish. Before we get into the different types of cooking oils, there are a few basic tips you’ll want to know regarding oil properties and storage practices.
How to store your oil:
When it comes to storage, you never want to store oil near or above the stove. Certain oils can become rancid if exposed to light, heat and oxygen. Instead, store oil in a cool, dark place. For best quality and flavor from your oil, aim to use it within one year of purchase (some oils may need to be used even sooner). While wine gets better with age, oil does not and the quality and flavor will weaken as the oil ages.
What’s an oil’s smoke point?
Another important thing to note is the oil’s smoke point, which is listed out for each oil mentioned below. An oil smoke point, also known as the burning point of oil, is the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke up and lose its integrity. If an oil starts to smoke, it can release chemicals that give your food a bitter flavor and also produce free radicals that can be harmful to your health. When dealing with high heat oils, Good Housekeeping’s Senior Testing Editor Nicole Papantoniou recommends to heat your pan first, then add your oil, and then the ingredients to help prevent the oil from getting hot too quickly and potentially burning. Ensuring that you are using the right oil for whatever cooking method you choose is crucial to staying within the smoke point limit and enhancing the quality of your dish.
Here’s our list for the healthiest cooking oils:
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Walnut oil
- Peanut oil
- Sesame oil
- Coconut oil
- Canola oil
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The Mediterranean Diet has been linked to weight loss and a reduction in disease risk, plus a boost in longevity overall. Olive oil, known for its role in the Mediterranean Diet, is abundant in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. A large meta analysis done in 2014 found that the monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil were able to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
For olive oil to be certified extra virgin, it must be first cold pressed. Cold pressed indicates that the olives never exceed a certain temperature during the pressing process, which ensures maximum quality. Harvesting is also important when it comes to olive oil. Experts from Kosterina Greek Olive Oil harvest unripe olives which they say, “makes the oil richer in healthy polyphenols and very high in antioxidants.” Extra virgin olive oil has a relatively low smoke point, so it’s best for sautéing over medium heat or roasting below those temperatures. It’s also a great addition to dressings because of its deep peppery flavor.
Best for: Salad dressings and sautéing
Smoke point: Extra Virgin 325-375°F, Refined 465°F
Nutritionist pick: Kosterina Olive Oil
This oil, derived from the flesh of pressed avocados, has a mild flavor and high smoke point so it’s perfect for almost any cooking uses in the kitchen. Avocado oil has one of the highest levels of healthy monounsaturated fats of all oils, and it’s also low in polyunsaturated fats. The mild flavor is very versatile, which is why avocado oil is the perfect healthy swap in any baked goods. It does tend to be a bit more expensive, but many brands offer it in a spray container without propellants so you can control how much you use at a time.
Best for: Frying, roasting, baked goods
Smoke point: Virgin 375°F, Refined 520°F
Nutritionist pick: Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray
Flaxseed oil is a great vegan source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Diets rich in omega-3 ALA, found in flaxseed oil, have been linked to lower lipid levels and reduced blood pressure in individuals with high cholesterol. Abundant in monounsaturated fats, flaxseed oil requires refrigeration and is very sensitive to heat as it can go rancid and oxidize quickly. Flaxseed oil has a slightly nutty flavor and is best for for salad dressings and drizzling. Due to its low smoke point, flaxseed oil should not be cooked with. It’s important to note that flaxseed oil can spoil quickly, which is why it should be kept in a dark container in the back of the refrigerator.
Best for: Salad dressings and drizzling
Smoke point: 225°F
Nutritionist pick: Spectrum Naturals Organic Flax Oil
“The very thing that make walnuts such a nutrient powerhouse as the only nut with an excellent source of plant omega-3s (ALA) make its oil an excellent finishing ingredient to drizzle and pour on completed dishes,” says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RDN, Author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean and owner of Bazilian’s Health in San Diego. Since most walnut oil is sold unrefined or semi-refined, it has more of the naturally occurring nutrients and phytochemicals but this makes it more challenging when it comes to putting it over heat.
Bazilian suggests using walnut oil to toss into pasta dishes and drizzle over salad or a squash-based soup as a finisher. Since walnut oil is fairly pricey and delicate, Bazilian says it’s best to store in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve the flavor and phytochemicals.
Best for: Salad dressings and drizzling
Smoke point: 320°F
Nutritionist pick: Fresh Vintage Farms Walnut Oil
According to dietitian, Jada Linton, RDN, LD, there are a few different types of peanut oil, each made using a different technique and offering a range of flavors from mild and sweet to strong and nutty. Almost half of peanut oil is comprised of monounsaturated fats. Traditionally used in Asian dishes, peanut oil has a relatively high smoke point and is ideal for searing meats, grilling, roasting vegetables, and frying. Linton adds that, “on top of the delicious flavor, peanut oil is a great source of vitamin E containing 11% of the recommended daily intake and has one of the highest monounsaturated fat contents among cooking oils. ”
Best for: Stir fry and sautéing
Smoke point: 450°F
Nutritionist pick: Spectrum Unrefined Peanut Oil
Sesame oil is rich in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, but also low in saturated fat. This oil contains sesamol and sesamin which are powerful antioxidants. There is evidence that sesame oil can potentially reduce blood pressure as well. Expeller-pressed is the best kind of sesame oil, since the oil from the seeds is extracted at a cooler temperature and this is considered cold pressed. Toasted sesame oil involves seeds that are roasted beforehand, but the extraction process is the same. Since toasted sesame oil adds a lot of flavor, it pairs well in stir frys and makes a great alternative to peanut oil if you have a peanut allergy.
Best for: Sautéing, stir fry, frying
Smoke point: 450°F
Nutritionist pick: Kevala Organic Toasted Sesame Oil
Coconut oil has grown much in popularity with followers of the keto diet and the Paleo diet, but is it healthy? Coconut oil is made by pressing fresh coconut meat or dried coconut meat depending on the type. Coconut oil is firm at room temperature because it is composed of 90% saturated fat and also is a rich natural source of medium-chain triglycerides. Research on coconut oil has been inconsistent, some studies showing it can raise the good HDL cholesterol, while other studies showing it can also raise the bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
It’s best for quick sautéing or in baked goods, but it does not do well at very high heat temperatures. If you do substitute coconut oil for butter in baked goods, you’ll want to use about 25% less coconut oil than the called for amount of butter since coconut oil has higher percentage of fat solids. Regardless, coconut oil is not a miracle food and it is best to use it in moderation, if you like the taste of course.
Best for: Baking and sautéing
Smoke point: Extra Virgin or Unrefined 350°F, Refined 450°F
Nutritionist pick: Nutiva Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
Canola oil is made from rapeseed and has a high smoke point, so it can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen which is why it’s often a staple in most homes. This budget-friendly choice is low in saturated fat and relatively high in monounsaturated fat. The only issue is that canola oil tends to be highly processed, so looking for cold-pressed and a good quality brand is key.
Best For: Sautéing, frying, baking
Smoke Point: 400°F
Nutritionist Pick: La Tourangelle Organic Canola Oil
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How to Choose and Use Healthy Cooking Oils – Cleveland Clinic
Cooking with oils is a big part of meal prep, adding flavor to many dishes. But navigating which oils are best – or worst – for you and your food can be a challenge.
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Confused about which oils are healthy and which aren’t? Registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, explains how to choose the best oil for you — and other ways to keep your oil consumption honest.
Understanding different types of fats
Because there are so many cooking oils available to use, it’s important to understand the different types of fats, both good and bad, that make up these oils. By knowing which fats provide health benefits and which fats are a detriment to your diet, your choice in cooking oils will be easier to make.
Saturated fats: The fewer you have of these fats, the better. Less than 7% of your daily fat calories should come from saturated fats. To cut back on saturated fats, limit:
- Butter, whole milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Lard, Bacon fat, fatty cuts of red meat, the skin of poultry
- Coconut, palm, palm kernel oils
Trans fats: Eliminate trans fats from your diet by staying away from foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils. Many packaged or processed foods contain these oils, so scan the ingredient list.
Monounsaturated fats: Get the benefits of these fats from olives, avocados and nuts. Use extra virgin olive oil as often as possible. For higher heat cooking or baking, consider almond, peanut oil or avocado oil for good ways to get monounsaturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats (omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids): Focus on eating more foods packed with omega-3s. Choose oily fish (salmon, herring, mackerel) and walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds. The American diet tends to be omega-6 heavy, so no need to worry about adding those in.
How to get the most benefit from your cooking oils
When you’re cooking with oils, you don’t have to choose between taste and health. But remember that less quantity is more quality. To use the least amount of fat and get the most taste and health benefits, Zumpano recommends the following.
1. Understand that oil’s pluses don’t always outweigh its minuses
Oil is a fat, regardless of what kind you use. At 9 calories per gram, fats are far more calorie-dense than carbohydrates or protein — which have 4 calories per gram. Even healthier oils, such as avocado and olive oil, are still fats. Keep your fat intake between 25-35% of your total daily calories.
2. Choose olive oil more
Olive oil has been proven to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels when used to replace saturated fat such as butter. It also contains beta carotene, vitamins A, E, D and K plus many more healthful nutrients. Research shows these nutrients have beneficial effects on almost every bodily function.
Extra-virgin olive oil has the lowest oxidation rate of cooking oils. Oxidation promotes free radicals, chemicals that are highly reactive and can damage cells. Some of this damage may lead to cancer and other disease states. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants, which also protect cells from damage and oxidation.
Extra-virgin olive oil also has an amazing skin- and body-protecting polyphenol called hydroxytyrosol. Studies show that hydroxytyrosol has among the greatest free-radical absorbing capacities.
3. Consider your whole diet instead of just cutting out fat
Restrictive diets that cut fat often add sugar to compensate for the loss in taste — which isn’t exactly a healthy alternative. Think about everything you eat and aim for a nutritionally balanced mix that includes moderate amounts of healthy fats.
4. Sauté instead of fry
Pan-frying uses a substantial amount of oil and higher heat for longer periods. Deep fat frying also uses a lot of oil at high heats but can be done for shorter periods. But frying foods in oil — or any kind of fat — promotes free radicals.
Sautéing cooks small pieces of food in small amounts of fat for less time. Plan meals with foods that don’t need frying. When you bake, grill or quickly sauté your food, you reduce the amount of fat you consume. And remember: all oils that are safe to use at very high heat should be consumed in the least amount possible.
5. Make sure your oil is fresh
When you buy many oil varieties and store them for long periods, they eventually oxidize and develop free radicals. Instead, buy just a few kinds of oil in small amounts. Store them in a cool, dark and dry place and be sure to replace any that smell bitter or “off.” Check the best-by date because oils should be used within 30-60 days after opening.
Grapeseed and walnut oils are an exception: Store them in the refrigerator so they don’t become rancid. The cloudiness in refrigerated oils will clear once they return to room temperature.
6. Be careful with spray oils
Many spray oils claim to have no trans-fat. Manufacturers can say this because they’re allowed to round down to zero if a serving size is less than half a gram. (Most spray oils list the serving size at a quarter-second spray.) To keep things honest, get the same results by using a towel or brush to wipe on the bottom of your pan.
You could also try PFOA-free nonstick or ceramic pans. Hand wash them with a soft, nonabrasive sponge or cloth to protect the surface and keep them in good shape.
7. Be strategic
If you’re eating healthy fats by dunking your ciabatta bread in olive oil or frying foods in canola oil, you aren’t getting the biggest bang for your buck. Use oil instead to extract, extend and infuse flavors or create new ones.
For example, instead of dipping your bread in a few tablespoons of olive oil, use the same amount of oil in a flavorful dish that several people can share — such as roasted vegetables or as a dressing for your salad. Or get a healthier, more flavorful meal by pan-searing fish with a little oil instead of frying battered fish in a pot of it.
Choose unsaturated fats as often as possible. They help round out a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Limit animal fats (saturated fats) and completely avoid trans-fats when possible.
8. Know cooking oil’s smoke point
The smoke point is the temperature that causes oil to start smoking, which produces toxic fumes and free radicals. Because of their chemical makeup, different oils have different smoke points. Some oils are better suited for cooking at higher temperatures. Generally, the more refined the oil, the higher the smoke point. (Note: Smoke point relates only to fresh oil; oil that’s used for cooking and then strained and reused loses its integrity.)
Oils with a high smoke point
These oils are best for searing, browning and deep frying (which you should avoid).
Oils with a medium-high smoke point
These oils are best for baking, oven cooking or stir-frying.
Oils with a medium smoke point
These oils are best for light sautéing, sauces and low-heat baking.
*Virgin coconut oil contains lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride that raises good and bad cholesterol levels.
These oils are best for making dressings, dips or marinades.
*Toasted sesame and extra virgin olive oils also work well.
Healthy Cooking Oils | American Heart Association
Replacing bad fats (saturated and trans) with healthier fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) is good for your heart.
One way you can do this is by choosing healthier nontropical vegetable oils for cooking and preparing food.
Use these oils instead of solid fats (including butter, shortening, lard and hard stick margarine) and tropical oils (including palm and coconut oil), which can have a lot of saturated fat.
Here’s an alphabetical list of common cooking oils that contain more of the “better-for-you” fats and less saturated fat.
Blends or combinations of these oils, often sold under the name “vegetable oil,” and cooking sprays made from these oils are also good choices. Some specialty oils, like avocado, grapeseed, rice bran and sesame, can be healthy choices but may cost a bit more or be harder to find.
In general, choose oils with less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon, and no partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats.
You may find that some oils have distinctive flavors, so try different types to discover which ones you like. Also, some oils are better for certain types of cooking than others, so you may want to have more than one type in your pantry.
You can usually use cooking oils just like solid cooking fats. For example:
- Make your own salad dressings, marinades, dips and sauces.
- Grill, sauté, stir fry, bake or roast foods.
- Coat pans to keep food from sticking.
- Spread or drizzle on foods for flavor.
- “Season” cast-iron cookware.
- Substitute for butter, margarine or solid fats in recipes.
Tips for cooking with healthy oils:
- The healthier oils listed here are generally safe for most home-cooking uses, including higher temperature cooking such as stir-frying and pan frying. We do not recommend deep-fat frying as a cooking method.
- Any oil starts to degrade once it reaches its smoke point. So, if you accidentally let your oil smoke or catch fire, get rid of it and start over.
- If oil smells bad, don’t use it. When an oil is stored too long it can become oxidized or rancid. It will have a distinct smell, and you should get rid of it.
- Don’t reuse or reheat any cooking oil.
- Buy cooking oils in smaller containers to avoid waste, and store them in a dark, cool place to keep them fresh longer.
The best oils to use for cooking, according to nutritionists
The oil aisle can feel like the Wild West. With so many varieties on store shelves, it can be overwhelming. Which is best for salad dressing? What about marinating chicken? Are certain varieties healthier options?
When it comes to whether certain oils are better than others for your specific cooking need, the answer is yes. Certain oils work well in sauces and dressings, while others are suited for high-temperature cooking or baking. Not to mention that every oil has a different taste and a range of health benefits (or lack thereof). So, instead of grabbing the cheapest oil on the shelf, here’s what you need to know to choose the right one.
Choosing an oil: Smoke point, nutritional facts and price
There are a few things to consider when choosing an oil, including smoke point, cooking method, taste and nutrition. Smoke point is the temperature at which the fat begins to break down and oxidize. For optimal taste and nutrition, oil shouldn’t be used above its smoke point. Ones with higher smoke points are best for roasting, baking, frying and sautéing. Those with lower smoke points make nice finishing oils, dressings, sauces or dips. Taste also plays a role in your choice, since some have a more noticeable flavor than others.
In terms of nutrition, it’s important to remember that oils are a calorie-rich fat. Most are high in the “good” polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, but some do have significant amounts of the “bad” saturated fat. Regardless which oil you are using, it’s important to pay attention to portion size to avoid overdoing it and keep calories and fat intake at a reasonable level. A serving size of oil is 1 tablespoon and using 2-3 tablespoons in a recipe that feeds four people is ideal. For baked goods that call for a lot of oil, you can lighten the recipe by replacing half of what is called for with an equivalent portion of pureed fruit, like mashed banana, pureed pears or no-sugar applesauce.
The other thing you may notice when standing in the oil aisle is that price can differ dramatically from one bottle to the next. More expensive oil doesn’t always translate to higher quality. Some oils, like avocado oil or peanut oil, are pricier because they are produced in smaller amounts and are harder to find. But if you’re trying to pick between a $7.99 or $24.99 bottle of olive oil, there are a few things to consider.
First, choose an olive oil in a dark bottle, which prevents rancidity from heat or light. A quality olive oil will also taste like fresh olives with a hint of peppery bitterness. If it tastes sour or smells stinky, it’s low quality or has gone bad. Lastly, there are certain seals of approval you can look for on olive oil bottles. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Quality Monitored Seal means the chemistry of the olive oil has been verified for purity and quality, and a sensory panel judged and approved the flavor. The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) Seal is given after olive oils are purchased and tested directly from supermarkets to confirm adherence to the standards set by the International Olive Council (IOC).
Now that you know what to look for, let’s dive a little deeper into seven popular varieties you’ll see on store shelves.
Freekeh “Fried Rice” made with avocado oil.Jackie Newgent
This recently popular oil has one of the highest smoke points, coming in around 520° Fahrenheit (F). This makes it ideal for an all-purpose oil or really high heat cooking. “Avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, specifically oleic acid or omega-9, so it’s considered a heart-healthy oil with the potential to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol,” says Jackie Newgent, RDN, culinary nutritionist and author of “The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook”. Newgent adds that you shouldn’t expect to get all of the same benefits of eating avocado by using just the oil. Yet, it is her oil of choice for making Freekeh “Fried Rice” and baked tortilla crisps.
Sunflower Seed Oil
Believe it or not, there are oils made entirely from the tiny sunflower seed. With a smoke point of 450°F and a slightly nutty flavor, it’s often used for sautéing, stir frying, deep frying and baking. There are a few varieties of sunflower seed oil, and some are higher in monounsaturated fats than others. High oleic sunflower oils have the most beneficial monounsaturated fats, and research has found that substituting this type of oil for saturated fats in the diet can produce lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Abbie Gellman, MS, chef, registered dietitian and owner of NYC-based Culinary Nutrition Cuisine, adds that sunflower oil has high levels of Vitamin E, which promotes healthy skin. Try using this high smoke point oil to cook up some Shishito Peppers.
Vegan Dark Chocolate-Pumpkin Bread made with grapeseed oil.
Made from the seeds of grapes that are normally discarded in the wine making process, the smoke point for grapeseed oil is about 420°F. “Since grapeseed oil has a relatively high smoke point and a ‘clean’ taste, it’s an ideal all-purpose oil,” says Newgent. She recommends using it in baking, like in this Vegan Dark Chocolate-Pumpkin Bread. “Grapeseed oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which can be a heart-friendlier option than a cooking fat high in saturated or trans fats, like butter, margarine or shortening,” she adds. However, she notes that research has found that a high intake of omega-6 is linked with inflammation.
While this sounds problematic, much of the omega-6 oil in the American diet comes from processed and fried foods. High amounts of omega-6 from unhealthy food sources has been linked with inflammation, but the American Heart Association says that eating omega-6 in moderation is perfectly healthy and even encouraged. As a rule of thumb, stick to a 1:1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 in your diet by eating equal amounts of foods that contain each. So go ahead and use grapeseed oil, but also eat plenty of fatty fish and nuts.
The Healthiest Cooking Oil for Sautéing, Roasting, Baking, and Drizzling
Here’s the smoke point you want if you’re…
Frying: Opt for an oil with a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, which is typically one above 375 degrees F, because that’s the temperature you usually fry at. Oils with high smoke points include: canola oil, refined olive oil, avocado oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil.
Baking: Go for a neutral-tasting oil, like canola oil or vegetable oil—something that won’t have too much of an impact on the flavors you’re working with. (On the other hand, some baking recipes are centered around highlighting the flavor of a delicious oil, like olive oil cakes. It all depends on what you’re looking for.)
Sautéing and searing: Choose a more flavorful oil with a lower smoke point. Good options include: canola oil, extra-virgin olive oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil.
Dressing: Here, the most flavorful stuff is always best, and the smoke point doesn’t matter—this is the time to reach for the fanciest extra-virgin olive oil you have.
With that in mind, here is a closer look at commonly used healthy cooking oils, plus suggestions for making the most out of their unique qualities.
1. Canola oil
Canola oil sometimes gets a bad rap because it is associated with fried food (deep-fried Oreos, anyone?), but that’s not exactly justified, Elizabeth Ann Shaw, M.S., RDN, CPT, adjunct professor of nutrition at Bastyr University, tells SELF. Canola oil’s high smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit and neutral flavor indeed makes it an excellent vehicle for frying, but it can also be used for roasting, frying, and baking. Because it has a neutral taste that doesn’t do much for your food in the flavor department, cooks don’t usually recommend using it for sautéing.
Best for: Frying, roasting, and baking
Not recommended for: Sautéing and salad dressings
2. Extra-virgin olive oil
Lisa Sasson, M.S., R.D., clinical professor of nutrition and food studies at NYU Steinhardt, is obsessed with extra-virgin olive oil—like a lot of us. Cold-pressed and positively packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, a quality bottle can truly take you on a taste bud adventure. There’s just one catch with extra-virgin (or “first press”) olive oil versus regular olive oil: It has a relatively low smoke point (325 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit). Cooking a good EVOO at high temperatures can mess with both its flavor and nutrition, so save your fancy bottle for drizzling and finishing dishes. (Check out these tips on choosing the best olive oil.)
Best for: Sautéing and drizzling
Not recommended for: Frying or roasting above 375 degrees Fahrenheit
3. Pure olive oil
If you love frying things in olive oil (which, like, who doesn’t?) you’ll want to use the more refined stuff instead of EVOO—which is labeled pure olive oil, refined olive oil, or light olive oil. It has a smoke point of 465 degrees Fahrenheit, which stands up well to that heat. Unfortunately, some of its flavor has been filtered out, but that’s the trade-off for being able to use it for heavy-duty cooking.
The Best Oils for Cooking, and Which to Avoid
This Chocolate-Coconut Pound Cake is moist and tender, thanks to coconut oil.
Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, which means it’s not ideal for vinaigrettes or as a finishing oil. It is, however, good for moderate-heat roasting. It melts and gives off a tropical scent when heated. Do not exceed its smoke point (350˚). Its similar-to-butter consistency when cold makes it good for non-dairy baked goods (although, as in the pound cake recipe above, we prefer to use both butter and coconut oil). These 13 recipes offer some great ways to cook with coconut oil, from a carrot soup to waffles.
This is typically a blend of many different refined oils, is neutral-tasting and -smelling, and has a smoke point of about 400˚ (although it can vary, depending on the oils used in the blend). Because it doesn’t add much flavor, it is good for high-heat sautéing and it’s generally our frying oil of choice. Wanna get crispy-skinned fish or perfectly golden scallops? Veggie oil’s your guy.
Pressed from the rapeseed plant, canola oil is similar to vegetable oil in flavor, color, smoke point, and usage qualities. Both canola and vegetable oil can be used in salad dressings. Finish with EVOO for more flavor. It’ll go rancid in about one year—your nose will tell you when it’s time to toss the bottle. Store them in a cool, dark place, away from the stovetop and oven.
Grapeseed oil is light green in color, and is prized by restaurant chefs for its high smoke point (420˚)—but also for its clean, plays-well-with-others taste. It’s often used in vinaigrettes because it is less expensive than EVOO, and allows other ingredients (like specialty oils or herbs) to shine through.
This Pan-Roasted Sea Bass is dressed with avocado oil.
High in monounsaturated fat (typically touted as a “good” fat), avocado oil has a smoke point of about 520˚, which makes it an efficient pantry item: Use it for sautéing, roasting, searing, and vinaigrettes alike. There’s no need to refrigerate it when opened, although it should be stored in a cool, dark cupboard.
Sunflower Seed Oil
With a smoke point of 440-450˚, sunflower oil is the pantry hero for all things sear- and sauté-related (like these hearty salmon steaks, for example). Because it is pressed from seeds, it does turn rancid quicker than other oils, so store it in a cool place and use within a year, max.
Sesame oil has a high smoke point (410˚) and relatively neutral flavor. It’s a great general-purpose oil (use it for sautés, roasts, and more), but if it’s a big finish you’re looking for, use its nuttier sibling, toasted sesame oil. Store it with the veggie and canola oil in a cool cupboard.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil has a very nutty, rich flavor and dark green color. It’s too sensitive to be heated, so skip the sauté and use it as a finishing oil for soups or grain bowls. If using it in a vinaigrette, cut with a less-intense oil. Store it in the fridge. (For more on hemp seeds and hemp seed oil, check out our guide.)
Flaxseed oil is also nutty tasting, but too much can impart a fishy, funky flavor. Use sparingly in dressings or as a finisher—it’s also great as a seasoning agent for cast-iron pans. Keep it in the fridge.
This simple vinaigrette is made special with walnut oil.
Toasted Nut and Seed Oils (Walnut, Pistachio, Sesame, etc.)
These oils are delicate in smoke point (don’t heat them at all), but they’re big on flavor. They’re a rich, luxurious addition to soups and salads (we particularly like this Blood Orange and Beet number with pumpkin seed oil). If using in a vinaigrette, don’t waste half a bottle (they’re expensive!) Make the dressing with a pure olive oil or other neutral-tasting oil, and “top it off” with the nut oil.
One of the best things you can do with olive oil? Escabeche!
90,000 Olive or sunflower oil: which oil is better for frying?
Photo by Thinkstosk
Choosing butter for cooking is not easy, writes Michael Moseley.
When it comes to fats and oils, we are spoiled for offer. Supermarket shelves are full of all sorts of options. But lately, the choice has been confusing due to the huge amount of discussion about the benefits and harms of consuming different types of fats.
In the program Trust Me, I’m a Doctor (“Trust me, I’m a doctor”), we decided to look from the other side, asking the question: “What fats and oils are better for cooking?”
You may consider it obvious that frying with vegetable oils should be healthier than cooking with animal fats such as lard or butter. But is it really so?
To help us figure it out, we introduced different types of fats and oils to the people of Leicester and asked our volunteers to use them in their daily food preparation. We also asked the volunteers to save the leftover oils for later analysis.
The participants in the experiment used sunflower oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, cold-pressed rapeseed oil, olive oil (refined and virgin olive oil), butter and goose fat.
Samples of oils and fats after use were collected and sent to the School of Pharmacy at the University de Montfort in Leicester. There, Professor Martin Grootveld and his colleagues conducted a parallel experiment in which they heated these same oils and fats to frying temperatures.
When you fry or bake at high temperatures (about 180 degrees Celsius), the molecular structures of the fats and oils you use change. They go through oxidation – they interact with oxygen in the air and form aldehydes and lipid peroxides.At room temperature, something similar happens, only more slowly. When lipids go rancid, they are oxidized.
Consuming or inhaling aldehydes, even in small amounts, has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. So what did Professor Grootveld’s group find out?
“We found,” he says, “that oils rich in polyunsaturated fats — corn oil and sunflower oil — produced very high levels of aldehydes.”
I was very surprised, as I have always considered sunflower oil to be healthy.
Photo by BBC World Service
Lard has a reputation for being harmful
“Sunflower and corn oils can only be used,” says Professor Grootveld, “unless you heat them like frying or boiling. It is a simple chemical fact that something that is considered good for us turns into something that is not useful at all at standard frying temperatures. ”
Olive oil and cold-pressed rapeseed oil produced much less aldehydes, as did butter and goose fat.The reason is that these oils are rich in monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids, and they remain more stable when heated. In fact, saturated fatty acids hardly go through an oxidative reaction at all.
Professor Grootveld mainly advises using olive oil for frying and other thermal processing: “Firstly, because fewer of these poisonous molecules are produced, and secondly, the molecules produced are actually less harmful to the human body.”
His research also suggests that when it comes to cooking, frying with fatty acid saturated animal fats or butter may be preferable to sunflower or corn oil.
“If I had a choice,” he says, “between lard and polyunsaturated fats, I would use lard all the time.”
Our research came as another surprise, as Prof Grootveld’s team found in several samples sent by our volunteers, a couple of new aldehydes, which had not previously been observed in experiments with heating oils.
“We have discovered something new for science,” he says with a smile on his face. “This is the first time in the world, I am very, very, happy about it.”
I’m not sure our volunteers would have been equally enthusiastic about the development of new, potentially toxic molecules as a result of their concoctions.
So what is the general advice of Professor Grootveld?
Above all, try to fry less, especially at high temperatures. When frying, minimize the amount of oil used, and also try to remove oil residues from fried foods, using a paper towel.
To reduce aldehyde production, use oil or fats rich in monounsaturated or saturated lipids (preferably more than 60% of one or the other and more than 80% combined) and low in polyunsaturated fats (less than 20%).
Professor Grootveld believes that olive oil is the ideal “compromise” oil for cooking, “as it contains about 76% monounsaturated fat, 14% saturated and only 10% polyunsaturated – monounsaturated and saturated fats are more resistant to oxidation than polyunsaturated fats” …
When it comes to cooking, it really doesn’t matter if the olive oil is first pressed. “The antioxidant levels in extra virgin foods are not enough to protect us from heat-induced oxidation,” he says.
His last tip is to always store vegetable oils in a closet, protected from light, and try to avoid reuse, as this also leads to the build-up of harmful by-products.
What you need to know about fats
Photo by, BBC World Service
- Polyunsaturated fat Contains two or more carbon-carbon double bonds.When consumed in foods such as nuts, seeds, fish, and leafy greens, they are beneficial for your health. However, the benefits of consuming sunflower or corn oils, while rich in polyunsaturated fats, are much less obvious.
- Monounsaturated fat Contains only one carbon-carbon double bond. They are found in avocados, olives, olive oil, almonds and hazelnuts, as well as lard and goose fat. With 76% monounsaturated fat, olive oil is a major component of the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease
- Saturated fat Does not contain double bonds between carbon molecules.While we are encouraged to avoid saturated fat, especially dairy and other animal fats, the benefits are still disputed.
Choosing the best oil for frying / Blog / Clinic EXPERT
When preparing their specialties, good housewives pay attention not only to the taste of products and their cost, but also to the useful qualities of the ingredients. Fried foods are believed to be unhealthy. For some diseases, it is recommended to completely exclude dishes prepared by frying from the diet.But sometimes you really want to pamper yourself and your loved ones with a ruddy crispy crust!
In this article we will analyze the differences between oils, the technology for their production. This will help you understand which oil is best for cooking fried foods without harming your health.
What oil can you fry with and what not
The safest are fats and oils, consisting of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. They are harmless for frying and do not emit toxic substances.
In what oil is it not recommended to fry food? Oils with a low content of saturated acids cannot be used for frying.They are unsuitable, since they react with oxygen under the influence of high temperatures. As a result, dangerous compounds are formed – free radicals, which increase the risk of developing cancerous tumors. Unsaturated acids are found in unrefined vegetable oil, which is best seasoned with salads. In addition, unsaturated acids reduce the risk of blood clots.
Therefore, you should not use unrefined vegetable oils for frying. Whereas refined oils are much better suited for this cooking process, since such oils undergo special processing and are more resistant to heat.
|linseed refined||refined linseed|
|refined sunflower||unrefined sunflower|
|melted or ghee|
|animal (pork, beef) fats|
Required about to say that it is impossible to fry in the same oil several times in a row. Each time the oil is oxidized more and more, it forms substances that threaten health. Therefore, the remaining oil must be drained. Do not reuse cooking oil. The exception is ghee, which does not contain impurities, antioxidants or other additives, and therefore does not form carcinogens or spoil food. In addition, ghee does not burn at high temperatures (we will talk about the process and temperature of burning oil for frying below).
Analysis of chemical processes
When deciding on the suitability of oil for frying, it will not be superfluous to remember chemistry.
There is such a thing as “cooking oil combustion temperature (t)” or “smoke point”. This is t, at which the oil is oxidized and hazardous substances are released – carcinogens that can cause tumor processes. This is accompanied by the burning of the oil and the release of fumes (stench). Such a dish is not only tasteless, but also poses a threat to the body.
How do you know which oil is best for frying? The safest oils are those with the highest combustion temperature (120 to 180 ° C).That is, those with a higher smoke point. The smoky point is minimal for unrefined vegetable oils, cold-pressed products. Such oils are used only for salads. Higher “smoke point” in refined oils and animal fats. To accurately determine this indicator, there are special tables.
Taste qualities of oils
Taste of oil depends not only on the quality and storage conditions of the feedstock, but also on the method of obtaining the oil. The most delicious and aromatic oils are unrefined.This is due to the high content of unsaturated fatty acids. For the same reason, they are not heat-resistant and not suitable for frying.
To increase the smoke point, the oils are subjected to cleaning (refining) and special treatment (freezing, deodorization). Such oils lose their natural taste and color. They become light and almost tasteless. But their resistance to heating increases. Such oils can already be used for frying without fear of disastrous consequences.
Rating of oils for frying
To decide on which oil you can fry without harm, let’s take a closer look at their individual varieties.
Heat-resistant up to 270 ° C. That is why such oil can be safely advised to housewives. Due to its exotic nature, the popularity of the product is not very high.
Is it allowed to fry in coconut oil? Yes. The chemical composition of this oil is more than 90% saturated fatty acids. This increases its resistance to heat. The smoke point is 172-230 ° C. The oil retains freshness for a long time, does not deteriorate.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which improves the cholesterol profile (the ratio of beneficial and harmful lipid fractions in the blood). In addition, it suppresses the activity of pathogenic microbes.
The oil tastes good and keeps you feeling full for a long time. Of all the variety, it is preferable to take oil of the 1st extraction, since the content of vitamins and other useful substances there is higher.
Represented by saturated fatty acids, therefore resistant to high temperatures (up to 230 ° C).The best option is unrefined (unrefined) oil of the 1st extraction. Its smoke point is close to coconut. Among other things, this oil is rich in vitamin E, which increases its nutritional value.
You can fry freely on it, as rapeseed oil has a high smoke point (190-230 ° C). It is preferable to use cold (1st) pressed oil. In contrast, hot-pressed oil undergoes multi-stage chemical processing, so it is less useful.
For frying, use only refined oil, which can be heated to 232 ° C. Due to the specific bitter taste, not all housewives like to use it.
Is olive oil good for frying? Yes, but there are nuances in the types of oil. Despite the fact that saturated acids account for only 14% of the composition, the smoke point of olive oil is quite high (200-240 ° C), so you can safely fry on it.How to determine which olive oil is best for frying?
Traditionally it is considered that it is more useful to use extra virgin olive oil. It will be marked – Extra Virgin. In such oil, all the beneficial properties are maximally preserved. They can be used to dress salads. Its use for frying is limited.
It is permissible to fry foods with a high moisture content, such as vegetables, in cold-pressed oil. For their preparation, it is enough to use t 130-140 ° C. It is also permissible to fry meatballs and fish on it at t up to 160 ° C.
Products requiring a higher cooking temperature (230-240 ° C) are cooked in refined (purified) olive oil.
Depending on the method of obtaining the product, refined / unrefined oil can be used in the temperature range from 160 to 232 ° C. It tastes good and keeps well.
Suitable for preparing fried foods. Temperature spread from 177 to 238 ° C depending on the degree of cleaning.
Most popular among vegetable oils.Can I fry on it? It all depends on the processing of the oil. Unrefined is only suitable for salads, as it cannot withstand heat above 107 ° C. Refined oil is stable up to 227 ° C. Deodorized oil is the best sunflower oil for frying. Its smoke point reaches 232 ° C.
Has a pleasant taste. Suitable for preparing fried foods. Unrefined oil can be heated up to 178 ° C, refined oil up to 232 ° C.
Ghee or butter
Butter can be used not only fresh, but also great for frying.It contains fat-soluble vitamins E and A and linoleic acid, which can help reduce inflammation and help you lose weight.
The composition of butter is 68% saturated and 28% monounsaturated fats. The smoke point is 120-150 ° C.
The disadvantage of classic butter is that it contains sugar and proteins, which are subject to rapid burning and darkening. To prevent this process, you need to cook over low heat. An alternative is to use ghee or Indian ghee, which is devoid of this property.
Ghee can be obtained by yourself. For this, butter is boiled over minimal heat. First, the moisture evaporates, then the protein and sugar darken. The oil turns dark golden in color.
The resulting solution is removed from the stove and filtered through cheesecloth. Protein and sugar settle on the gauze fibers, and the refined oil is poured into a prepared container. It is now ready to use.
We have analyzed the most common types of oils and guided you in choosing the right cooking oil.
Each housewife can choose the best cooking oil for herself, based on criteria such as taste / heat resistance / price / availability.
Cooking without oil is becoming more and more popular. Can I fry in a pan without using oil? It turns out you can. To do this, you need to purchase a frying pan covered with a special Teflon or ceramic layer. This will make food healthier and oil consumption more economical.
In what oil to fry? – Culinary notes by Alexey Onegin
Do you often have enough time to think about the little things? For example, the oil on which food is fried is such a trifle, is there really nothing more to think about? The main thing is that the oil should be tasteless, odorless, cholesterol-free and cheaper – I’m sure many people think so.And they buy exactly this kind of oil – refined, deodorized, that is, without any respect extracted (note – I do not write “squeezed out” because this is not entirely true) oil, which has been purified from impurities by a chemical, and rather impartial, way.
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Meanwhile, the choice of oil is the most important point, both from a culinary and medical point of view.The choice of oil for frying is actually not limited to corn and sunflower oil: let’s figure out which oil is best for frying, based on experience and knowledge of the chemical composition of various oils.
So, if we talk about different oils from a culinary point of view, we are concerned about a few specific things:
- Smoke point, that is, the temperature after which the oil begins to smoke, and its chemical composition changes under the influence of heat. Refined oils have the highest smoke point, while Extra Virgin olive oils have the lowest.At the same time, let’s not forget that usually – apart from deep-frying – the product cools the oil to a temperature below the smoking point, so you can also fry on Extra Virgin, you just need to do it wisely, without overheating the oil before laying the products.
- Tastes and aromas that the oil imparts to products. The principle “less is more” does not always work here.
- The ability of oil to form a golden brown crust – not every oil is the same.
From a health point of view, the following points are critical:
- Saturated fat content.It is saturated fats, which are not completely broken down in the body, that lead to the formation of fatty deposits and cause narrowing of the lumen of the arteries. Saturated fat is certainly not fatal, but controlling your intake is highly desirable.
- Content of impurities. The fat content of vegetable oil is 100% or so, and the amount of impurities is minimal, other types of oil cannot boast of this.
- Smoke point. One of the most important aspects, because after the oil begins to smoke, irreversible chemical processes take place in it, which lead to the formation of carcinogens.
Now let’s look at the different types of oils in relation to how they behave during frying and what effect they have on your body.
Butter is about 80% fat, the rest is made up of various impurities such as milk protein and water. It is rich in vitamin A, but also in saturated fat, which makes up about 50% of the total oil. When butter is heated, those very impurities begin to burn in it rather quickly, and the butter begins to darken and emit a nutty aroma.Frying in butter is very convenient if you want to quickly get a golden brown crust, and if you do not allow butter to overheat, the products fried in it acquire a pleasant taste. At the same time, let’s not forget that everything said above refers to real butter: alas, some manufacturers add low quality vegetable fats to it, which is immediately visible if you dissolve a piece of such butter in a pan.
When to fry in butter:
- when you need to quickly get a golden brown crust;
- when you need to slowly grind food in oil;
- when you need to give the product a pleasant nutty flavor;
- when the frying temperature is not too high.
Ghee, or ghee – the same butter, only purified from impurities. Such oil can be stored for a long time and is actively used in Indian cuisine and other cuisines of Southeast Asia, as well as in traditional medicine. Like regular butter, ghee contains a lot of saturated fat, but unlike its relative, it has a high smoke point – about 250 degrees, which makes it suitable for deep frying.In general, keeping a small jar of ghee in the fridge to fry occasionally can be a good idea – like butter, it works great for frying or simmering vegetables, but won’t burn if you accidentally overheat the pan.
When to fry in ghee (ghee):
- when you need to quickly get a golden brown crust;
- when you need to slowly grind food in oil;
- when you need to give the product a pleasant nutty flavor;
- when the frying temperature may be high.
Refined vegetable oil
The cheapest oil in every store. It has a relatively high smoke point, contains no saturated fats, is virtually devoid of its own flavor and aroma, and is seemingly ideal for frying. But there is one caveat. This is not too advertised, but as one of the stages of the extraction of vegetable oils, which are then subjected to purification, a chemical method is often used – the seeds are treated with chemicals in order to extract the maximum oil from them.Oil purification and deodorization is also not a mechanical process, but a chemical process, so there is not so much in common between the oil that is squeezed from the seeds and the one on the supermarket shelf. In general, this oil can be used for any kind of frying, but if there is such a possibility, I would advise not to get carried away with it.
When to fry in refined vegetable oil:
- when you need to avoid the appearance of off-flavors;
- when deep-fat or high-temperature cooking.
For some reason, we often contrast olive oil with some abstract “vegetable”. I fundamentally disagree with this, but okay, so be it. I have included all olive oil in this category except Extra Virgin, which we will talk about a little later. This includes olive oil, which has been mechanically refined to remove impurities, which allows it to be used for frying, and pomace oil, that is, oil that is chemically extracted from the cake after mechanical extraction of Extra Virgin oil has been completed.In our country, such oil is not in great demand, since it costs significantly more than refined corn or sunflower oil, but it surpasses them in terms of taste and is less harmful to health.
When to fry in olive oil:
- when you need to slowly grind food in oil;
- when you want to give the product a pleasant aroma of olive oil;
- when the frying temperature may be high.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
It is generally believed that you cannot fry in Extra Virgin Oil – it has a low smoke point, a fairly powerful flavor and aroma, and, importantly, a high price.However, I sometimes use Extra Virgin Olive Oil if you don’t need to fry, but rather darken the vegetables with a little heat in order to release the maximum aroma.
When to fry in Extra Virgin olive oil:
- when you need to slowly fry food in oil;
- when you want to give the product a pleasant aroma of olive oil;
- when the frying temperature is not high.
Lard is any fat of animal origin, from lard to that which is melted from the fat layer of bacon when it is heated.I think it will not be an exaggeration to say that city dwellers practically do not fry in lard anymore. There are many reasons – there is a high content of saturated fats, cholesterol and various impurities, and a low smoke point, and a specific smell, and a rather distinct taste that appears in the taste of the finished dish. Nevertheless, it is customary to fry a number of traditional dishes (for example, Hungarian dishes or pilaf) in lard, precisely because of its taste and how it extracts aromas from the fried foods.
When to fry in lard:
- When you need to give the product a lard flavor;
- when the frying temperature is not high.
A mixture of vegetable and butter
So, welcome: my secret weapon, a mixture of vegetable and butter. To do this, heat a little olive oil in a pan, add a piece of butter of the same volume, let it melt and shake the pan to mix the oil. Thanks to this trick, you kill several birds with one stone.First, you preserve the flavor and aroma of the butter while cutting the amount of saturated fat in half. Secondly, it is less likely that such oil will burn: mixing oils does not raise the smoke point (the temperature at which the proteins contained in butter begin to burn does not change from this), but makes heating more delicate and controlled. This makes the vegetable and butter mixture versatile – for example, you can first grind a mixture of finely chopped vegetables in it and then turn up the heat, or you can fry delicate foods like fish when you fry them over medium heat and determine the readiness visually.
When to fry in a mixture of vegetable and butter:
- when you need to get a golden brown crust;
- when you need to slowly grind food in oil;
- when you need to give the product a pleasant nutty flavor;
- when the roasting time may be delayed;
- when the frying temperature may vary during the process.
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Author: Alexey Onegin
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90,000 7 healthiest oils for your health – 4fresh blog
Each of us has a bottle of vegetable oil in our house, maybe even two: one for frying, the other for filling fresh salads. But do we know what value natural vegetable oils are for our body? And maybe you should consider expanding your home collection?
Let’s start with the fact that many vegetable oils have their own unique beneficial properties, we will talk about them in more detail later.They also have common functions. Let’s take a look at them.
The benefits of vegetable oils
Vegetable oils are composed of triglycerides of fatty acids. They contain free fatty acids, vitamins, waxes, phospholipids and other substances.
Foo, fat! – you may say, but this time you will be wrong.
The right fats, which are exactly what vegetable oils are made of, are a great source of energy and nutrients for our body, which provides most of our energy reserves.Not bad, huh?
Unlike animal fats, our favorite oils are formulated with unsaturated fatty acids. They are well absorbed by the body and do not clog blood vessels (on the contrary, vegetable oils help maintain the health of our heart and all blood vessels).
Vegetable oils help our cells grow and multiply, as well as the formation of the protective properties of cell membranes. It is an excellent fighter against cholesterol, and also an active participant in the regulation of fat metabolism.
Vegetable oils are rich in vitamins – A, E, D and others, which helps the normal functioning of the whole body. They have high antioxidant properties, helping to maintain the health and youthfulness of our body, activate protein synthesis, help regulate cholesterol levels, and also reduce the effects of radiation exposure.
Regular consumption of natural vegetable oils prevents many heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, inflammation and more.At least for this reason, they should be deeply loved.
How to use vegetable oils correctly
It should be remembered that not all oils are created equal for our health.
When making your choice, give preference to manufacturers:
- Crude oils. Since refined oils contain significantly fewer different benefits and generally do not have a very healthy effect on our health.
- Organic oils. Since the amount of vitamins and minerals in a product is determined by their level in the soil in which the plant was grown, and by farming methods. Improper plant care can lead to the fact that the composition of such an oil will be much worse.
- Cold pressed oils. It is this method of squeezing that allows you to keep all the nutrients and vitamins alive and well. It is better that the oils are processed at a temperature not higher than 40-45 degrees.
If there is one more condition about which we would like to remind you.Vegetable oils are best consumed on a regular basis rather than occasionally. It is then that they will really help the body work and protect it. This is especially true for those who prefer vegetarian, vegan and raw food diets.
Remember that we need to consume at least 15-20 grams of any kind of raw (that is, unrefined) vegetable oil per day.
Of course, it is best to have several bottles with different types of oils in your arsenal at once.Combining them will not only diversify your diet and make it richer, but also take care of your health as efficiently as possible.
Now let’s talk about each type of oil in more detail and choose our favorites:
Sesame oil: beneficial properties and contraindications
So, sesame oil has been known for its beneficial properties for more than one millennium. Some people in vain believe that sesame oil is not as healthy as other vegetable oils.
In fact, sesame oil is highly antibacterial. It is also an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. This is not enough? Sesame oil helps to cleanse blood vessels of cholesterol plaques, thereby preventing cardiovascular diseases, and reduces the level of bad cholesterol.
Sesame oil is an excellent antioxidant, which means it helps to preserve our beauty and youth inside and out.This is a real health chest containing various vitamins and nutrients.
Sesame oil helps soothe migraines and get back to working condition. In principle, it is recommended for those whose work is associated with mental stress and, moreover, stress.
However, we want to note that sesame oil is not recommended if you have a tendency to thrombosis or varicose veins, as it improves blood clotting and increases the number of platelets.
For most people, the answer to the question in which oil is best for frying is extremely simple – in vegetable oil. However, not all oils are suitable for frying. And not everything for all types of frying.
Studies show that sunflower, corn and other vegetable oils when heated easily break down into toxic aldehydes, which, among other things, are associated with an increased risk of cancer.
Another important factor is that most vegetable oils have a high content of omega-6 fatty acids, namely the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats, plays a huge role in the development of many diseases.
Oil for frying
Frying (frying) is a heat treatment of products using heated fat, but without adding water or other liquid containing water. To form a delicious golden crust, a temperature of about 180 degrees is required.
The main property that matters when choosing an oil for frying is how easily it oxidizes or rancid when heated. When oxidized, the oil turns into a product that is unhealthy.Therefore, the lower the oxidation temperature, the less the oil is suitable for frying.
And the oxidation temperature, in turn, depends on how saturated the oil is. The temperature of active oil oxidation is also called the smoke point – it is at this temperature that oxidized volatiles become visible to the naked eye.
Accordingly, the higher the smoke point, the better the oil is suitable for frying. This temperature should be taken into account when you cook, and select an oil that does not start to smoke at the temperature you need.
For example, if you are frying vegetables, fish or omelet, for which a small fire is enough, then even oil with a low smoke point is suitable, and for meat and poultry it is better to choose oil with a maximum smoke point.
Types of oil for frying
- Olive oil
Olive oil is most often used as an alternative to harmful sunflower oil. This oil is predominantly composed of monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acids, which are neutral to the health of the body.
Professor Grootveld from De Montfort University in Leicester (UK) believes that olive oil is the ideal “compromise” oil for cooking.
It contains about 76% monounsaturated fat, 14% saturated and only 10% polyunsaturated, which are less resistant to oxidation.
It is important to know that for everyday frying you do not need expensive extra virgin olive oil – it is more suitable for adding to salads. You can easily use refined olive oil for cooking – it costs much less and is sold in any supermarket.
- Palm oil
Palm oil, about which there has been a lot of contradictory data recently, consists mostly of saturated fatty acids, which means it can withstand heat treatment with dignity, smoke point is 230 degrees (that is, it is not inferior to coconut).
So-called red palm oil (unrefined, cold pressed) is best suited. It, among other things, contains a lot of vitamin E. The only problem is that palm oil is grown on an industrial scale, so it is not always possible to find out where it comes from and what quality it is.
Butter, which has been persecuted by nutritionists for so long, is regaining its rightful position by returning to the diet of supporters of a healthy diet. Natural butter is very beneficial for skin, hair, eyes, bones and muscles.
But it is still not recommended to use it for frying, although its smoke point is 177 degrees. And all because it foams, splashes and quickly turns black during heating.
Melted butter (ghee or ghee) is devoid of these drawbacks, which is quite accessible to anyone – you can buy it or make it yourself. Ghee is widely used in India and South Asia.
Unlike ordinary butter, which is not suitable for frying food and burns out at 150 degrees, ghee can be safely heated to high temperatures of 200-250 degrees.
Food cooked in ghee acquires a pleasant caramel taste and amber color, and the oil itself contains a large amount of vitamin A and vitamin E.
- Sunflower oil
Many people believe that corn and sunflower oil are the best options for cooking because they are cholesterol free and virtually odorless. However, unfortunately, sunflower oil is one of the most harmful to metabolism and human health.
The reason is the high content of omega-6 fats. These fats, unlike omega-3 (fish oil) or omega-9 (olive oil), are needed by the body only in extremely small quantities.At the same time, any types of sunflower oil (including unrefined) are about 60-80% omega-6.
The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in the diet is 1: 1 – however, eating food cooked in sunflower oil converts this ratio to a ratio of 1: 10–20. The result is the emergence of various microinflammations in the body and a violation of the processes of cell regeneration.
- Coconut oil
Contains over 90% saturated fatty acids, making it extremely resistant to heat.At room temperature, it is in a semi-solid state and can be stored for years without going rancid.
Coconut oil is very healthy. It is rich in fatty lauric acid, which improves blood lipid profile and kills pathogenic bacteria.
At the same time, the fatty acids of coconut oil are mainly used by the body as a source of daily energy and material for the synthesis of hormones (primarily testosterone). Due to the special composition of coconut oil, the human body is extremely reluctant to transform it into subcutaneous fat.
- Animal fats
Since the beginning of the 20th century, it has been generally accepted that lard and pork fat are unhealthy substances that must be replaced with vegetable oils. In fact, lard frying is much healthier than most vegetable oils.
At the same time, lard – fat melted from lard – is still better suited for frying. In it, as in ghee, there are no residues of proteins and “excess” water. Nevertheless, it is very good to fry on ordinary lard, given the smoking point of 182 degrees.
- Corn oil
It should be noted that this oil belongs to the best varieties of vegetable. It smells delicious and tastes good, but has a relatively low burning temperature of 160 degrees.
This allows corn oil to be used in a pan, but it is best to refrain from using it with meat dishes that require high cooking temperatures on the stove top or in the oven.
The worst cooking oils are sunflower and corn oils, which contain a lot of omega-6 fatty acids .
The best oils for frying are olive and coconut (including refined versions of these oils) and ghee.
News of the health risks associated with heating vegetable oils does not seem to have reached Russian science and the media yet. At least, both the Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and Channel One recommend the use of sunflower oil for frying.
In the structure of consumption of vegetable oils by Russians, sunflower oil dominates and occupies 69.1% of the market, and in the structure of production its share is even higher – 82.9%.
It is unlikely that a serious information campaign aimed at explaining the dangers of vegetable oils should be expected in the near future, especially given the economic crisis that makes all alternative products too expensive for most Russians.
What you need to know about fats
Saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids are fairly stable to heat. But oils with a high content of polyunsaturated fats should be avoided when frying!
- Polyunsaturated fat
Less heat stable.Contain two or more carbon-carbon double bonds. When consumed in foods such as nuts, seeds, fish, and leafy greens, they are beneficial for your health.
It should be remembered that with strong heating, sunflower or corn oil rich in polyunsaturated fats readily decomposes into toxic aldehydes.
- Monounsaturated fat
Contains only one carbon-carbon double bond. These fats are found in avocados, olives, olive oil, almonds, and hazelnuts, as well as lard and goose fat.With 76% monounsaturated fat, olive oil is a major component of the Mediterranean diet, which research has shown significantly reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Saturated Fat
Does not contain double bonds between carbon molecules. Recent research shows that saturated animal fats and oils are better for cooking, particularly frying, than sunflower or corn oil.
This powerful oil will rid the body of parasites and cholesterol, strengthen the immune system … Read our article on the benefits of black seed oil.Avicenna, Hippocrates and even the Prophet Muhammad spoke about its medicinal properties!
Flaxseed oil is no less useful for the body. Edition “So Simple!” will tell you what its benefits are and for what purposes it is worth using this miraculous oil that preserves beauty and health.
90,000 How does refined oil differ from unrefined oil? | Eternal Questions | Question-Answer
The main difference between refined and unrefined oil in the degree of its purification.Seeds and fruits of oil crops are used as raw materials. These can be olives, sunflower seeds, flax, rapeseed, corn kernels, pumpkin seeds, etc.
How is vegetable oil obtained and why is it refined?
Several production methods are used to obtain vegetable oil. Cold and hot pressing is used to extract oil from seeds. The result is unrefined vegetable oil, which can then be refined. It is carried out to improve the quality and presentation of the oil, to increase its shelf life.
During refining, phospholipids are removed from the oil, which can precipitate and spoil the appearance of the product, as well as free fatty acids and pigments that give the oil a rich color. In addition, waxy substances are extracted from the oil, giving it turbidity during storage, substances that enhance taste and smell. Refined oil has practically no color, taste or smell. The refining process consists of several stages.
Which oil is healthier?
It cannot be said that refined or, conversely, unrefined oil is harmful to health.Both types have their own advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of refined oils is their suitability for frying and other types of cooking. Refined oil does not have a pronounced taste and smell, so its use does not affect the taste of the dish itself. At the same time, during refining, the oil loses some vitamins.
Therefore, only cold-pressed vegetable oil obtained as a result of pressing without heating and without the use of solvents can saturate the body with mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, phospholipids, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E.It is best used as salad dressings and sauce components. And it is not worth heating up unrefined oils and using them for frying, stewing or baking, since when heated, active oxidation of fatty acids starts with the formation of dangerous chemical compounds.
The Great Guide to Oils | BURO.
What factors influence how oils affect the body?
The effect of vegetable oils on health depends on what fatty acids are in its composition, from what kind of raw material they were made and how they were extracted.
Which oils contain saturated fat,
and which are unsaturated?
Saturated fats (all oils of animal origin, as well as coconut, palm, cocoa butter, ghee or ghee, liquid palm oil, avocado oil) are resistant to oxidation and high heating temperatures. You can safely fry on them. Unsaturated fats are all other fatty acids, divided into monounsaturated (avocado oil, olive oil, macadamia oil) and polyunsaturated (most of seeds and nuts, grape seed oil).
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated –
how is it?
Monounsaturated oils are very unstable and therefore only suitable for cold use. When heated and in contact with oxygen, they turn into toxic compounds, including trans fats, which adversely affect the cardiovascular system and the body as a whole. Polyunsaturated oils are more stable, but should not be used for cooking at high temperatures.
What does it mean refined
Refined oil has passed several additional stages of purification. Unrefined has passed only primary mechanical filtration. It is also called virgin oil or virgin oil.
What does cold or hot pressing mean?
During hot pressing, the seeds are heated to better extract the oil from them.In this case, some of the nutrients are destroyed. Cold pressing is the most gentle option, as a result of which beneficial substances are better preserved. But this method has a big drawback – low productivity. Better to choose organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed vegetable oils or animal fats.
What does low burning point
(smoke) oil mean?
Each oil has its own smoke point, that is, the temperature at which it starts to burn.Low smoke points are possessed by those oils, the combustion temperature of which does not exceed 180 ° C. It is better to fill salads with such oils or those dishes where a little heating is required (linseed oil, unrefined sunflower oil, butter and walnut oil).
The midpoint of the combustion –
is how many degrees?
The combustion temperature at medium smoke points of oils can reach up to 220 ° C. With them, you can fry food in a pan and bake in the oven without fear of bitterness (coconut oil, Extra Virgin olive oil, refined rapeseed, corn and grape seed oil).
What can you do with high flashpoint oil?
Oils with high smoke points are able to withstand temperatures up to 270 ° C (some even more). They are great not only for frying in a pan, but also for deep-frying and grilling (sesame oil, refined sunflower, peanut, ghee and avocado oil).
Which oils are ideal for frying?
The main thing that matters when choosing an oil for frying is how easily it oxidizes or rancid when heated.As the oil oxidizes, it turns into a product that is unhealthy, so the lower the smoking temperature, the less oil is suitable for frying. Saturated oils withstand the highest temperatures.
Which oils are ideal for salads?
Oils with low smoke points work well for salads, such as unrefined sunflower oil, extra virgin olive oil, hemp oil, sesame oil, and walnut oil (nut oils are generally suitable for use in cold formulations).For example, light, fruity olive oils go well with delicate foods, while saturated oils go well with heavier foods. In principle, olive oil should only be used at low temperatures or added to salads.
What does raw-pressed butter mean?
You can save 100% of the benefits of seeds and nuts only when pressing with a wooden press without heating and contact with metal. In this case, before pressing, the raw materials are only cut and not subjected to any processing, and therefore even raw foodists can use it.Crude oil contains beneficial Omega 3, 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, essential for building cells and maintaining a healthy state of all systems. This oil contains a lot of vitamins A and E, and these are the most powerful antioxidants.
Which oils should you be careful with?
All trans fats should be excluded. This is margarine, butter below 82.5% fat, almost all confectionery products, cookies with a long shelf life, curd cheeses.Refined oils such as soybean, corn, cottonseed, rapeseed, sunflower, sesame, grape seed oil, and safflower should be avoided. During production, these oils lose useful substances and, as a result, no longer represent any health value.
Short Guide to Oils
Contains a record amount of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids necessary for the body. This oil is a source of vitamins A, K, E and group B.
Inexpensive oil obtained from the seeds of the camelina plant. Thanks to chlorophyll in its composition, it has a bactericidal, wound healing and anti-inflammatory effect.
Olive oil is useful for the digestive system, has anti-aging properties, due to the content of vitamin E and antioxidants, it prevents cell fading.
The unique combination of fatty acids gives the product medicinal properties.The substances in coconut oil increase the level of “good” cholesterol and lower the level of “bad” cholesterol, as well as have an antioxidant effect.
Unlike other oils, ghee is free of impurities and radicals. It contains neither lactose nor casein. The system of its preparation allows you to completely separate the components harmful to the body. Ghee can be used in any industry: cooking, face and body care, medicine.
Improves appetite, as it promotes the production of gastric juice, promotes digestion, stimulates the outflow of bile from the liver, improves intestinal motility.
It is better to choose unrefined cold-pressed sunflower oil. But for frying, it is not at all suitable – because of carcinogens. It contains massive amounts of the anti-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Can be added occasionally to salads.
Pumpkin seed oil
Chemically, pumpkin seed oil is one of the most balanced vegetable oils with a powerful antioxidant effect.It also lowers the concentration of cholesterol in the blood.
A serious mistake is the statement that sesame oil contains a large amount of minerals that are beneficial to our body. During the production process, all minerals remain in the sesame oil cake, and the oil itself does not contain calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorus.
Grape seed oil
The trace elements that make up this oil support the normal functioning of the heart.Thanks to all these properties, grape oil is an excellent natural remedy for the prevention of diseases of the cardiovascular system and varicose veins.