Whether you want to bake, sauté, or fry your dinner, there are a lot of oil options to choose from. Some cooking oils have a host of health benefits, while others you should stay away from like the plague. We all know the benefits of olive oil, but it’s definitely not the only wholesome oil out there. How healthy an oil is depends on a few factors, such as the types of fats it contains, where it comes from, and how heavily it has been processed. Below we’ll explore three of the best oils to use when cooking and how they can be used.
One of the best cooking oils available, coconut oil’s unique combination of fatty acids can support our body’s healthy functioning and help prevent disease. Coconut oil is made up of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fat which is shorter and more easily metabolized than the long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) found in other saturated fats, such as butter and lard.
Not only can MCTs reduce your hunger levels and increase how much fat our body burns when compared to other fats, but they’ve also been found to even help mitigate the neurodegenerative effects of Alzheimer’s. Coconut oil has also been shown to help increase the levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), reducing the negative effects of “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
Coconut oil has a high smoke point, meaning it can be used at high temperatures without the oil burning and becoming unhealthy. This makes it a great option for high-temperature cooking. Just make sure you’re using the virgin coconut oil that stays solid at room temperature.
There are many health benefits to using walnut oil, especially if you choose an unrefined, cold-pressed variety. It contains a good ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids which can help keep inflammation under control and is rich in Omega-9s, which will keep your arteries flexible into old age. Alongside polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that have been studied for their effects on cognitive function, walnut oil is a source of ellagic acid. Like coconut oil, ellagic acid can help protect your brain from neurodegenerative disorders.
Walnut oil has a low smoke point, however, so it’s best suited for lower-temperature cooking such as sautéing and searing. It also makes a flavorful salad dressing.
A newcomer to the healthy oil scene, this unprocessed oil is a great addition to any kitchen. It’s packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, helping to reduce LDL cholesterol and bring down blood pressure. Its high smoke point and neutral flavor even make it perfect for frying and high-heat cooking. You should definitely give avocado oil a try if you haven’t already.
Different oils will have different flavors and uses, so it’s up to you to choose which ones work best for your style of cooking. Start with these three options and remember, the less refined and processed oil is, the better it is for your health.
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