We’ve all got that cupboard of cooking oils, but do you really know which ones are best for your health? To help you better understand the role of oils in cooking and your health, we’ve got a few healthy facts about everyday cooking oils.
The following explanations of oil's properties have been determined by research studies. It is shown that non-refined oils provide the most nutrients since they are not chemically manipulated. So next time you’re grocery shopping be sure to get the “non-refined” oil in order to take advantage of all the health benefits the oil offers. Although many of these oils have great beneficial properties, all need to be further researched and explored.
Olive Oil - [No-low Heat] Avoid heating extra virgin olive oil to prevent creation of free radicals. Virgin olive oil is unrefined and contains the polyphenols or antioxidants and can be heated up to 390˚F. The health benefits of this oil include reducing the risk of cancer, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Mediterranean cultures use olive oil often in their cooking which has shown to be a contributor in their good health status. Plus, it tastes delicious! !
Coconut Oil - [Unrefined: Low-Med Heat. Refined: High Heat] Coconut oil is filled with high amounts of saturated fat, but don’t let that scare you. These fats are medium chain fatty acids which can be used for immediate energy. This oil has gained immense popularity in Western cultures over the last decade for its medicinal, health, cooking, and beauty uses. Next time you find yourself using coconut oil be sure its “virgin” so that it is packed with micronutrients that promote antistress and antioxidant capabilities. Remember, although this oil is chalked full of health benefits, it’s still a fat and contains 120 calories per tablespoon. Balance and moderation is key!
Sunflower Seed Oil - [Best Used in High Heat] Health benefits of sunflower seed oil include control of serum cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disorders. While this oil may reduce atherosclerosis, it may also increase cardiovascular problems if not taken regularly. Sunflower seed oil is give or take and should be researched further for long-term health effects or benefits.
Peanut Oil - [Unrefined: Low-Med Heat. Refined: High Heat] Peanut oil is widely used in cooking and frying due to its high heat tolerance. If not too refined, it usually still contains antioxidants like Vitamin E. These antioxidants help to protect the body from potential viruses, cancer, and heart disease. Next time you're deep frying with this nutty oil, remember while the dish you’re making may not be healthy, peanut oil can offer some health benefits if it’s good quality!
Canola Oil - [High Heat] Canola oil is used a lot for cooking and can be very cheap. Canola oil is packed with omega 3s that can lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Canola oil also has properties that allow it to reduce inflammation, blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and improves blood vessel elasticity. However, some Canola may be genetically modified but it considered safe to consume by the FDA.