I find that one of the biggest topics of confusion is what oils are the healthiest to cook with. And I won’t lie – its confusing for everyone. New discoveries keep arising, and its hard to keep up.
Given all the confusion, I have done my own extensive research on the topic, and wanted to share with you my conclusions and what I apply in my own life to stay healthy. Plus, I’ll clarify a few points for you to keep in mind when choosing your own cooking oils.
First, let me share a few facts / basic tips to keep in mind:
- DIFFERENT OILS ARE BETTER FOR DIFFERENT COOKING METHODS. Some oils are better for high heat cooking than others, and that depends on their “smoking point” (the temperature at which oils start to break down and lose nutrients) and on how easily they oxidize. When oils are heated, they react with oxygen and go through a process of oxidation, which can then create harmful compounds – so you want to limit this. Examples of oils with a higher smoking point (can withstand higher heat) and less sensitive to oxidation, include: coconut oil, ghee and grass-fed butter, avocado oil, sunflower oil, and sesame oil.
- GET YOUR OMEGA 3’s. Getting the right balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids is important for your health, as too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3 leads to inflammation in your body, which is a precursor to almost all disease. And sadly, most of us are getting a lot more Omega 6 fatty acids than Omega 3, so you want to emphasize increasing the omega-3-rich oils in your diet, such as: flaxseed, walnut, avocado and olive oil.
- AVOID TRANS FATS. Different oils have different types of fats, including: SATURATED FATS (solid at room temperature), UNSATURATED FATS (liquid at room temperature) and of course, TRANS FATS (artificial fats created from vegetable oil to make them more shelf-stable). When it comes to saturated vs. unsaturated fats – its hard to generalize whether they’re good or bad for you as it varies per type of oil, but one thing is for sure: Trans fats are BAD, have no nutritional benefit, and should be avoided. Trans fats are found in most: deep-fried foods, store-bought cookies, cakes and pies, in shortening (Crisco), frosting, pancake mixes and refrigerated dough, non-dairy creamers, margarine, and even crackers. So always read ingredient labels and be wary of anything labeled “partially hydrogenated oils”.