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These days, people often focus on how to choose healthy oils. However, the healthiness of oil as it rolls off grocery store shelves is only one part of the story. Additionally, it is also important to consider whether the oil is healthy to consume after heating it. So, many questions, right? In this article, we will be clearing all your doubts related to cooking oils, along with one which is the healthiest.
Also, we review seven healthier cooking oils that stand up to high-heat cooking.
What is the importance of good cooking oil?
Many people consume cooking oils because they are the essential basic ingredient to prepare all kinds of dishes, including meat, eggs, vegetables, sauces, and some grain dishes.
When cooking oils are heated to particularly high temperatures, they eventually reach their smoke point. This is the temperature at which the oil becomes unstable and begins to break down.
This is because edible oils have a range of smoke points or temperature where the oil is no longer stable. Therefore, do not use cooking oil for cooking above its smoke point.
As the oil breaks down, it oxidises and releases free radicals. These compounds can harm health and cause cell damage, leading to disease development.
Also, oils that reach their smoke point release a substance called acrolein, creating an unpleasant burnt taste. Acrolein in the air can be harmful to the lungs.
Moreover, it is also vital to consider the amount of processing the cooking oil has undergone, as this can affect the quality of the cooking oil.
Highly refined oils tend to be uniform in appearance and less expensive. In contrast, oils that have undergone minimal processing contain sediment particles, appear cloudy, and have a natural flavor and color.
Unrefined oils may contain more nutrients, but are more sensitive to heat and can go rancid faster than highly processed edible oils. They tend to have a higher smoke point than untreated oils.
Some refined oils are extracted using chemical solvents, while others are extracted by pressing plants or seeds. Many health-conscious consumers avoid chemically extracted oils in favor of those made through pressing, such as cold-pressed olive oil.
Remember that oils from different sources can vary widely in their nutritional composition, including the proportions and types of fatty acids they contain.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using refined and unrefined oils and oils with different smoke points.
Below are four healthier oils that can withstand high-heat cooking.
1. Olive Oil
Olive oil has a smoke point of around 350°F (176°C), which is a common cooking temperature for many recipes, especially baked goods.
Olive oil has long been the gold standard for cooking oils used in kitchens worldwide, mainly because it is versatile. It has a hint of pepper and herb flavor and can be utilized in baking, sautéing, or cold dressings.
Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, which has antioxidant properties. In addition, the main fatty acid found in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which has been shown in studies to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Additionally, olive oil contains antioxidant compounds called oleocanthal and oleuropein. These may have anti-inflammatory effects, such as helping to prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Studies show that olive oil contains heart-healthy compounds that can help prevent conditions like obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
These are a few of the best Olive Oil brands that are available online:
1. Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Oil
2. Amazon Fresh Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil has a smoke point of around 520°F (271°C), which makes it ideal for high-heat cooking, such as frying.
It has a neutral flavor like avocado and can be used in the same way as olive oil. It also has a nutritional composition similar to that of olive oil, with a higher percentage of oleic acid, a heart-healthy fat.
Some animal studies have shown that compounds found in avocado oil may help lower blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Avocado oil may even be beneficial in reducing painful joint inflammation, increasing the absorption of other nutrients, and protecting cells from free radical damage.
One study concluded that the nutritional value is maintained at low and high temperatures.
The quality and nutritional content of avocado oil depend on many factors, including where the avocado was grown and the extraction method used.
You can buy these brands of avocado oil for your next recipe:
1. Handcraft Avocado Oil
2. BetterBody Foods Refined Non-GMO Cooking Oil
3. La Tourangelle, Avocado Oil
3. Sesame Oil
Sesame oil has a medium-high smoke point of around 410°F (210°C).
Rich in sesamol and sesaminol, heart-healthy antioxidants, it has many benefits, including possible neuroprotective effects against certain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
Additionally, a small study on 46 people with type 2 diabetes found that using sesame oil for 90 days significantly improved fasting blood sugar levels and long-term biomarkers of glycemic control.
Sesame oil is good for stir-frying, general cooking, and even as a salad dressing. It has a slightly nutty flavor and goes well with a variety of cooking dishes.
Please note that regular sesame oil is different from toasted sesame oil. The latter has a more amplified nutty flavor and is more suitable for finishing dishes than cooking them.
Try these brands of Sesame Oil next time you make french fries:
1. Kadoya 100% Pure Sesame Oil
2. La Tourangelle, Toasted Sesame Oil
3. US Organic Sesame Seed Oil
4. Safflower Oil
Safflower oil has a high smoke point, around 510°F (265°C). It is made from safflower seeds. It is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fatty acids.
One study found that daily use of safflower oil can improve inflammation, blood sugar control, and cholesterol in postmenopausal women with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
This oil offers a neutral flavor that is suitable for marinades, sauces, dressings, stovetop barbecues, and stir-fries.
You can buy safflower oil on Amazon.
1. Life-flo Carrier Oil
2. Spectrum Naturals Refined High Oleic Safflower Oil
5. Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is high in “good” monounsaturated fats and low in “bad” saturated fats. As a result, it is believed to help prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol. Also, peanut oil can help reduce the buildup of fat in your blood vessels.
You can use peanut oil if you have high cholesterol or other fats in the blood, heart disease, joint pain, dry skin, and many other conditions.
These are some of the options available online:
1. La Tourangelle, Roasted Peanut Oil
2. Hollywood Enriched Gold Peanut Oil
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a rich source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of saturated fat. There is evidence that consuming MCTs may increase the number of calories your body burns, which may help with weight loss.
The MCTs in coconut oil also provide a quick energy boost and have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
You can check out some brands of Coconut oil here online:
1. Amazon Brand – Happy Belly Organic Refined Coconut Oil
3. Carrington Farms liquid coconut cooking oil
7. Mustard Oil
Mustard oil is a type of oil that’s made by pressing the seeds of the mustard plant. This oil helps reduce inflammation and pain, slow cancer cell growth, block microbial growth, and enhance hair and skin health.
Pure mustard oil has a high smoke point of around 480°F (250°C), putting it on par with other fats like butter.
This makes it a common choice for high heat cooking methods like frying, roasting, baking, and grilling in areas like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
1. Daana Organic Mustard Oil
2. 24 Mantra Organic Mustard Oil
When it comes to cooking oils, you are not short of options. For cooking at high temperature, choosing an oil capable of maintaining its stability is essential. Oils heated above their smoke point can break down and form harmful compounds.
Healthy cooking oils that can withstand higher temperature include olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, and safflower oil.
Additionally, it contains various unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and other compounds that may have beneficial health effects.