7 Best Natural Cooking Oils
How Healthy is Your Cooking Oil?
We use cooking oils all the time, probably consuming more of the substance than most other foods we eat. But how often do we stop to consider the health implications of the cooking oils we use? To help, here are 7 of the healthiest organic cooking oils:
Of all the available oils, coconut oil is the oil of choice for cooking because it is nearly a completely saturated fat, which means it is less susceptible to heat damage. Coconut oil is an amazingly-versatile, nutrient-dense superfood that is the richest known source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which aid in the proper digestion and assimilation of fats, as well as boost energy levels.
Coconut Oil is also high in Lauric Acid, which can improve cholesterol (1, 2), and the fats in coconut oil can boost metabolism and have been shown to increase feelings of fullness (3, 4).
If you are going to heat or fry your food, Coconut Oil is the oil to go for.
Flaxseed Oil provides an essential fat (polyunsaturated fat), that the body can’t produce so we must get it from our food. Flaxseed Oil is a great source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, but due to its molecular structure, this oil is not stable when heated and should NOT be used for cooking. Instead, Flaxseed Oil is great for cold use in salad dressings and dips.
Extra-virgin, Stone-Crushed, Cold-Pressed Organic Olive Oil:
A David Wolfe favourite, Olive oil is well known for its heart health effects and is often attributed as a reason for the good health of Mediterranean people.
Olive oil can raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and lower the amount of LDL (the bad) cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream (5, 6).
The difference between virgin and extra-virgin Olive Oil is in the acidity. Extra-virgin Olive Oil has less varieties of acids which affect its taste and quality.
Olive Oil is best in non-heated form, such as in a salad dressing. Heating Olive Oil over 200o F can change the chemical structure of the oil into harmful trans-fatty acids.
Avocado oil is loaded with monounsaturated fat, the kind considered to be heart-healthy, because of its powers to improve cholesterol numbers. This fruit oil also gives us lutein, an antioxidant that improves eye health. Avocado oil is also great in salads as studies have shown it supports our body’s ability to absorb health-giving antioxidants found in vegetables.
It can be used for many of the same purposes as olive oil.
You can cook with it, or use it cold.
Made by pressing the oil out of ground almond paste, almond oil has a nutty flavor (surprise surprise) and pale yellow colour. It’s rich in monounsaturated fat (like olive and avocado oil), vitamin E and phytosterols; plant compounds were shown to improve cholesterol numbers.
Can also be used as a natural skin moisturizer.
Palm oil (sustainably sourced) is a good choice if you into are high-heat cooking.
Palm oil is derived from the fruit of oil palms.
It consists mostly of saturated and monounsaturated fats, with small amounts of polyunsaturates.
Red Palm Oil (the unrefined variety) is best as it is rich in Vitamins E, Coenzyme Q10 and other healthy nutrients.
* There has been controversy surrounding palm oil because many palm oil plantations have contributed to the decimation of the rainforest. However, responsible and sustainably- harvested palm oil can also be sourced.
Ghee or Clarified Butter:
Ghee or Clarified Butter is butter with the milk solids removed.
Contrary to popular belief, high-quality grass-fed organic butter can be good for you (7).
Ghee can be used for medium to high heat stir frying and sautéing and tastes great on veggies, meat, poultry, fish and eggs.
Make sure to choose butter from grass-fed cows. This butter contains more Vitamin K2, CLA and other healthy nutrients, compared to butter from grain-fed cows.
You can purchase this saturated fat at most health food stores or make your own. Here’s a on how to make your own Clarified Butter.
Some tips to make sure that your fats and oils don’t go rancid and toxic:
- Don’t buy large batches, buy small ones, that way you will most likely use them before they damage.
- The main drivers behind oxidative damage of cooking oils are heat, oxygen and light.
- Keep cooking oils in a cool, dry and dark place and screw on the lid whenever you’re done using them.
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