Today we have a wide range of cooking oils available. Although many of them have great health benefits, not all of them are healthy after they have been heated.
For high heat cooking, you need a stable oil that won’t oxidize or go rancid. When oils oxidize harmful free radicals are formed. When this happens those highly reactive free radicals can cause severe damage to your body.
Not All Fats Are Created Equally
There are 3 types of fatty acids found in most cooking oils, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The degree of saturation is the most important factor for the stability of cooking oils.
- Saturated fats: have single bonds, making them stable when exposed to heat and light. Oils with high percentages of saturated fats are therefore best for cooking.
- Monounsaturated fats have one double bond in their molecule. It’s those double bonds that make the fatty acids reactive and sensitive to heat and light. Although monounsaturated fatty acids contain a double bond they are still relatively stable, making them a fair choice for cooking.
- Polyunsaturated fats have 2 or more of those double bonds, making them the most reactive and sensitive to heat and light. These oils should never be used for cooking.
So, oils that contain high percentages of saturated and/or monounsaturated fats are far better than oils with a high percentage of polyunsaturated fats.
The 3 Best and Healthiest Oils
1. The Absolute Number One: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is by far the healthiest and stable cooking oil on our planet. We cook nearly all our dishes with this heart healthy oil. Although the media may have said things differently, to be honest, they were paid by the corn and soy industry to give coconut oil a bad name. This oil is solid at room temperature and it lasts for months, if not years without going rancid.
FYI: Coconut oil contains 91.9% saturated fat, 6.2% monounsaturated fat, and 1.9 polyunsaturated fat.
Coconut oil should not be confused with palm oil though. Although palm oil is quite good for cooking (51.6% saturated, 38.7% monounsaturated, and 9.7% polyunsaturated) you shouldn’t use this oil as it is contributing to massive deforestation and animal killing. Check out my previous blog post to learn more.
ALSO READ: Refined Coconut Oil vs Virgin Coconut Oil
2. Ghee or Clarified Butter
Although butter, just as coconut oil, received a bad name in the past due to its high levels of saturated fat, there is actually no reason to stay away from grass-fed, organic butter. Except if you’re a vegan of course, then coconut oil is your best choice.
Real butter contains vitamin A, E, and K and other great health-promoting nutrients. Although normal butter is not that bad at all, ghee or clarified butter is the best. Normal butter still contains sugars and proteins which can easily burn during high heat cooking.
Therefore clarified butter or ghee from grass-fed cows is the best option for you to choose. You can buy ghee readymade or try and make your own. It’s super easy, you’ll see! Click here for the tutorial.
FYI: Ghee contains 68% saturated fat, 28% monounsaturated fat, and 4% polyunsaturated fat.
Scroll down for more healthy oils and learn about which oils should be avoided to protect your health.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil has been a staple in Mediterranean diets for ages. It’s well-known for its heart-boosting benefits. It raises the good cholesterol and lowers the amount of bad cholesterol. Although olive oil is low in saturated fats, it is still stable due to its high monounsaturated fatty acid content. Making it a fairly resistant to heat. Always opt for quality olive oil. It tastes better and has more nutrients and antioxidants. Store in a dark, cool and dry place to avoid the oil from going rancid.
FYI: Olive oil contains 14% saturated fat, 75% monounsaturated fat, and 11% polyunsaturated fat.
Oils that are great for salads, dressings, and other cold or low heat uses
- Fish oil
- Flax Oil
- Nut oils and peanut oil
Oils that should be avoided as they may induce the risk of several diseases
Industrial and highly processed seed and vegetable oils should be avoided as the plague. Not only for cooking, but you should avoid them altogether. Those oils can harm your health and have been wrongly considered heart-healthy by the media and many nutritional professionals. Studies link those types of oils to an increased risk of cancer, heart diseases, and Alzheimer’s.
Those oils include:
- Soybean Oil
- Corn Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
- Canola Oil
- Rapeseed Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Rice Bran Oil
What’s your favorite cooking oil? Share your thought with us in the comment box below.
Thanks for reading. I hope this information was helpful. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.