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Healthy Cooking Oil

Updated on January 31, 2014

Important Oil Selection Tips

1)Effect of overheating
When using cooking oil never over heat to such an extent that black smoke starts coming. This makes oil unfit for use as it contains harmful chemicals due to overheating.

2)Smoking point of oil
Different oils have different smoking points. Smoking point is the point after which the oil starts producing smoke on heat. When the oil starts to produce smoke, it is at this stage the oil is deteriorating and this oil now produces harmful compounds. So if you make recipes requiring lot of heat then go for oil that has high smoking point.

3)Never Reuse oil again and again
Reusing oil again leads to formation of harmful compounds. So recipes using these oil become a danger to our health.

4)Monounsaturated fats vs polyunsaturated fats vs saturated fats
Healthy oils have low level of saturated fats. And the unsaturated fats should have higher monounsaturated fats compared to polyunsaturated content. Oils that have high polyunsaturated content when heated produce toxic compounds even though they might have high smoking point.

5)Refined oil vs Unrefined oil
Oils are obtained by any of the following techniques- chemical solvent extraction, heating up and by cold pressing. Then these extracted oil are refined by bleaching, distilling, deodorizing etc. The final refined oils though have a good smoking point but are unhealthy.
Unrefined oils are those cooking oils where the oil is extracted by cold pressing technique. These oils are very healthy for cooking. Having low smoke point, these oils are suitable for salads dressings and light cooking purposes.
For deep frying and high heat purposes use refined oil where oil has been extracted by cold pressing and there is high degree of monounsaturated fats less polyunsaturated fats and less saturated fats.

6) Cooking Techniques
If you are using high degree of heat- deep frying, frying etc. The ideal oil is refined olive oil, avocado oil, hazelnut oil, mustard oil.
Low heat cooking - Above oils as well as canola oil, rice bran oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil
If you need for salad dressing, sauces- Virgin olive oil, canola oil, corn oil,rice bran oil, walnut oil.

Cooking Oils Comparision Chart

Top Cooking Oils

Seeing the above chart the best cooking oils are

1) Avocado Oil

2) Macadamia Oil

3) Olive Oil

4) Mustard Oil

5) Sunflower Oil with high oleic content

6) Canola Oil

7) Tea seed Oil

Cooking Oil Uses

1)Almond Oil - For high heat cooking like baking, sauteing and frying use refined almond oil. Almond oil obtained by cold pressing technique should be used as flavoring over finished recipes , add it on salads.

2)Avocado Oil
This healthiest cooking oil is an all-rounder oil. As it can be used for high heat cooking like grilling,baking, sauteing and frying as well as can added pizzas, soups, salads. Just close your eyes use it without fear.

Having a less smoking point it cannot be used for cooking using high heat. It is used to add flavor in soups, salads. In baking it is incorporated in the batter of cake, pastry and cookie. Add it to your sandwiches. Basically best for cooking requiring less or no heat.

4)Clarified Butter
Also known as Ghee. It has a high smoking point so it can be used in high heat purposes like frying, deep frying, sautéing as well as other types of cooking. You can also use to flavor. For athletes, growing children and those who do lot of physical exercise it is best oil option. Non exercising people will have increase in cholesterol levels as it has high saturated fat levels, so they should avoid it.

5)Canola Oil
It is also one of the best healthy cooking oil. Can be used in cooking requiring low to medium heat. Apart from that you can use it salad dressing and baking.

6)Coconut Oil
Being sweet with nutty flavor, this oil is used in baking,sweets, candy and pastries. Added as flavor in popcorn. It is also used in toppings. In South Asian countries particularly in south regions of India it is used for cooking curries and for frying. There is a debate as to whether this oil is healthy or not. Despite being high in saturated fats it has high amount of lauric acid which increases the good HDL cholesterol levels. Use virgin/unrefined coconut oil because it will give you the maximum health benefits. But use coconut oil in moderation as it packed with lot of calories

7)Corn Oil
Use this oil as salad dressing, for making mayonnaise, in baking mixtures, shortening. As it has high polyunsaturated fats use it for medium to low heat cooking. Polyunsaturated fats will form harmful compounds on heating despite this oil is having a high smoking point.

8)Cottonseed Oil
It is mostly used in commercially products like fries, potato chips, cereals, breads and snacks. Added in salads, mayonnaise and used as shortening.

9)Grape seed Oil
Ideal to be used for cooking at moderate to low heat. You can also add this oil in salads, mayonnaise and for baking.

10)Hemp Oil
It has a low smoke point of 165 °C , so you can use it for cooking at low temperatures. Apart from cooking use it for salad dressing or for flavoring.

11)Macadamia Oil
It is the best cooking oil as it has around 84% monounsaturated fats, a decent smoking point. Use it for any type of cooking- high heat, low heat, medium heat. Apart from cooking use it for salad dressings and baking.

12)Mustard Oil
Another healthy cooking oil. Use it for deep frying, frying, cooking at any temperature. But before using it for cooking, heat this oil to its burning point to remove its strong pungent flavor. This will make it pleasant to taste.

13)Olive Oil
Here is one oil that you can use with delight. The olive comes in various varieties- Virgin olive oil, Extra virgin olive oil, Refined olive oil and light olive oil. Each type has different cooking uses.
@Extra virgin olive oil best for salad dressing and flavoring
@Virgin Olive oil can be used for sautéing , baking as well as for salad dressing and flavoring.
@Refined Olive oil and light olive oil are used for cooking at all temperatures- frying, deep frying, sautéing. Since these qualities of olive oils lack aroma and taste they have a very neutral effect in salad dressing. So it is better not to use in salads or for flavoring


This article is meant for information purpose only. The information provided here is not a substitute of professional medical advice. Please seek the advice of doctors or physician before using the information in this article for any health program.

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