When looking for healthy cooking oils, there are a lot of options, depending on what you’re looking for in terms of nutrition, heating capacity, and flavor.
You have many options when it comes to selecting fats and oils for cooking. With the large array of cooking oil choices at the supermarket, it is easy to be overwhelmed. Remember that oil is a fat, and fat calories are still fat calories, no matter which type of oil you use. So, you should use the least amount of fat possible to prepare your foods while still getting the greatest amount of taste and health benefits.
Choosing Nutritious Oils
Most liquid cooking oil is a better option than butter or margarine, but some types of cooking oil are healthier than others. What makes a cooking oil healthy or unhealthy is the amount and type of fat it contains. Healthy cooking oils are high in monounsaturated fats, which are some of the healthiest types of fats and may help lower blood cholesterol levels. Cooking oils may also contain polyunsaturated fats, which are also healthy and can help improve heart health.
Olive oil is a traditional cooking staple in many kitchens. It’s commonly used for sautéing and often appears as an ingredient in salad dressings and bread dips. Its flavor is often used in Mediterranean-style dishes. Italy, Spain and Turkey make up the largest U.S. imports of olive oil. Like many other oils, it’s available in several varieties including virgin and refined.
Canola oil is an inexpensive but healthy oil high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. With a milder flavor than olive oil, canola oil is also a good choice when stir-frying or baking. Add canola oil to your recipes to help control cholesterol levels, reduce your chance of heart disease and regulate blood sugar levels. Canola oil contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats that boost your cardiovascular health.
Sesame oil is known as one of the world’s first condiments. Toasted sesame seed oil is preferred in East Asian cooking, and features a deep golden-brown color. Cold-pressed sesame oil is more widely used in Western cultures, and has a higher smoke point. The toasted variety is often added to dressings, marinades and dips, and cold-pressed oil is more suitable for stir-frying and even deep frying. It’s best to store sesame oil in a cool, dark cabinet or fridge.
Most vegetable oils are made with soybeans, making them a good source of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Its high percentage of polyunsaturated fats boosts your heart health when you eat items prepared with soybean oil. Soybean oil has a medium smoke point, making it a good choice for sauces and sauteing. This type of oil does not have a strong flavor, so it won’t change the taste of your food when you use it for cooking.
Avocado oil is quickly gaining popularity due to its high smoke point, which makes it great for sautéing and stir-frying, and its likeness to olive oil when used in salads and with vegetables and dips. It can be stored away from heat and light for up to one year, and is high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. Swanson Kale Salad features delicious vegetables and this buttery, smooth oil.
Walnuts are a good source of omega-3s, and using walnut oil when cooking protects your heart and brain and plays a role in maintaining mood and preventing depression. The flavor of walnut oil makes it a good choice for baking. It is also a tasty addition to marinades and dressings, and pairs well with the flavors of vegetables and seafood.
A variety of heart-healthy cooking oils can give your meal great flavor. Experiment with light sautés or marinades; if you avoid frying foods or using heavy amounts of oil, nut or vegetable oil adds taste and valuable nutrition to any meal. Just. And remember: A little oil goes a long way.