Perhaps this problem rings a bell: You have an array of deliciously fresh, chopped vegetables sitting on the kitchen cutting board and it’s time to start sautèing. You look into your cupboard and gaze over the selection of oils only to realize that you aren’t sure which ones you should cook with and which turn rancid once they’re exposed to high temperatures.
Well, wonder no more! When selecting an oil to cook with, you want to choose an oil that does not oxidize or turn rancid easily. Oxidation leads to free radicals, which can harm and prematurely age the body.
The tendency of an oil to oxidize is directly linked to the fatty acid content; the higher the saturated fat, the better it fares under high cooking temperatures. With that in mind, here are the top 3 healthy cooking oils:
Hands down, coconut oil is the best cooking oil when it comes to high heat and sautés. With a very high saturated fat content, coconut oil holds up extremely well when exposed to high temperatures, which leaves your body safe from free radicals.
Coconut oil has been shown to improve cholesterol, kill bacteria and boost metabolism. Plus, it tastes delicious! It can be used in soups, sautés, baking and even smoothies. Look for virgin coconut oil to reap the most health benefits.
Rich in Vitamin E and Co-enzyme C10, palm oil has a relatively high level of saturated and monounsaturated fats, which make it a good choice for cooking. Vitamin E supports a healthy immune system and this oil can be a great addition to soups, stews, curries and noodle dishes.
**Be sure to stay away from partially hydrogenated palm oil, though, which is used in processed foods. Partially hydrogenated palm oil is loaded with unhealthy trans-fat that damage and harm the body.
Avocado oil is high in heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids and is comprised mainly of mono-unsaturated fats and a few polyunsaturated and saturated fats, which make it a healthy choice only when cooking on low heat.
Avocado oil can help lower LDL cholesterol, but don’t cook it at extremely high temperatures. Like olive oil, its best consumed drizzled over salad or veggies AFTER they’ve been cooked. If you do cook with it, keep your temperatures low to prevent oxidation.
Oils to Avoid
Now that you know the top 3 healthy cooking oils, let’s talk about those to stay away from. Cooking oils that contain trans-fatty acids, oxidize easily, or turn rancid when cooked at high temps are not oils you want entering your body.
Many vegetable oils are highly processed and overflowing with Omega 6 fatty acids, which can cause inflammation in the body, leading to heart disease and cancer.
With that in mind, stay away from:
- Soybean Oil
- Canola Oil
- Vegetable Oil
- Corn Oil
- Sunflower Oil
Storage Tip: Keep your healthy cooking oils in a cool, dark and dry place to prevent them from oxidizing. Also buy oils in small quantities. As appealing as that vat of oil from Costco might look, the chances of it turning rancid before you have a chance to use it all is extremely high.
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