From traditional olive oil to exotic coconut oil, there is no shortage of cooking oil options. It can feel like a new cooking oil fad pops up every minute these days — with each oil boasting a different set of health benefits and ways it will supposedly change your life. To help you separate fact from fiction, we will discuss five of the healthiest cooking oils and the specific health benefits they offer.
We will also tell you each oil's smoke point — the temperature at which the oil starts smoking and losing its positive health effects — so you will know the best way to cook with them. Keep reading to find out which cooking oil you should reach for next time you are in the kitchen.
5 of the Healthiest Cooking Oils
Here are five of the healthiest oils to cook with and how to use them effectively.
1. Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is one of the most nutritious cooking oils because it is rich in beneficial fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin K. Olive oil also contains powerful, biologically active antioxidants and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Specifically, olive oil can help the body combat heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, Type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
One primary way olive oil protects the body from illness is by fighting inflammation. Extra-virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, which works similarly to the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. Managing chronic inflammation can help fend off a range of health complications, from cancer to obesity.
On top of all these health benefits, olive oil is versatile in the kitchen because it is relatively heat-resistant. Olive oil is perfect for roasting veggies in the oven or whipping up a delicious stir-fry. You can even use olive oil when baking to give your desserts a bit of a health boost.
2. Grapeseed Oil
Most notably, grapeseed oil has significantly more vitamin E than most other cooking oils, which contributes to a healthy diet. Because vitamin E has high antioxidant properties, it can reduce the damage done by free radicals to the body's cells. Neutralizing free radicals can help prevent some cancers and heart disease.
Grapeseed oil may also decrease the blood's tendency to clot. Grapeseed oil's antiplatelet effects can protect the body from experiencing a heart attack or stroke by preventing blood clots and reducing arterial inflammation.
Thanks to its moderately high smoke point, grapeseed oil is ideal for baking and roasting foods in the oven. You can also use it as the basis of a scrumptious salad dressing.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a much-celebrated superfood because its unique combination of nutrients can significantly benefit your overall health. In particular, coconut oil can boost fat loss, improve brain function and bolster heart health. Coconut oil's distinct fatty acids are the secret to helping it achieve all these advantages.
While most dietary fats are long-chain triglycerides, coconut oil contains some shorter fatty acid chains known as medium-chain triglycerides. Once you eat MCTs, they go straight to your liver for your body to use as a quick energy source.
When the body does not need to use the MCTs for energy, it turns them into ketones. These chemicals can benefit the brain and may help treat conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.
Coconut oil has a slightly sweeter taste than most cooking oils, making it ideal for baking. Sauteeing bitter vegetables in coconut oil is also a great way to balance their flavors with a hint of sweetness.
4. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is a rising star in the health world. Sunflower oil offers a range of health benefits because it is high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids while being low in saturated fat. PUFAs can decrease triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood, while MUFAs can help reduce heart disease.
Additionally, sunflower oil is rich in antioxidants, which help boost your immune system by strengthening its cell membrane barriers, making it more challenging for bacteria and viruses to enter your body. Sunflower oil also contains nutrients that build and repair tissues and boost your innate ability to fight off infections.
You can also consume sunflower oil to heal your skin from the inside out. The high levels of vitamins A and E in sunflower oils promote skin health by helping regenerate damaged skin cells and eliminate acne-causing bacteria.
Because sunflower oil has a high smoke point, it is suitable for all kinds of cooking methods, from searing and browning foods to deep-frying them. However, nutritionists don't recommend using sunflower oil for frying, since that tends to negate this nutritious oil's health benefits.
5. Toasted Sesame Oil
If you are looking for a cooking oil that can provide a wide range of health advantages, toasted sesame oil will be your new best friend. Like many cooking oils, sesame oil is an excellent source of antioxidants and other compounds that help fend off free radicals within the body, which may reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.
Sesame oil also contains essential fatty acids that improve immune function and help prevent multiple diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Research has also indicated that sesame oil has anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective method of reducing swelling.
Sesame oil contains an amino acid known as tyrosine, which raises serotonin levels to help fight feelings of depression and stress. From a cosmetic standpoint, sesame oil carries compounds that can enhance your hair's strength and shine.
Sesame oil only has a medium smoke point, which means it is best for light sauteeing, low-heat baking, making sauces and as a finishing oil. Toasted sesame oil's rich, nutty flavor makes it the perfect cooking oil for crafting authentic Asian cuisine.
Purchase Your Healthy Cooking Oils From La Tourangelle
If you want to get the best healthy cooking oils, look for high-quality products from La Tourangelle. At La Tourangelle, we source our oils locally and craft them in small batches with minimal processing. Our priority is creating oils according to traditional and natural methods that produce flavorful and nourishing products.
Check out the wide variety of artisan oils available from La Tourangelle, so you can start making healthy, delicious meals today.