The Best Fats And Oils To Cook The Healthy Way
There is a growing range of oils that we can use to replace the manufactured hydrogenated oils many of us use to cook our meals.
These options all contain various forms of fat and vary in their smoke point – the temperature at which they begin to break down and denature.
It is, therefore, vitally important to consider the impact that the fats we cook with have on our health and our waistlines.
Finding better options
Rather cook with oils that have a higher saturated fat content because these fats generally have a higher smoke point.
This is important because once oil is heated past its smoke point, it breaks down rapidly and generates fumes and free radicals which can be harmful to your body.
As such, the higher the smoke point of the oil, the better it is for use during cooking.
The ideal cooking oils
Coconut oil (91% saturated fat content): The high saturated fat content makes it ideal for cooking at higher heats. It also contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), mostly in the form of lauric acid, which can be converted by the liver into readily available energy. Lauric acid also offers anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Avocado oil: Has an extremely high smoke point of 271°C, which makes it ideal for cooking on high heat. It also has a 70% MUFA content, but the taste can be a drawback.
Grape seed oil: While this oil contains high levels of PUFAs, it has a high smoke point of 204°C and is non-hydrogenated. Opt for cold-pressed organic options whenever possible and only use this product to cook if your overall omega-6-to-3 ratio is low.
Macadamia nut oil: This is another suitable oil with which to cook as it is stable up to temperatures of 210°C. This stability is mostly due to its extremely low omega-6 fatty acid content and high MUFA content.
Red palm oil (50% saturated fat content): Contains carotenoids which are beneficial phytonutrients that offer various health benefits, including cancer prevention. It is also a rich source of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant.
Extra virgin olive oil: This oil is less stable at high heat than the others already mentioned and should, therefore, only be used when cooking on low heat.
These oils are less beneficial for cooking due to their high PUFA contents:
Pumpkin seed oil