BEST COKING OILS That are Super Healthy
The best oils for cooking are not always what you expect; while vegetable oil is very standard for dishes like fried chicken or pan-fried meats and potatoes, it’s not your only option, and not always the healthiest choice either. There are healthy oils you might choose instead, either for frying or for adding to foods during pre-cooking prep, and for baking . The best oil for frying will also be one that just draws out the flavor of your favorite foods, not just cover it over with an oily taste.
Since oils are important for your health but can also be very unhealthy at the same time, it’s good to consider the best cooking oil and all your options for using in the kitchen. Let’s take a look at a few different varieties and why some may be a better choice than others.
- Canola oil
The advantage of canola oil is that it has a very light flavor and texture, making it the best oil to cook with when you don’t want to overwhelm the flavor of your foods themselves. For frying, it won’t create a greasy or heavy feeling or be more noticeable than your seasonings.
Canola is also one of the healthy oils for cooking and for stir-fry dishes, as it has a good supply of omega acids that are needed to keep your heart and other muscles and organs healthy. Canola oil is also one of the healthy oils to cook with because it has a low concentration of what is called erucic acid, often found in cooking oils and which add to their overall heaviness and cholesterol levels.
- Light olive oil
You may already know that light olive oil is the best oil for cooking and for food prep, because it also has a light flavor and texture that doesn’t interfere with the flavors of your foods. You can use it on salads with some vinegar for flavor and without a heavy and greasy taste. Olive oil for cooking also means not adding a heavy vegetable flavor to your foods, and not having your foods absorb the oils so much that they come out greasy or tend to fall apart. However, keep in mind that olive oil may lose some of its antioxidants during the cooking process, so use it at the lowest heat possible for your dishes so you preserve its healthy qualities.
- Avocado, maybe the best cooking oil
Avocado oil is becoming more and more popular for cooking and food prep today, possibly even replacing olive oil as a kitchen staple! This healthy cooking oil is taken from the flesh, not the seed, of avocados, so it retains many of the omega fatty acids that are needed for healthy organs, including radiant skin.
Avocado may also be the best cooking oil for health, as it contains a high amount of monounsaturated fats, which are needed to keep the heart healthy and strong but which don’t add to your cholesterol levels. The oil also has a light, almost nutty taste that can actually enhance the flavor of salads and stir-fry dishes.
- Coconut oil for cooking, and so much more
Coconut oil will be refined or unrefined; the unrefined variety will hold the coconut flavor better, so you can add this sweet taste to your dishes by using unrefined coconut oil. However, if you want a high amount of antioxidants in your healthy cooking oil without the taste of the tropics, you should choose refined coconut oil. This oil has a high smoke point so it’s good for stir-fry dishes and deep frying, and has much less of the coconut flavor as the unrefined oil.
Note, too, that this is not just the best cooking oil; coconut oil can be slightly heated and rubbed into your scalp to treat dry and brittle hair and protect it from split ends; some even say that this moisturizes the scalp so well that hair grows thicker overall. Coconut oil is also good for moisturizing the skin and especially areas like the feet and elbows that don’t absorb other moisturizers so well. Rub some into your nail beds for stronger nails or melt a few spoonfuls and give your feet a good soak to soften calluses and those stubborn dry patches on your heels.
- Rice bran may be the best frying oil
Rice bran oil isn’t always popular on American grocery stores, but it’s a staple in Japan and China, where stir-fry dishes and cooking with very hot oil are both common. Rice bran oil may be the best frying oil because it has a high smoke point, meaning you can heat it up quite a bit before it smokes and burns. It also has a slightly nutty taste such as you get with brown rice, since the oil is extracted from the husk of rice. This makes it a good oil for cooking vegetables and other such foods where you may want a touch of added flavor to your dish, but without overwhelming it. If you can’t find rice bran oil on your supermarket shelves, look for it in a specialty store or even online.
While all of these may be the best cooking oils for your foods, and many have healthy antioxidants and provide your body with the small amount of fat it needs, you don’t want to overdo it when it comes to cooking with oil. Remember that just about all oils, including foods like butter and shortening, are very calorie dense, so it’s easy to pack on the pounds if you use too much, even over a healthy salad or in an otherwise low-cal stir-fry.
Use just enough healthy cooking oil to cook your foods and make them tender, or to coat deep-fried foods, but don’t use oil as a way to add flavor to your foods. If your stir-fry dishes or other foods seem a bit bland even when cooked or coated with oil, it’s good to experiment with seasonings or add lemon, vinegar, and other such flavors rather than add more oil!