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Cooking Oils – How to Choose the Healthiest Oils

Dr. Kristie Leong

Although fats are often given a bad rap, they play an important role in a healthy diet. Without a certain amount of fat in the diet, some fat soluble vitamins may not be well absorbed which can lead to vitamin deficiencies. Although fats play a critical role in health, it’s important to choose the right kinds of fats. It’s equally important to consider what types of cooking oils you’re adding to your foods and recipes. There are so many types of oils available that finding the healthiest cooking oils can be confusing. In general, the healthiest cooking oils are high in monounsaturated fats, high in omega 3 fatty acids, and low in saturated fat. Here are some healthy cooking oils you may want to consider adding to your diet:

Healthiest cooking oils: Olive oil

Olive oil is a tasty oil that’s rich in heart healthy, monounsaturated fats. More and more studies are showing that olive oil plays a beneficial role in protecting against heart disease and may help to prevent certain types of cancer. It’s an excellent oil to use for sautéing over low heat as well as a base for salad dressings. It can also be a good substitute for butter when sprinkled onto vegetables. Most medical experts recommend adding more olive oil to your diet due to its health benefits.

Healthiest cooking oils: Almond oil

This is another oil that’s rich in heart healthy monounsaturated fat. It has a pure, clean aroma and flavor and can be used for sautéing and even higher temperature cooking. It’s also a rich source of vitamin E. Adding this oil to food gives it a faint nutty flavor. This can add an additional subtle flavor element to your dishes.

Healthiest cooking oils: Walnut oil

This light oil has a faint nutty flavor and is a rich source of omega 3’s. It can be used for lower temperature sautéing and pan frying but shouldn’t be used for high temperature cooking since it can lose its flavors at elevated temperatures. This oil isn’t widely used due to its high cost.

Healthiest cooking oils: Flaxseed oil

This oil is rich in omega 3s and has a variety of purported health benefits including positive effects on cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It has a low smoke point so shouldn’t be used in cooking but can be added to foods after they’ve been heated. It’s an excellent oil for creating healthy salad dressings.

If you’re concerned about choosing the healthiest cooking oils for your kitchen, these are four you’ll definitely want to consider.

Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2008-2018. Dr. Kristie Leong is a family practice physician and medical writer. Published with permission.