Cooking oils of all kinds have served as staples in the kitchen for as long as history can recall. These ubiquitous products are used for so many different things, including sautéing, baking, roasting, and grilling.
Not only do cooking oils keep foods from sticking to pots, pans, and grates, but they serve as vital components to all sorts of recipes, from baked goods to dressings, sauces, and marinades.
But today, more than ever, Americans are searching for healthier alternatives to their average cooking ingredients.
Of course, eating more fruits and vegetables is a fantastic place to start, but making small changes such as the cooking oil you use can also dramatically impact your health.
Healthy Cooking Oils
Let’s take a closer look at some healthy cooking oils.
Olive oil is a popular oil choice for many households today. It’s my personal favorite. A natural extract of olives, this oil is what we call a healthy fat.
People around the world try to avoid fat, but so-called healthy fats are critical to our diets.
Olive oil contains mainly a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which is known for reducing inflammation and might even have a beneficial impact on genetic cancers.
In addition, olive oil contains a significant number of antioxidants, can help combat heart disease, and has no impact on weight gain or obesity.
Avocado oil is another cooking oil that has become wildly popular over the last decade or so.
This oil, which comes from the avocado fruit, is jam-packed with excellent nutrients, including vitamins, potassium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and folate.
Like olive oil, avocado oil also maintains a good amount of healthy fats. Adding avocado oil to dishes can help you feel fuller between meals, meaning you are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods.
This heart-healthy oil is excellent not only for things like cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and inflammation, but it’s also great for moisturizing your skin and hair.
When you think of peanut oil, you probably associate it most with deep-fried foods like fried chicken, french fries, and Asian cuisine.
Given that these foods aren’t particularly healthy, you likely consider peanut oil unhealthy as well.
But peanut oil tends to get a bad rep. Although this oil is high in omega-6 fats, which can lead to inflammation and other health issues, it has a lot of health benefits that are important to consider.
For instance, peanut oil contains a lot of vitamin E. This vitamin is excellent at reducing the risk of heart disease and can protect your body against free radicals.
Another commonly used cooking oil is canola oil. Canola oil has the potential to be a healthy addition to your cooking routines, but it’s crucial to know the difference between cold-pressed canola oil and other variants.
Cold-pressed canola oil is the version you want to keep on hand. Most canola oils you can find on the grocery store shelf are chemically extracted and use heat to do so.
Unfortunately, the heat not only impacts the canola’s stability, but it destroys omega-3s and creates trans fats.
Cold-pressed canola oils are low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated fats, just like olive and avocado oils. They may also reduce cholesterol and improve skin and hair health.
Unfortunately, canola is a highly processed food product, which makes finding cold-pressed brands expensive and increasingly difficult to find.
Just as its name suggests, sunflower oil comes from the sunflower plant and is widely regarded as healthy vegetable oil.
Sunflower oil is made of mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which include several different types of acids that are beneficial to your health.
This oil also contains a good amount of vitamin E and may provide benefits such as lowering cholesterol levels, improving skin appearance, and boosting energy levels.
Studies have also shown that sunflower oil may be helpful to those with inflammation.
You can use sunflower oil as a replacement for any other kind of cooking oil. For example, use it in salad dressings, deep frying, as a butter alternative, and in baking recipes.
Most sunflower oils have a neutral taste; however, cold-pressed versions may have a nuttier flavor.
Like sunflower oil, safflower oil gets its name from the plant from which it’s made: the safflower plant.
In some cases, safflower may be healthier than some of the other oils on this list. Its main claim to fame is its level of linoleic acid.
Linoleic acid can help with various heart and circulatory problems and may lower cholesterol.
In this way, safflower is superior to oils such as peanut, corn, and even olive.
Safflower is also one of the more heat-stable oils, making it excellent for cooking and drying. You can also use it as a vegan replacement for butter and a base for dressings.
Healthy Cooking Oils
- Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Canola Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Safflower Oil
When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we have more options today than ever before. Something as simple as cooking oil provides several healthy choices, each with its own set of nutritional benefits.
Keep in mind that no two people are alike, so what works for you may not work for someone else. That’s why it’s essential to research your options before trying something new.
Check out the healthy cooking oils on this list to decide what’s best for your kitchen.
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