Home cooks have a variety of cooking oils to choose from in the kitchen. While most of them have a bad rap, many of these oils boast significant benefits, making them ideal for everyday use in the right amounts. Aside from improving the taste of many dishes, they provide healthy nutrients and vitamins, which aids in keeping your body nourished and performing at its optimum. So, if you’re still looking at which type of oil is suitable for your overall wellness, read on below and discover the different types of cooking oils and health benefits each one offers.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil has long been hailed as one of the healthiest cooking oils to cook with. It contains the highest amounts of omega-o monounsaturated fats, which helps promote better heart health. Adding to that, it has vitamins A, E, D, K, and beta carotene, giving the much needed-nutrition boost. Extra virgin olive oil also contains antioxidants, which help prevent cellular damage, plus hydroxytyrosol and oleocanthal, both natural phenolic chemicals that possess anti-inflammatory properties and absorb harmful free radicals. Just be sure to opt for “extra virgin” olive oil as it is less refined and has the highest quality.
2. Canola Oil
Derived from rapeseed, canola oil is another oil that works great for the cardiovascular system, thanks to its high oleic acid content and decent amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is also rich in plant sterols, plus vitamins E and K, which help keep the skin fight issues and signs of aging, such as blemishes, spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and acne. While it has a neutral taste, canola oil is highly versatile due to its high smoke point. You can reap the benefits it offers by using it in baking, stir-frying, searing, or broiling.
3. Avocado Oil
Avocados are popular, as they taste great when added into guacamole or placed over a toast. Yet, this fruit (yes, it’s technically a fruit) is also used to produce cooking oil through different extraction methods. The resulting avocado oil has numerous health benefits. It is rich in omega-9 fatty acids, which aids in preventing stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. It also reduces bad cholesterol and blood pressure, further improving heart health. Brimming with antioxidants, avocado oil also helps the body fight free radicals and help protect cells from damage. What’s great is that avocado oil is delicious and easy to use. You can drizzle it over a salad, use it in homemade mayo, or add a teaspoon to a smoothie to enjoy its health benefits.
4. Soybean Oil
Soybean oil is another versatile oil used in baking, sauteing, frying, or roasting due to its high smoke point. Yet, it can also work great in sauces, snacks, and dressings. With millions of tons of it produced each year, it ranks as one of the most common oils available. However, it’s mostly advertised as “vegetable cooking oil” or blended with other oils. What makes soybean oil healthy is its high omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids content, which helps lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk for heart problems. In addition, soybean oil also contains a decent amount of vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting and supports bone health.
5. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is extracted from refined sunflower seeds. It is rich in omega-6 fatty acid and phytochemicals, such as phenolic acid and choline, which help promote good cardiovascular health. Meanwhile, sunflower oils also pack antioxidants that help protect the cell membranes and help the body fight off diseases and infections. With a high smoke point, you can use it for deep-frying, stir-frying, or roasting. Adding its neutral taste, it doesn’t overwhelm any dish and can also be used in searing or baking.
6. Peanut Oil
Peanut oil, also called groundnut oil, is derived from plant peanut seeds. It is popularly known for its distinct, slightly nutty taste and smell, which makes it a fun cooking oil in the kitchen, allowing home cooks to explore the flavors of their dishes. Peanut oil also cooks well in medium to high heat, able to withstand high-temperature cooking without burning. Meanwhile, its health benefits include better heart health, lower cholesterol level, and reducing heart disease. Thus, it makes a healthy addition to your diet and excellent cooking oil in your kitchen. Just be sure to check that no one in your home is allergic to peanuts so that you can avoid any severe allergic reaction or emergency situation.
7. Coconut Oil
While there is no doubt about its benefits when used as a part of beauty regimens, using coconut oil as a cooking oil still raises many eyebrows as it contains 90% saturated fat. While half of its saturated fat is composed of MCT (medium-chain fatty acids) that boost good cholesterols in the body, the other half comes from long-chain fatty acids, which simply offsets the benefits. What makes coconut oil advantageous is that it can serve as a vegan substitute for butter. Plus, its MCT content also has antimicrobial properties, allowing it to eliminate some bad bacteria in the stomach. Nevertheless, using coconut oil completely as a cooking oil in your kitchen is still not advised, as you can always opt for healthier alternatives, like extra virgin olive oil.
8. Sesame Oil
Popular in Indian and Asian cuisine, Sesame Oil is among the heart-healthy cooking oil alternatives. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which lower the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and prevent fat build-up in the walls of the arteries that can lead to high-pressure levels. Sesame oil also contains good amounts of vitamin E and phytosterols that help combat free radicals in the body. While it is commonly used in marinades and sauces, it can also be used for high-heat recipes. Just be careful of its strong flavor which can overpower some meals.
You are given the perk of choosing from different types of cooking oils in the kitchen. As a bonus, consider the health benefits each one offers. It doesn’t mean that you need to stick to one. You can always experiment to see which ones can work best in improving your dishes’ flavor and boosting your health. Happy and healthy cooking!