Top 7 Best Cooking Oils – and Which Ones You Should Avoid

Top 7 Best Cooking Oils – and Which Ones You Should Avoid

07.01.2022 Off By manager_1

green vegetable on stainless steel round plate

It can be difficult to choose a cooking oil, especially when there are so many options available. Even though you may already have olive oil in your home, it is worth changing things up from time to time. Different cooking oils have different flavor profiles and purposes, so changing your preferred cooking oil from time to time can make your food (yes even baked goods!) more delicious and healthier.

We consulted dietitians and nutritionists to find the best cooking oils for you. It’s essential to learn about the fats in food, including how the oil is used to fry eggs or saute vegetables.

“Fats found in food are made up of a mixture of fatty acids. These fatty acids can be either saturated or unsaturated.” Square Fare’s head registered dietitian Andrea Canada says that research has shown that replacing saturated fat sources with unsaturated fats can reduce the risk of developing heart disease. “Unsaturated fats, which are liquid at room temperatures, come from foods like avocados, nuts, vegetables and poultry. Saturated fats are found in red meats, cream/butter and coconut oil. They can also be found in palm oil and other oils.

Canada says that unsaturated oils are better choices for cooking oil because they can withstand high temperatures.

Want to find out more about these healthier choices? Continue reading to learn more about the best cooking oils.

The Healthiest Cooking Oils

“Healthy cooking oils can be used for more than just healthy cooking. They can be used in baking and frying, and can make your food taste more delicious,” states Ronald Smith, a Colorado-based RD. These oils are high in essential vitamins, and have higher levels of monounsaturated oil which is a good source for protein.

  • Extra virgin olive oil

Oil, like many processed foods can be chemically altered or refined to produce many different varieties. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), is obtained from olives using mechanical methods that don’t alter the oil. The flavor, vitamins, minerals, and phenolic compounds found in olives are retained better in the golden-green oil. “Olive oil has been called one of the most valuable oils. Liz Cook, RD, says that olive oil is rich in antioxidants. Extra-virgin olive oils were even compared to ibuprofen in terms of their anti-inflammatory properties. The results were strikingly similar. It is best to keep olive oil below 350 degrees. This is the smoke point. The temperature at which oils start to degrade and release harmful compounds is called the smoke point.

Smoke Point: 325-350 deg F. It can be used to saute or make sauces and other dressings.

  • Avocado oil

Avocado oil is similar to olive oil. It’s rich in oleic Acid, a monounsaturated Omega-9 fatty acid and antioxidants. Avocado oil contains a high amount of the “good for you” type fat (monounsaturated oils), which can help to increase meal satisfaction when it is incorporated into balanced meals or snacks with other food. Rachel Fine, a RD and owner at To The Pointe Nutrition, says avocado oil has a similar ratio of monounsaturated to polyunsaturated oils as olive oil. “Oleic acid, the predominant fatty acid in avocado oil, is believed to have cardiovascular benefits. Avocado oil can be eaten with a meal to increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin A.

Smoke Point: 520 deg F. It can be used for all types of high-heat cooking.

  • Almond oil

Almond oil contains many nutrients such as vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acid, magnesium, copper, and vitamin E. A 2021 study found that almond oil is rich in antioxidants and offers many nutritional benefits. Almond oil has been shown to improve heart health, stabilize blood sugar levels, lower oxidative stress and promote neuroprotection which protects the nervous system against injury and damage. Almond oil, which is rich in antioxidants, can also reduce skin damage when used topically.

Smoke Point: 420°F. Use it for roasting or sauteing.

  • Sesame oil

The taste and aroma of sesame oil is unique, especially when you purchase toasted sesame oils. This oil can be used to flavor stir-fries and roasted vegetables as well as sauces and dressings. Mehak Naem, RDN, at The Canada Diet, shares that this oil is not only heart-healthy but also protects against neurological disorders like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Osaka City University conducted a study that showed that the chemical compound found in sesame seeds reduces neuronal damage-causing dopamine. This can help prevent neurodegenerative disorders.

This flavorful cooking oil is not only delicious! Sesame oil contains antioxidants that improve overall health and is heart-healthy. Cook says that sesame oil can help with blood sugar management, especially in people with type 2 diabetes.” “Sesame oil has a smoke point of about 410 degrees. This makes it suitable to be used in many cooking techniques.”

Smoke Point: 410-450degF. It can be used for roasting or sauteing.

  • Safflower oil

Safflower oil can be controversial, but it has some health benefits and can be used in moderation. Naem notes that this oil is rich in heart-healthy fats, and it also regulates blood sugar levels. Ohio State University conducted a study that found that safflower oil can be used for 16 weeks to improve your overall health. It increases HDL cholesterol and insulin sensitivity.

Safflower oil has virtually no taste and can be refrigerated to keep it liquid. It is therefore great for salad dressings or other cold dishes. Because of its high smoke point, it is suitable for high heat cooking.

Smoke Point: 440-520 deg F. It can be used for cold preparations as well as roasting and sauteing.

  • Flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil is an excellent source of essential fat acids for vegetarians. High intakes of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acids (found in flaxseed oils) have been shown to reduce blood pressure and lipid profile in people with high cholesterol. Flaxseed oil is heat-sensitive and should be kept at room temperature as it is high in monounsaturated oils. Flaxseed oil is not suitable for cooking because of its low smoke point. Flaxseed oil can quickly spoil so keep it in a dark container in the fridge.

Flaxseed oil can be used for cooking, but it is not suitable for roasting. Flaxseed oil is great for salad dressings and drizzling, thanks to its nutty flavor,” Nataly Komova (RD), nutritionist for JustCBD.

Smoke Point: 200-225 deg F. Use it as a drizzle on dishes and in salad dressings

  • Walnut oil

Smith says walnut oil can be used as a finishing ingredient to add flavor and color to finished foods. Walnut oil can be purchased raw or semi-refined. This means that it has more naturally occurring minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients include unsaturated fat acids and plant compounds called polyphenols.

A 2010 study found that walnut oil can stimulate skin growth and combat inflammation. It also helps with wound healing. A 2013 study that included 15 obese adults with moderately high cholesterol levels found that walnut oil significantly improved blood vessel function. This can lead to lower blood pressure. Evidence also suggests that walnut oil can help reduce inflammation and blood sugar control. It may also reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancers.

Smith points out that walnut oil can be difficult to use and not suitable for high heat cooking, as it is usually sold semi-refined or raw. He suggests adding walnut oil to pasta recipes, and then finishing it off with a salad or squash-based soup.

Smoke Point: 300-350 deg F. Use it as a drizzle on dishes and in salad dressings

Unhealthiest cooking oils

Certain cooking oils have many nutrients that can help improve heart health and combat inflammation. However, some oils can cause damage to the body if used frequently. It is important to keep in mind that not all cooking oil are the same. Some oils can cause inflammation and damage to your body, which is why some oils are not recommended for use. Avoid vegetable oils, especially. Scroll down to learn which cooking oils should be replaced immediately.

  • Canola oil

“Canola oil is a controversial cooking oil that can be harmful to your health. Cook shares three points of disagreement about canola oil: it is mostly made from genetically modified crops and requires a chemical called Hexane to be processed. It also contains very little trans fats. Cook shares that even small amounts of trans fats can be beneficial for your health from the perspective of a dietitian.

She says “While I don’t think canola oil is the worst oil you could eat, I would choose a healthier oil such as olive, avocado, or sesame if it was available.”

  • Soybean oil

Naeem also doesn’t like canola oil but has similar views about soybean oil. He shares that soybean oil is best avoided as it contains unstable fats, which can destroy the nutritional value and taste of your food. It also has a low smoke point which can easily cause food to burn.

  • Palm oil

Palm oil is often used to replace even more unhealthy trans-fats (which are now banned by FDA). Canada advises against coconut oil because it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

  • Coconut oil

Some registered dietitians love coconut oil. However, most RDs that we spoke to advised against its regular use. I don’t recommend oils that remain solid at room temperature. These oils include tropical oils like coconut oil,” says Keith-Thomas Ayoob EdD, RD. FAND, an associate clinical professor emeritus of Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics. The study showed that coconut oil has a high level of saturated fat, and it raises LDL-cholesterol. It is more saturated than lard. It is loved by some chefs, but I do not recommend it.

  • Sunflower oil

“Oils rich in polyunsaturated fat acids (PUFAs), are usually unstable when heated. These oils should not be used for frying. These oils include sunflower oil, corn oil, grapeseed, rapeseed, and corn oil.” Ellie Busby is a registered nutritionist and founder at Vojo Health. Sunflower oil is the worst oil to fry with and contains more toxic compounds than rapeseed oil after it has been fried.

  • Corn oil

Gabriel warns against the use of corn oil, in addition to the “bad” vegetable oils. Many people believe that these oils are made of real vegetable oils, but they come from genetically modified crops and have high levels of omega-6 fatty acid which can contribute to chronic inflammation. This could lead to health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Isa Kujawski MPH, RDN, founder and owner Mea Nutrition, adds that “Most vegetable oils undergo heavy processing at high temperatures which destroy beneficial bioactive substances and lead to structural changes in the body that may promote free radicals production.”