Is oil healthy for consumption? That depends on the kind of oil you’re using. Oil is a necessary component in cooking, especially when baking, frying, sautéing or drizzling. Whether you’re making sure food doesn’t stick to the pan or trying to create the perfect salad dressing, choosing the right oil is important.
Oil can also benefit—or harm—your health. Some food-grade oils, like olive oil, have health benefits. They’re considered “healthy fats,” which are part of a balanced diet. Read on to learn more about the healthiest and unhealthiest cooking oils, and how to use them appropriately.
A note about smoke points
The right oil for your cooking project largely depends on what you’re cooking and how. If you’re frying or sautéing, it’s important to pay attention to the smoke point. An oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which it starts burning and smoking. Not only is that unpleasant to smell and taste, but it also affects the nutritional value of the oil. If you’re cooking with olive oil for its health benefits, for example, it’s important that you resist heating it past the smoke point.
Is oil healthy?
The health benefits of oil depend on the type you choose—and not even the experts agree on which is best. Here’s an overview of what kind of oils might be best for you:
- Olive oil: The benefits of olive oil are hard to overstate. Choose an extra virgin (unrefined) olive oil to get the full heart health benefits. Olive oil does have a relatively low smoke point, so it’s not good for deep frying and other high-heat applications. Use it in salads and baking to make the most of its rich flavor.
- Coconut oil: Opinions vary on how healthy coconut oil really is. Like all oils, it should be used in moderation. However, it does have a high smoke point, which makes it good for frying.
- Vegetable oil: Vegetable oil is typically made from a blend of canola, soybean, palm, corn, safflower and sunflower oils, although it can include other plant-based oils. It’s highly processed, which means it doesn’t have any nutritional value.
- Canola oil: Canola oil is made from rapeseed, and has a high smoke point—but it tends to be highly processed, so its nutritional value is minimal.
- Avocado oil: Avocado oil is unrefined, like olive oil, and has a high smoke point. It’s good for high-heat cooking, and can add additional flavor.
- Peanut oil: Peanut oil is another type of oil with a high smoke point, making it great for frying. It has a nutty, flavorful taste that works well with many dishes. However, it will still trigger anyone with a peanut allergy—take care not to cook foods in peanut oil when serving to allergic guests.
When choosing an oil for health and flavor, it’s hard to beat a good quality olive oil. Ready to embrace the benefits of olive oil for yourself, and start your own private label? Reach out to the team at Olivamed LLC today to get started.
Categorized in: Olive Oil Benefits