New Superfood Oils or All-Time Favorites: Which Oils are Best for Cooking?
General good health is the best personal asset anyone has. And once you’ve been sick and recovered, you know how important it is to maintain your good health. So, with summer and grill season approaching, it's worth mentioning that cooking and sautéing with nutritious oils is a must for every healthy lifestyle. There are several things to consider, but nutrition, smoke point and taste are the some of the most important ones. Here is a list of some oils that do well at higher temperatures.
Best Healthy Oils for Cooking
In general, avocados are excellent sources of beta-carotene, glutathione, lutein, and omega-3, and the oil pressed from the green flesh (not the seed!) has these same properties. Some say it helps reduce heart disease too. Avocado oil is a food oil as well as cooking oil, so use it for salad dressings, cooking and even baking. With a high smoking temperature (about 250 °C), feel free to fry or sauté dishes with healthy meats and veggies.
This oil is having a rebirth from the increased demands for flavorful, ethnic foods and is one of the most unique oils around. It has a distinct taste which can be used for cooking, added to sauces, soups, stews, curries and more. It is a secret ingredient in baking and tastes amazing in recipes which use chocolate. And a teaspoon in your coffee can be a creamy, nutty alternative to milk. The smoke point is relatively high (175 °C), so it is suitable for many types of hot dishes.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO):
Arguably the jewel of the food oils, this aromatic oil is pressed from the whole olive. It is very versatile in color and flavor. It may have buttery, spicy, fruity, or grassy notes, depending on where it’s been harvested. Because of its long tradition in regions of Italy, Greece and Spain, EVOO enjoys a popular reputation among chefs and everyday cooks. The lower smoke point (about 200 ˚C) means it's not great for high temperature recipes, but it's ideal when coupled with vinegar or citrus fruits on salads or drizzled over steamed veggies or whole-grain breads.
Red Palm Oil:
Although less common, this oil has a high ratio of “good fats,” and can be compared to olive oil regarding its health benefits. Known for a slight buttery or carrot-like flavor, this oil is best when used to prepare grains, muffins, spreads, smoothies and fish.
Other Healthy Oils
Some oils, although they have other nutritional properties, may not be the best for cooking due to relatively low smoke points and because their healthy properties easily break down when exposed to light, air and heat. Avoid cooking with the following oils: evening primrose, grapeseed, flaxseed, hemp, and most nut-derived oils. These oils may be good dietary supplements, and even taste good in salad dressings, but not recommended for cooking temperatures. Best to consume these at room temperature.
Check the labels carefully when selecting oils for heated dishes. Also pay attention to how these oils are refined. Many refined oils may be processed chemically, so look for organic options or brands that used more natural ways to refine them.