Demystifying Cooking with Oils


What are the healthy oils to use and how do you cook with them? Let’s demystify the oil puzzle and maze. Have you gotten confused about which oils are best to cook with or make salad dressings with? Hopefully this will help clarify.

Types of oils:

Saturated Fats –i.e. butter, coconut oil, palm oil

  • Solid at room temperature
  • Stable with high smoke point greater than 400F so good for cooking
  • Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides(MCT) shown to help with digestion, absorption issues and can benefit the immune system

Monounsaturated Fats– olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, canola oil, rapeseed oil

  • Is liquid at room temperature and goes solid with refrigeration
  • Generally has a lower smoke point around 350F
  • Refined canola oil, walnut oil, and peanut oil have smoke point to 425F
  • Refined almond oil, almond oil, palm fruit oil, sunflower oil , sesame oil, safflower oil have smoke point to 500F

Polyunsaturated Fats– vegetable oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil, grape seed oil, cottonseed oil, flax oil

  • Liquid in form when cold or room temperature
  • Less stable with heat meaning the fats break down and produce free radicals
  • Smoke point to 400F
  • Safflower or Sunflower oil smokes around 225F- if these oils are refined then the smoke point increases to 350F
  • EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil) has smoke point up to 405F
  • Refined canola oil

So the story goes like this. If you eat whole foods with fats such as seeds, nuts, salmon, the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 occur in a 1:1 or 1:3 ratio.  Those healthy fats are important in a diet. It’s best to stick with EVOO for salad dressings, organic, unrefined coconut oils for cooking.  Oils that are refined just means they are more processed and not necessarily better but can withstand higher temperatures.

If you want oils for salad dressings, use the more delicate, lower smoke point oils. If you are cooking with oils, use an oleic version of sunflower or safflower oil or even the saturated coconut oil. The best oils are cold pressed which means less heat was used to press the oils.


There you have a bit of information about oils!

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