A lot of the time, even when we are eating healthy, we need some oil for shallow frying, to make our food taste better.
So, if you have to sauté onions, garlic and your vegetables, what are the healthiest cooking oils to cook with?
Here are 5 of the Healthiest Cooking Oils we know…
1. Extra-Vrgin Olive
Extra-virgin olive oil has the highest monounsaturated fat content of all the oils—second only to hazelnut. Hazelnut has a smell that will mask your natural food smell plus it is expensive. EVOO is a monounsaturated fat, and offers protection against heart disease. Not only do they help lower total and LDL levels (bad cholesterol), they also help raise HDL blood cholesterol levels, thereby helping to lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. The plus point is that these oils actually help you lose fat around the belly area. Who would have thought that an oil could help u lose fat. You should use olive oil as much as possible, without heating – i.e. as a dressing. If you must heat it, go for light sautéing, or baking. Olive oil is not good for hardcore frying because it creates a lot of smoke when heated. Not to mention a loss of its protective properties.
Canola oil has a high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Just like monounsaturated fats, they lower blood levels of bad and total cholesterol, but don’t raise good cholesterol levels. Canola oil is as good as olive oil if not better. It has a higher smoke point, so it can be used for higher temperature sautéing as well as some frying. Canola oil also has a milder flavor so it can be used in any kind of baking and cooking without altering the natural flavour of your dish.
Flaxseed oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and lignan, which improve cholesterol and may help prevent cancer, especially, it appears, breast cancer. Flaxseed oil is not heat stable, so try not to heat it up at all. Use it as a dressing and add it cold to your dishes after they have been cooked.
Of all oils, walnut oil is among those with the least saturated fat. It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help lower blood triglyceride levels and help raise levels of good cholesterol. They also may help prevent blood from clotting, which in turn lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke. Use Walnut oil in sauces and dressings. Walnut oil can also be used for sautéing and baking. However, it’s a bit on the expensive side.
5. High-Oleic Sunflower
This oil isn’t readily available yet, but I am waiting expectantly to find it on our shelves soon. It has similar health benefits to those of olive oil. High-Oleic Sunflower has a neutral flavor and very high smoke point, and therefore can be used in any kind of baking and cooking, including high-temperature cooking such as searing and browning.