The cooking oil you use can make or break your dish. But it’s not just the flavor you need to worry about. Some cooking oils are harmful to your health.
The oils used to make fried chicken and French fries, for example, often contain “hydrogenated” oils which increase your risk of…
- heart attack,
- and cancer.
Other cooking oil contain disease-linked trans fats or too much omega-6s.
So you’re probably wondering, “What is the healthiest cooking oil then?
I’ll get to that in just a moment, but first let’s take a look at the un-healthy ones.
4 unhealthy cooking oils to avoid
Not all oils are created equal. In fact some can be harmful to your health. Following are four oils you should try to avoid.
Unhealthy Oil #1: Canola or rapeseed oil
Since it’s a “vegetable” oil—and vegetables are good for you, right?—many folks think that canola oil is the healthiest oil. It’s an understandable mistake since we’ve been told to avoid saturated fats. And like olive oil, canola oil is high in monounsaturated fat.
But here’s the truth. Hexane, a chemical solvent, with potentially troubling side effects is used to extract canola oil from the rapeseeds. It’s then heated, bleached and deodorized to remove any unpleasant smell. But that process can remove some healthy omega-3’s too, knocking off the omega-3 and omega-6 balance.
Unless you’re using an organic version you can bet pesticides were used on the crop your oil was extracted from. And canola oil, like other vegetable oils, has diseased-linked trans fats in it.
Unhealthy Oil #2: Margarine
This is a man-made chemical, do I need to say anything else?
Okay, well how about the fact that many margarines contain unhealthy levels of trans fats.
Unhealthy Oil #3: Corn oil
It’s hard to find a non GMO version of corn oil. Rest assured if it doesn’t specifically say “organic” you have a GMO product on your hand.
Plus like most vegetable oils corn oil is likely to be bleached. Corn oil is high in inflammatory omega-6s and it increases “oxidized” or bad cholesterol.
Unhealthy Oil #4: Soybean oil
This is another oil that’s heavily refined and more often than not genetically modified (GMO). Many folks are surprised to learn that soy plants are somewhat toxic to humans.
Soybean oil, milk and tofu contains a lectin called PHG, short for phytohemagglutinin. PHG may interfere with digestion, affect memory and make your blood cells stick together (think clot).
Soybean oils are typically high in inflammation-linked omega-6. Read your supplement bottles, soybean oil is sometimes used in dietary supplements.
Okay, now for the healthy oils.
Want the healthiest cooking oil? Take your pick from this list of 6
No matter what dish your making you’ll find a suitable oil in this group to do the job.
What’s the healthiest oil? They’re all good choices, and it depends on the dish. Experiment and see what works best for you…
Healthy oil #1: Olive oil
Olive oil is an excellent source of antioxidants, polyphenols and essential fatty acids.
It’s high in monounsaturated fat and supports cardiovascular health and blood pressure. Looks for an organic, extra-virgin and cold-pressed brand.
Healthy oil #2: Coconut oil
Make sure you choose organic, unheated, unrefined, virgin coconut oil which is healthy both raw or baked. Avoid “hydrogenated coconut oil” which is man-made and contains harmful trans fats.
Don’t use super high heat when cooking with coconut oil. This oil is high in good-for you monounsaturated fats, anti-inflammatory and may even help improve your cholesterol naturally.
Healthy oil #3: Almond oil
Almond oil is a natural source of vitamin E and is rich in monounsaturated fat.
Almond oil goes rancid easily so always store it in a dark cabinet.
Healthy oil #4: Hemp oil
Unrefined hemp oil has a good amount of Gamma Linolenic acid (GLA) which is considered a healthy omega 6 that may relieve PMS and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. But unlike some other oils that are heated and bleached unrefined hemp oil also retains a healthy supply of omega-3 fatty acids as well, making it a well-balanced healthy oil.
Healthy oil #5: Flax oil
Flax oil is deliciously light oil that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. However it’s a fragile oil so it shouldn’t be heated. Instead use flax oil in cold diches and recipes such as in salad dressings
Always keep your flax oil refrigerated and don’t overuse this oil as too much may suppress iodine absorption (goitrogenic). A little oil on your salad should be fine though.
Healthy oil #6: Tea seed oil
Tea seed oil is one of my favorite oils because it has a high smoke point and you can use it at high temperatures. The flavor is mild and it contains disease fighting antioxidants such as vitamin E.
Teas seed oil has a nice healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
NOTE: Don’t confuse tea seed oil with the essential oil “tea tree oil” which cannot be ingested. Tea SEED oil is made from the Camellia oleifera plant, which is related to the tea we drink.
In addition to writing a syndicated column on health which reaches 20 million people each week, Suzy is the author of a number of books on natural health.
You may have seen Suzy on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health and hundreds of morning shows. Quotes from Suzy, as well as her articles, have also appeared in major publications including Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, OK Magazine!, First for Women, Fitness, Natural Health and Better Homes & Garden and dozens more.
Read more from Suzy at suzyCohen.com
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