With so many choices available, it can be confusing to select the best cooking oil. You should know the few basic points, which will make the selection much easier. Different cooking oils have varying amounts of fats and temperature ranges. The knowledge of smoke point and fat contents of the oil will enable you to make healthier choices for your family.Usually, the best approach is to have 2 or 3 different types of oils and use them depending on cooking methods and taste. The following article will help you in choosing good and suitable cooking oils.
- Decide on the cooking methods or usages like deep frying, sauteing, salad dressing etc. According to smoke point, shortlist the oils.
- If you need to heat the oil, use refined oil with higher smoke point. Otherwise for direct drizzling, salad dressing, unrefined oil with higher healthy fats is a better option.
- Always read labels. For better health, choose oils that are low in Saturated fat and high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Oil should be free from trans-fat.
- Along with health benefits, Weigh the price of oil. Choosing the expensive oil does not mean you have selected the healthy oil.
Choose oil according to usage
For deep frying, you will need oils with high smoke point and low in saturated fat. Example Avocado oil, Safflower oil, Corn oil, peanut oil, Canola oil, sunflower oil
Sauteing and stir frying:
Any oil with low saturated fat like canola oil, avocado oil, safflower oil, corn oil, Olive oil, walnut oil, peanut oil are good for stir frying.
Salad dressing and direct drizzling:
Any oil, refined or unrefined but low in saturated fats is good.
Choosing Oil according to Fat content:
Every oil contains three types of fats – Saturated fats, Unsaturated fats, Polyunsaturated fats.
Always consider the oil, low in saturated fats. Saturated fats raise the level of bad cholesterol, LDL. Lowering the intake of saturated fat reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity. Coconut oil, palm oil, butter, margarine, lard are the examples of high in saturated fats.
Monounsaturated Fats and polyunsaturated fats:
These two fats lower the level of bad cholesterol and LDL. It contains essential fatty acids like omega-6, omega-3 that are needed in our diet. These important acids may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, obesity. Monounsaturated fats has better effect on our health that polyunsaturated fats as monounsaturated fats also maintain the level of good cholesterol. Oils containing both of these fats are generally good source of vitamin E.
Oils/ fats which should be avoided:
Coconut oil, palm oil, butter, margarine and other fats/ oils with high in saturated fat should be avoided or consumed in limited quantity. Food prepared in these fats will taste amazing, but it will increase the cholesterol level which is very dangerous to heart health.