The Healthiest Cooking Oils

Healthy Cooking Tips, Healthy Recipes and Nutrition, Nutrition
on August 19, 2011
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Eating healthy is not just a fashionable trend — it’s a crucial lifestyle choice. Finding the right ingredients full of nutritious health benefits can be tricky, especially when it comes to cooking with oils. Not to worry, the work has been done for you. Check out this selection of the healthiest cooking oils and why they’re good for you.

Extra virgin olive oil is a superstar in the kitchen. This oil contains monounsaturated fat and is touted by the Mayo Clinic as having a broad reach of health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil may lower your total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, normalize blood clotting and aiding in blood sugar control. While all fats should be used with moderation, feel confident in using olive oil whenever appropriate.

When it comes to healthy oils, sunflower oil shines brightly. At almost 80 percent monounsaturated fat, sunflower oil is one of the best choices in cooking oil. Mild in flavor and high in vitamin A, the high-oleic type is also stable under heat. This means it can be used in higher temperature cooking and will not burn as quickly as olive oil.

Safflower oil blossoms with benefits. Pressing the seeds of the safflower plant and extracting the resulting oils provides a healthy fat full of linoleic acid. Safflower oil may hold extra health benefits for women, too. In a study published by the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease by adding less than 2 teaspoons of safflower oil to their daily caloric intake. They also had less belly fat and more muscle. The study further suggested that insulin sensitivity and HDL cholesterol was increased while C-reactive protein levels were decreased — potentially lowering the risk of heart attack.

Boutiques aren’t just for fashion. Rare and unusual boutique oils provide many health benefits but could cost you a pretty penny. If you’re looking to get creative and try something new and full of flavor, try these healthy designer oils. Walnut, macadamia, hazelnut, hemp and almond oils all contain omega-3 fatty acids and are high in polyunsaturated fats. Some of them have unusual and distinctive flavors and must be stored in the refrigerator for longest life. Read all labels and avoid unnecessary additives.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the healthiest choices when looking for cooking oil. Be sure to select oils that remain liquid at room temperature as a basic guide. If you stick with the oils recommended here, you will be assured that you are cooking with the healthiest cooking oils possible.