The Low Down on Cooking Oils

Cooking oils play a large role in cooking and making meals. They are used in a variety of different dishes, and are used in many different ways. They can make cooking more convenient, and can add flavor. Some oils, however, are better to use, and healthier for you than others. Oils are a fat source in our diet, and some oils provide healthier fat sources than others, so it’s important to understand the difference between different oils so that you can make the best choice for your meals, lifestyle, and health.

Types of Cooking Oils

There are many cooking oils on the market, so which ones are best to use in your meals? Keep reading on to learn more about healthy fats, and our favorite oils to use!

Healthy fats that we want to be consuming include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (link to source). Polyunsaturated fats are mostly found in fatty fish and other meat, poultry, and eggs. Pairing these foods with the correct cooking oils can create a balanced meal filled with plenty of healthy fats. Monounsaturated fats are found in olives, avocados, and nuts. This is why we recommend using olive oil or avocado oil for your cooking needs. Using spray oils can be a great way to incorporate these healthy fats as well. We don’t recommend other oils, such as vegetable oil, because these oils are pro-inflammatory.

Health Benefits of Proper Cooking Oils

Replacing olive oil or avocado oil for other fat sources, such as butter, can have many health benefits. For example, both olive and avocado oil have been proven to lower our “bad” (LDL) cholesterol in our bodies, and raise our “good” (HDL) cholesterol (link). They also are a good source of many vitamins like A,D,E, and K, and can act as an antioxidant to prevent damage to our cells (link). Using these oils can help reduce the risk of disease such as certain cancers and heart disease.

Incorporating Oils 

Both olive and avocado oil are very versatile, as they can be used in all aspects of cooking.  We suggest using them to sauté meats, roast vegetables, or to use as a base for salad dressings. Olive oil can even be used in baking! 

Avocado oil can be used to deep fry if desired due to its high smoke point, but remember this will make the meal much more calorie dense due to the large amount of oil used. 

Olive OilAvocado Oil
CholesterolContains no cholesterolContains monounsaturated fatty acidsContains no cholesterolContains monounsaturated fatty acids
Antioxidants High amount of Vitamin ENegligible Vitamin E
TasteSmooth, buttery taste that adds flavor to your food No distinguishable tase
Smoke Point320°F520°F (won’t burn as easily!)
UsesSalad dressings, sautéing or roasting meats & vegetables, marinades, dips, baking.Salad dressings, sautéing or roasting meats & vegetables, marinades, dips, deep frying. 

If you have more questions regarding cooking oils or how to use them, click here to schedule a call with Alli!

This article was written by Emma Bulan, nutrition intern. Fact checked by Allison Tallman RD.

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