Your oil of preference is probably linked to where you are from and what you are used to eating. Many of us only have one type of oil in our kitchen and use it for all types of cooking. But why stick to one type when you have so many options? The internet can be a source of knowledge when it comes to cooking delicious and healthy meals. Different oils can be used according to the type of cooking you are doing and the taste you want to achieve. Some oils are healthier than others when cooked in high temperatures while others are better raw.
These are the 3 best oils for cooking
#1 Olive Oil
Olive oil is known for its many health benefits including the prevention of heart disease and cancer. As a powerful antioxidant it prevents blood lipids from oxidizing. Olive oil that is rich in polyphenols (its strongest antioxidant) are also said to improve digestive conditions, bone health, and brain function. By introducing olive oil to your diet you will also reduce bad cholestrol (LDL) and increase good cholestrol (HDL) significantly.
The best type of olive oil is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and you can also check the label for polyphenol levels (higher levels are better) and acidity (lower levels better). Olive oil is best kept in a cool, dry place, and sealed and in such conditions it will last for months.
You can use it raw in a salad or drizzled over cooked veggies, soups, fish and cheeses. Olive oil has a relatively high smoking point (the temperature at which it smokes in a pan and releases harmful free radicals). This makes it also ideal for frying, searing, baking, and even marinading before grilling. Although it also be used for deep frying, we would generally advise against any type of deep frying. If you are looking for ways to introduce it to your daily life we would recommend researching some Mediterranean recipes online and trying them out.
#2 Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has the highest percentage of saturated fats at almost 90%. It is usually solid in room temperature but will turn to liquid as soon as it hits the pan. It is also very rich in a fatty acid called Lauric Acid. Lauric acid when digested form monolaurin which kills bacteria, fungi and viruses as well as lowering bad cholesterol levels.
Coconut oil has the highest smoking point among the oils reviewed here. This makes it the safest when frying at high temperatures as it will release the fewest free radicals and other harmful compounds. You can use it for your stir fries and when browning or sauteing in a pan. Depending on how much you appreciate the flavour of coconut you can opt for a neutral refined oil or a flavorful unrefined oil.
Like olive oil, coconut oil will last for a very long time when stored in a cool and dry spot.
#3 Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is very similar to olive oil in its fatty composition. It has high levels of monounsaturated fats and more importantly levels of saturated fat that are lower than in olive oil. Avocado oil is a powerful weapon against cholesterol, a strong antioxidant and a fighter against heart disease . It is also a good source of vitamin E and Lutein which is a very important nutrient for your eyes. The great thing about it is that if you get a little on your hands you could just rub it in as it is great for your skin.
Its uses are also similar to olive oil. It can be used raw over a salad or a cooked dish, or it can be used for cooking. One of its greatest benefit is its very high smoking point. In fact avocado oil has the highest smoking point of any natural plant oil. This makes it the best oil to fry with. It also has a smoother less pungent taste compared to olive oil.
Like all oils on this list it is best kept in a dark dry and cool place.