My Top 5 Favorite Natural Oils to Cook With!

Authors Note:  I have my B.S. degree in kinesiology with a emphasis in exercise science and health promotion. The following are the best oils that I have found to cook with based on the current literature and my own personal experience. 

The best cooking oils for healthy eating is often misunderstood. We might intuitively think that vegetable oils, extra virgin olive oils, etc. are the best for  healthy cooking, but this is oftentimes not the case, especially when it comes to high-heat cooking. Although many vegetable oils might seem like the right choice, under high heat the molecular characteristics of these oils change, turning an otherwise healthy form of unsaturated fats. omega-3 fatty acids, etc  into a very unhealthy and even carcinogenic ingredient. 

3.  Ghee Clarified Butter:  This is such a great product to cook with. Not only is it yummy, but it's smoke point is fairly impressive (over 400 degrees Fahrenheit), meaning when you are cooking your favorite veggies, you aren't going to be adding any unnecessary carcinogens to your food. When it comes to brands, I particularly like Organic Valley Purity Farms. This is sold at many health food stores and many online stores such as iHerb.com.

2.  Coconut oil: While Coconut oil doesn't have the high smoke point (only about 350 degrees Fahrenheit) out of the oils in this bunch, it is super tasty. I typically reserve coconut oil for times when I am baking and I can control the heat to a level under 350 degrees.  For example, for all of my Christmas cooking I use coconut oil they, turn out yummy. Because of coconut oil's relatively low smoke point, however, I do not recommend this oil for frying foods like chicken, dumplings, etc. where high heat is needed.  One of my favorite Coconut oil brands is Jarrow Formulas non-extra virgin olive oil

3.  Refined Olive Oil: The more virgin you go with olive oil the less stability it has under high levels of heat. With that being the case, I always go with just a refined olive oil. Refined olive oil has a smoke point of around 440 degrees Fahrenheit, so it can be used to fry virtually anything in without its molecular structure changing. Plus, it's still super yummy and consists of mostly very healthy polyunsaturated fats. Unfortunately it's becoming harder and harder to find non-virgin olive oil. If all you can find on the market is extra virgin olive oil, I highly suggest using it for cooking situations where you won't be cooking over 350 degrees.  

4. Peanut Oil:  Peanut oil isn't just yummy, it's has a super high smoke point (approx. 450 degrees Fahrenheit) making this oil suitable for frying just about anything. It's also relatively inexpensive, being about $9 bucks for a 16 oz. bottle and filled with healthy omega-6 fatty acids.

5.  Safflower Oil: This is by far my favorite oil for cooking at high heat. It is so incredibly stable, being able to avoid molecular change up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit!  Additionally it's super yummy and filled with omega-6 fatty acids. The price is typically a bit cheaper than peanut oil being about $7 for a 16 oz bottle but well worth the price.



-Happy Cooking!

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