Which oils are healthier?
So which oil should I use?
Olive oil is typically the top choice. This is because it contains a lot of monounsaturated fats. It also contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which may be protective against heart attacks and strokes. An added bonus to choosing virgin and extra virgin olive oils is that they have antioxidants that provide further protection by combating free radicals (molecules that can cause damage in the body). Since olive oil is so flavorful (mainly the virgin and extra-virgin varieties), it is best used in foods that require less cooking. For example, on a salad, or drizzled over a finished dish. When olive oil is heated, it can lose its rich flavors. This is why it’s best used at the end of cooking to preserve and display its flavor.
My next choice when it comes to oils is canola oil, a common household cooking oil. Canola oil is the oil with the lowest amount of saturated fats. Like olive oil, it also has a high amount of monounsaturated fats. This makes it one of the more heart-healthy oils and a great choice when replacing solid/saturated fats in your diet.
Unlike canola oil, vegetable oil is often higher in saturated fat and lower in monounsaturated fats. This makes it a less desirable choice than canola or olive oil, but still a better choice than butter or animal fat.
Corn oil has a higher amount of saturated fats and has a smaller amount of monounsaturated fats, which makes it less heart healthy. If you are able, try to choose one of the other three oils listed above.
Remember: Oils are still a fat in the diet. Even though there are heart-healthy varieties, they can still add a lot of calories into your diet. Other foods also add heart-healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, and fish. It is important to include healthier fats in your diet but still in moderation.
Disclaimer: This post provides general nutrition information and should not be used in place of medical advice.