Cooking Oils You Need to Know and How to Use Them!

Figuring out the healthiest cooking oil can be very confusing.

First, we need to consider…

What are we using it for cooking, frying, salads, or baking?

What is the oil’s smoke point level and its fatty acid healthy balance?

On one hand, you want to cook with an oil that has a high flash (smoke) point, but you also need to use cooking oil that has a healthy balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids–and even better if the oil is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins!

Knowing the smoke point of oils is so important because heating oil to the point where the oil begins to smoke produces toxic fumes and harmful free radicals.

When possible, buy and use organic, unrefined, cold-processed vegetable oils.

For Salads: or to add to cooked foods: use extra virgin olive oil, but not for high-temperature cooking.

For Baking: use virgin coconut oil (high in beneficial saturated fats) for most mid-temperature cooking. However, coconut oil has a smoke point of about 171C / 350F degrees. This means it is not suitable for high-temperature cooking.

For Cooking: at high temperatures, use avocado oil, it has a very high smoke point by comparison to other cooking oils. It will not burn or smoke until it reaches 271C/ 520F, this is ideal for searing meats and frying in a wok.

For Frying: Schnitzel, falafel, or donuts on Chanukah, avocado oil will be your oil. If it’s not available, you might want to choose an oil that is not that healthy from the fat point of view, but yes from the smoke point of view. Peanut oil can stand a high smoke point and not cause the oil to oxidize quickly, which causes body inflammation. Peanut oil may not be the healthiest oil but it is the healthiest choice when it comes to frying if you don’t have avocado oil.

Where it might not be so easy to find Kosher avocado oil in many European countries, and yes, it might be more expensive than others, however, isn’t your health worth the expense?

Good news are that Iherb.com delivers internationally to your door Kosher avocado oil La Tourangelle, Delicate Avocado Oil with StarK hechsher, so might be worth the investment for your health.

To help clarify some confusion with oil usage here is a chart with the basic ones.

 

cooking oil comparison chart

(Source: John Baron)

Cooking Oils / Fats Smoke Point °C Smoke Point °F Omega-6: Omega-3 Ratio
(plus other relevant fat information)
Extra virgin olive oil160°C320°F73% monounsaturated, high in Omega 9
Unrefined walnut oil160°C320°F5:1
Coconut Oil177°C350°F86% healthy saturated, lauric acid (has antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties). Contains 66% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Canola Oil200°C350°FCanola oil 200°C 400°F 2:1, 62% monounsaturated, 32% polyunsaturated
Sesame Oil210°C410°F42:1
Peanut Oil227°C440°F32:1
Sunflower Oil277°C440°F40:1
Palm oil 232°C450°F46:1, mostly saturated and monosaturated
Avocado Oil271°C520°F12:1, 70% monounsaturated, (68% Omega-9 fatty acids)
High in vitamin E.

 FULLY IN BALANCE TIps for cooking:

  • Any oil starts to degrade once it reaches its smoke point. So, if you accidentally let your oil smoke or catch fire, get rid of it and start over.
  • If oil smells bad, don’t use it. When an oil is stored too long it can become oxidized or rancid. It will have a distinct smell, and you should get rid of it.
  • Don’t reuse or reheat any cooking oil.
  • Buy cooking oils in smaller containers to avoid waste, and store them in a dark, cool place to keep them fresh longer.
  • Choose oils with less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon.

We all know that eating fruits, vegetables and whole foods is important for a healthy lifestyle, but how you cook them should not be under estimated.

Healthy fats are  essential to give the body the energy it requires and to support cell growth. Know your fats, know your oils and how to use them to maintain that healthy lifestyle you are seeking.

Happy healthy cooking!

Dalia Brunschwig

Dalia is a Certified Nutrition Health Coach, helping Jewish women lose weight and have a healthier lifestyle with sustainable results taking into consideration the Jewish beautiful traditions and our busy lives. She offers an amazing program Balanced Redefined that empower her clients on how to reach their goals with Dalia’s proven system and her continuous support.