Cooking Oils 101: The Naturopathic Kitchen

 

Cooking oil is a staple in every kitchen, and one that is not always given much thought. Did you know that what you don’t know CAN hurt you? Let’s dig deeper and learn more about seven of the most common kitchen oils. Discover how they are made, what they are best used for, and their pros and cons.

Oil
UseHow is it Made?ProsCons
CanolaCandles, soaps, lipsticks, lubricants, inks, biofuels, insecticides and foodProduced from a genetically modified rapeseed plant
Inexpensive cooking oil used for a wide range of industrial uses; improves cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivityOften GMO, hexane solvent extracted
VegetableDeep frying, stir frying, sautéing, baked goods
Can be any of rapeseed, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, or other seed oils
Inexpensive and accessible
High amounts of omega-6 fatty acids may increase inflammation; contains trans fats when hydrogenated
AvocadoHigh-heat cooking, salads, frying

Pressed from the fleshy pulp surrounding the avocado pit
High smoke point, good raw or cooked; benefits skin health, arthritis and heart health
Expensive, not available in all stores or regions
GrapeseedDeep frying, stir frying, sautéing, baked goods
Pressed from the seeds of the grape plant
High smoke-point; neutral flavor; naturally occurring anti-oxidants; cardio-protective properties
High omega-6 content may contribute to inflammation
OliveSalad dressings, condiment, medium-high heat cooking
Pressed from raw olives
One of the healthiest oils, contains high amounts of antioxidants, as well as a high percentage of monounsaturated fats
Can be expensive, especially if organic and extra-virgin
CoconutHigh-heat cooking, baking, cosmetics, sunscreens, desserts
Pressed from the white pulp of the coconut often giving it a pearlescent look when solidified

Great for high-heat cooking due to high saturated fat content, widely available, antimicrobial and antifungal propertiesContains a high percentage of saturated fat, expensive, strong flavor that may not work with all foods
SesameCommon Asian and Indian food cooking oil; flavor-enhancer, as well as some industrial and cosmetic usesPressed or extracted from dehisced sesame seeds
Contains a moderate amount of vitamin K, inexpensive, nutty flavor/aroma, withstands high heat
Low quality products may be extracted with chemical or high heat extraction methods, may be allergenic for some

 

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