The Healthiest Cooking Oil: My Top 5
In no particular order, here are five contenders for the 'healthiest cooking oil' title.
I use these different oils depending on the situation, and they are all delicious as well as healthy.
All nutrition data is based on a per 100g basis and sourced from the USDA.
Saturated Fat: 12g Monounsaturated Fat: 71g Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g
- High in beneficial antioxidants such as proanthocyanidins and carotenoids. These compounds support our overall body health and help with everything from eyesight to cardiovascular health (29, 30).
- While not a saturated fat, avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols; this gives it excellent resistance to high-heat cooking (31).
- Various studies show that avocado oil protects against oxidative stress (32, 33).
- Avocado oil has a neutral taste, so it's a great choice for many dishes (such as homemade mayo).
- The price: if it were not so expensive, then avocado oil might be the perfect oil. Because of its high cost, I favour olive oil.
Saturated Fat: 87g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.8g
- Coconut oil is 87% saturated fat, and this makes it very heat stable, so it's the healthiest oil for cooking (34, 35).
- Lauric acid is one of the primary fatty acids in coconut oil. Notably, lauric acid has antimicrobial properties and can protect the body against infection, bacteria, and other dangerous pathogens (36).
- Some people find that coconut oil gives their food a coconutty taste and prefer a blander flavor. However, others (including myself) don't notice this.
Saturated Fat: 51.4g Monounsaturated Fat: 21g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g
- For me, it's the best-tasting fat in the world. Imagine butter but with a deeper, richer, and creamier flavour. It tastes delicious in these keto crepes.
- Ghee doesn't contain any lactose (dairy sugars) or proteins - it's pure fat. As a result, it is much less prone to burning than butter.
- Ghee provides a source of conjugated linoleic acid and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K. All of these compounds are essential for good health. Grass-fed ghee especially has these nutrients in greater qualities. (37, 38)
- The price: due to the extra time requirements, ghee is much more expensive than butter.
Extra virgin olive oil
Saturated Fat: 14g Monounsaturated Fat: 73g Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g
- A wealth of studies shows that olive oil is protective of the cardiovascular system (39, 40, 41).
- Similar to avocado oil, olive oil comes packed with health-protective polyphenols (42).
- Despite various myths that extra virgin olive oil is not suitable for heating, it's one of the most heat-stable oils (43, 44).
- It gives food a great flavour.
- Be careful to choose a reputable olive oil brand. It's rather shocking, but some dodgy manufacturers cut some olive oils with cheaper vegetable oils to increase profits (45, 46).
Saturated Fat: 27g Monounsaturated Fat: 35g Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g
- Do you know the fat in olive oil that everyone calls "heart healthy"? Well, the name is oleic acid - and it's also the primary fatty acid in lard (47, 48).
- It gives food an incredible taste.
- Lard is full of beneficial fat-soluble vitamins and omega-3; again, these amounts are higher in lard from grass-fed animals.
- Saturated fat and monounsaturated fat are the main constituents of lard. Therefore, it is resistant to oxidation at high-heat temperatures.
- It can be difficult to find, depending on where you live.
While cooking oils from natural sources are healthy, the opposite is true for industrial vegetable oils.
Along with sugar and refined carbohydrate, these vegetable oils are some of the worst things you can possibly eat.
It's also worth remembering that high heat cooking is not the healthiest cooking method. But when you do cook at high heat, using the fats in this article will make the food that much healthier.
Additionally, you can make all foods even more resistant to oxidation by using herbs such as rosemary and turmeric.
To sum up, the most important point to remember is to opt for a natural fat that contains predominantly saturated or monounsaturated fatty acids.
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