These days, the variety of cooking oil display in the supermarket shelves can be daunting and confusing. Have you ever wonder if you are using the correct cooking oils all these while? You can use this guide when choosing the cooking oil to prepare meals for your loved ones.
Are smoke points important?
One of the most important things to know when choosing cooking oil is what their smoke point is. Smoke point refers to the temperature when smoke starts to become visible. Once it exceeds the smoke point, it begins to produce toxic fumes and harmful free radicals. Different smoke points exist not only to help you with flavours but for different cooking uses.
Refined vs. unrefined oil
They consider oils extracted from olives or nuts with minimal heat processed to be unrefined. Unrefined oils best for drizzling, dressings and lower temperature cooking. On the other hand, refined oils had gone through filtering, bleaching and high-temperature heating. The oil is considered more refined and used for high-temperature methods of cooking like the searing, sautéing, deep-frying and stir-frying.
Does Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio matters?
Omega-3 fatty acids promote healthy cells and decrease stroke and heart attack risk. They are known for their anti-inflammatory action, while Omega-6 fatty acids help to keep cell wall integrity and give energy for the heart. An excessive of Omega 6 can promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and increase inflammation in the body. Lastly, Omega-9 fatty acids lower the risk of a heart attack, arteriosclerosis, and aids in cancer prevention. Hence, cooking oils high in Omega 9 will be a good choice. Otherwise, choose a healthy balance of Omega 3 to Omega-6 fatty acids.
Cooking Oils Comparison Chart
Final Recommendation For Healthiest Cooking Oils:
Whenever possible, buy and use organic, unrefined, cold-processed vegetable oils. For example, use extra virgin olive oil in salad dressing or add to cooked foods. Unrefined walnut oil is good too. The downside is both types are only suitable for low-temperature uses.
You can use virgin coconut oil (high in saturated fats and medium-chain triglycerides) for most mid-temperature cooking and baking. However, coconut oil has a smoke point of about 177°C, which means it is not suitable for high-temperature cooking. Other choices include virgin olive oil and even butter in small amounts.
For high-temperature cooking, I will prefer Avocado oil as it has the highest smoke point. It will not burn or smoke until it reaches 271°C, which is ideal for searing meats and frying in a Wok. Another alternative will be rice bran oil at 254°C.