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Best Oils to Cook with for High Heat

Madeline: Posted 16/05/2016



Do you feel confused when you walk into the cooking oil aisle at the grocery store? There are so many options to choose from, which can make it hard to know the right bottle to choose. Many people make their decision based on price alone, and end up with a low-quality canola oil or something else that is quite harmful to their health.

The goal of this article is to help you choose the right types of oils for your kitchen. Certain kinds of cooking oils hold up better under high heat, so it is essential that you are selective about the oil that you choose. Here’s what you need to know:

Chemical Extraction or Cold Pressed?

If you want the best type of oil to support your health, then you need to consider the source of the oil and the way it was produced. Many companies use chemical solvents to extract the oil from the plant, which creates a toxic ingredient that you are adding to your food. Instead of buying these chemically extracted oils, it is better to find a product created with pressing.

Most mass-marketed oils are created using toxic solvents, like hexane. The solvent is applied to extract the oil, then another harsh treatment is used to get rid of the solvent. Finally, additional chemicals are used, in combination with high heat, to bleach and deodorize the oils. This process leaves the oil without taste and fragrance, and it also removes the nutritional benefits of the oil.

In comparison, “expeller pressed” oils were extracted using a mechanical press without the added chemical solvents. “Cold pressed” is the best thing that you can find on a label, because it means that the pressing occurred without any added heat. When heat is used, it breaks down the compounds within the oil and actually changes the composition of the ingredient.

Since the majority of the products are created with solvents and toxic chemicals, you need to make it a point to proactively read the labels and look for a natural oil.

Stability of Cooking Oil

Another consideration that you need to think about is the stability of the cooking oil when it is used with high heat. If you are sautéing something on the stovetop or adding the oil to a dish that will be put in the oven, then you need to use an oil that is stable so that it won’t oxidize.

The oxidation that occurs within the oils causes free radicals that can be quite dangerous to your health. These harmful compounds are things that you should avoid using if you want to prevent life-threatening diseases such as cancer.

How do you determine the resistance of the oil to oxidation and free radical creation? Look at the fatty acid content of the oil. Double-bonded fats, such as polyunsaturated fats, are very sensitive to heat and they are chemically reactive when heat is applied. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats and saturated fats only have a single bond, which is more stable with heat.

Conventional vs. Organic Oils

Make sure to choose organic oils whenever possible. Conventional oils may have a high concentration of pesticides and other unwanted toxins. When these chemicals are used on the plants during the growing process, they can accumulate during the oil extraction process causing a high concentration of toxins in the processed oil.

Best Types of Cooking Oils

Now that you know more about the oil extraction and the cooking process, it is easy to see why two oils stand out above the rest for cooking: coconut oil and avocado oil. Both of these ingredients are high in fatty acids, so they maintain their stability when used for cooking. Additionally, if you buy a high quality, expeller pressed oil, then they add a great flavor to your meals and they will support your nutrition at the same time.

Coconut oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees, which means that it will stay stable during regular cooking activities. Avocado oil has a smoke point of 510 degrees, so it is perfect for baking, frying, sautéing, and all other types of cooking.

Oil Substitutions in Recipes

Next time you are in the kitchen, remember that you can always make substitutions with the types of oils that are used. Even if the recipe calls for canola oil or vegetable oil, reach for a bottle of coconut oil or avocado oil instead. These ingredients are better for your health, and they will hold up with the heat that is used for the cooking.

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