Healthy cooking oils can be an important part of your healthy eating plan. There are many types of oils on the market for baking, frying and using in special dishes. Some oils are high in saturated and trans fat and can lead to high cholesterol, heart problems and obesity. Choose a good oil that adds taste instead of unhealthy fat. Good oils contain monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are good for lowering cholesterol and preventing health problems. Read nutrition labels carefully to make sure you're getting the good fats instead of the bad. Here are eight healthy cooking oils and a guide on how to use them:
Olive oil comes in several varieties and is high in monounsaturated fats. There's extra virgin, extra light virgin, virgin and pure olive oils. Each variety offers the same great taste and health benefits. Extra virgin olive oils help lower cholesterol levels and increase the good cholesterol. Olive oil is perfect for cooking light meals and is widely used in a number of Italian and Spanish dishes. Use olive oil instead of butter or vegetable oils when cooking chicken dishes or stir-frying vegetables. It's also great for flavoring soups and baking fish.
Canola oil is great for frying, stir-frying, baking and grilling. Use it to replace butter, margarine or vegetable oil. It's low in saturated fats and adds great flavor to almost any dish.
Using sunflower oil is another good way of cooking smart and getting healthy. It's high in the good oils and is excellent for baking and frying.
Peanut oil is used in Asian cooking to add great flavor to a number of dishes. It's light and easy to cook with. Peanut oil is a good way to fry meats because of its high smoke point. A smoke point is the temperature at which an oil will begin to burn.
Corn oil is excellent for frying foods and has several key health benefits. It's high in vitamin E and polyunsaturated fat. Use it to make your own healthy homemade potato chips.
Safflower oil is great for just about everything. It's used to add flavor to salads and eggs and can be used for baking and frying. This oil is high in omega-6, a healthy fat that can be found in fish.
Sesame oil is used in Asian cooking and has a distinct nutty taste that adds flavor to a number of dishes. Use it to stir-fry vegetables, beef and chicken. Health benefits include: magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, and vitamins B6 and E.
Grapeseed oil is similar to olive oil. It can be used to lightly fry meats because of its high smoke point (which is higher than olive oil). It can also help lower cholesterol.