If you’ve been to the grocery store, no doubt you’ve been inundated with the number of cooking oils on the shelves. Gone are the days when one would reach for the olive oil or canola oil and call it a day. From coconut oil to avocado oil to grape-seed oil, there seems to be a new oil to try out each week. But which oils are the healthiest? And which oils are the best to cook with?
Before you choose an oil, there are a few things to consider. For starters, you’ll want to look at the oil’s smoke point, which is the point at which an oil begins to smoke and become ineffective. Most oils with a high smoke point (above 375 degrees F) are more refined because refining removes impurities and free fatty acids that can cause the oil to smoke. Oils with high smoke points are best used for cooking food at high temperatures, like frying and baking. For sautéing and searing, you’ll want to use an oil that has more flavor and a lower smoke point.
When choosing the right oil for your needs, you’ll also want to consider the oil’s health benefits; though some fats are considered “healthy” now, not all fats are created equal. “There has been so much controversy around fats, which ones are good… and even are they good at all?” Dr. Dawn DeSylvia tells SheKnows, adding that it’s important to consult with a certified practitioner or consultant if you have any questions about your health.
But to make sure you understand everything your doctor or nutritionist is telling you, here’s an inside look at several different cooking oils and the health benefits (or risks) of each.