Recently, one of my friends asked me this: “Hey, what is the best healthy cooking oil?” And I didn’t know what to say because I can’t pick just one. I know many of you may be wondering the same, especially now when we have so many different oils in the market. So, I decided to share one important thing to keep in mind when it comes to healthy oils.
The oils I use most frequently in cooking are olive oil, coconut oil, and macadamia oil. These are all very healthy and nutritious but if you use them properly. So, the thing to consider when choosing a cooking oil is its smoking point. This is actually the moment when the oil is heated to the point when it starts producing smoke. Now, some oils are more sensitive and lose their nutritional benefits when they reach this smoking point, and this is not something you want if you pay attention to health. Let me share you my choices for best healthy cooking oils.
I’m a great fan of olive oil. I just love its flavor. But even though I Iove it so much, I don’t use it every time I cook. If we just take a look at the countries like Greece, Italy or Spain, the countries that consider olive oil an important part of their diet, even these people don’t use it all the time in cooking. Traditionally, it has been used in cooking on low heat, with raw foods, salads, to dip your bread in it if you feel like it…
And an important thing to keep in mind is that olive oil should not be heated to the point when it starts smoking, and its smoking point is actually very low, some 70-100C. So, it is NOT to be used on a BBQ because if you heat it too much, it doesn’t only lose its flavor but its nutritional benefits as well.
I love its flavors so much that I still use olive oil in cooking and frying but only on low heat like when I need to saute onions or other veggies or when frying eggs. If you fry eggs in olive oil on low heat, they just soak that nice olive oil flavor. Try it out!
As opposed to olive oil, coconut oil has a higher smoking point, so you can use it when frying and preparing a variety of dishes, and you don’t have to worry that its nutritional benefits will be altered.
Its smoking point is at around 220C, so if you are thinking about having a barbeque, coconut oil should be your choice. I usually use it for browning like when I prepare hash browns for instance. It is just perfect for the base in a curry or if you want to caramelize onions. For some, its flavor may be too strong, but it actually doesn’t take away anything from the flavors of foods.
Now, if you go to the store to buy coconut oil, you will soon realize how taxing this can be because you will find many varieties. But if you are looking for the best healthy cooking oil, then look for un-deodorised, unbleached, unrefined oil with full flavor aroma. So, just choose organic cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil and you won’t make a mistake.
This lovely oil has the most neutral flavour, so it’s really awesome but a little more expensive. Macadamia oil has a high smoking point like coconut oil, which means it tolerates a lot of heat without going bad.
I make mayonnaise using macadamia and olive oil together because the olive alone is quite strong, and I sometimes use it in dressings as well. Now that I mentioned mayonnaise, do you know how much oil is actually needed to make mayonnaise? If you buy a jar of mayonnaise, 80% of it will be oil. And if you are a mayonnaise lover, well, you should then put in some effort to make homemade mayonnaise with healthy oils.
For mayonnaise, it is better to choose oils with a neutral flavor, and that is why my first choice is always macadamia oil. It is super healthy, it has a high smoking point and is neutral in flavor. As I still love my mayonnaise to have just a hint of olive oil flavour, I add just a bit of it as well. And so you have mayonnaise with the best healthy oils.
My biggest tip is to always look for unrefined, un-deodorized, cold-pressed oils, as they retain more of the natural components. If there is sediment in the bottom, that is a sign of a quality unrefined product.
That’s the GOODNESS.
That’s where the flavour is!
Feel free to share some of your favorite finds below or over on my Facebook Page.
Chef Cynthia xx
Chef Cynthia Louise is an Internationally acclaimed MasterChef, speaker, author, restaurant consultant, teacher and television presenter in wholefood, dairy-free cooking. She also has the worlds first online cooking classes focused on dairy-free plant-based whole foods with recipes that people are raving about and changing people's health, one delicious bite at a time. Chef Cynthia loves nothing more than educating people about the simplicity and vitality of a plant-based, whole foods lifestyle. Each dish is like art on a plate and her flavour combinations nourish the soul and get everyone talking.