There are many different types of oils out there, and many people don't realise that some are better suited for certain cooking methods than others. Today, I am focusing on some of the more common or ‘healthier’ oils and highlighting some of the pros and cons of each:
- OIive oil is considered as a ‘heart healthy’ oil as it helps to raise good (HDL) cholesterol and lower (LDL) bad cholesterol.
- This type of oil is best suited to cold dishes and salad dressings as it doesn’t do too well being cooked over a high heat. My favourite salad dressing in the world is extra virgin olive oil mixed with lemon juice OR balsamic vinegar. I am of Greek heritage and this is very traditional.
- If you are unsure which type of olive oil to buy, I would recommend extra virgin olive oil as it has a higher amount of antioxidants and I think it tastes better too.
- Olive oil can go rancid (‘off’) quite easily so it is best to store in a cool, dark place.
- As I mentioned previously, this oil is not suited for high temperature cooking as it breaks down when heated at high temperatures, which creates unhealthy trans fats. If you plan to cook with olive oil, I recommend using it only at a low heat.
- This is one of my favourite oils, but not necessarily just for food. Coconut oil is also a great moisturiser and hair treatment!
- Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is a special type of fatty acid believed to improve cholesterol.
- It is great in meals that require cooking over low to medium temperatures, such as soups, stews, curries, baking, and raw desserts.
- Can be stored within your cupboards for months without going ‘off’.
- Definitely a great variant to other typical oils if you want to use it a few times per week.
- Coconut oil is very calorie dense, and has a higher saturated fat content in comparison to other oils.
- It also has a very distinct flavour, which can alter the taste of the overall dish.
- In comparison to other cooking oils, canola oil is lower in saturated fat.
- It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for good health.
- You can use this oil over high heat, making it quite versatile for a number of cooking methods.
- A large portion of canola oil available within stores is derived from genetically-modified (GM) crops. Should you use it within cooking, then I recommend selecting an Australian GM free version. It is not an oil I regularly use at home because there is a lot of controversy surrounding its use.
- Canola oil can go rancid quite easily, so store in a cool, dark place.
- This is another great one to cook over a high heat, as it has a high smoking point.
- Peanut oil can be quite strong in flavour, and is well suited to Asian stir frys and similar dishes.
- It contains heart healthy phytosterols (an essential plant fat) known to lower cholesterol.
- As its name suggests, it is not so good for people with nut allergies.
- Like most nuts and nut oils, peanut oil has a high energy content.
These are just some general facts about typical cooking oils. They all have a variety of uses when it comes to cooking. I always try to select the oil that is best suited to the cooking method and flavour of the dish. Regardless of your choice of oil, it is important to remember that they are quite calorie dense and therefore should be used in moderation. As I said, I am Greek and for me Extra Virgin Olive Oil is very typical and something I always have a lot of at home. For me, I am 100% confident in its health benefits therefore it is undoubtedly my most used oil.
Love, Kayla xx