5 Healthy Cooking Oils You Should Be Using Besides Olive Oil
Olive oil seems like the obvious choice when you’re grocery shopping, but the more the food industry expands, the more healthy options we have on the shelves. Different cooking oils are better for different recipes — some are best for frying, some are best for baking and others are best for salad dressings. But the good news is these different choices have big health benefits, too. In addition to upgrading a lot of your recipes taste-wise, here are the healthiest oils to cook with in your kitchen.
1. Walnut Oil
When it’s kept at room temperature, walnut oil can last about six to seven months in a cool, dark place. Antioxidant-rich walnut oil is full of magnesium and copper, and it’s been said to improve blood circulation and cut inflammation with its high levels of polyunsaturated fats.
The rich, nutty flavor of pure walnut oil makes it an awesome fit for salad dressings, steamed or roasted vegetables and fish dishes. Any time you want a subtle nutty flavor, walnut oil comes to the rescue. You can also use it as a substitute for sesame oil in all kinds of Asian recipes. You can buy a bottle for less than $7 online.
2. Sesame Oil
As long as you’re not heating sesame oil on a crazy high heat and you buy a good quality oil, you can reap some of the health benefits when you add it into finishing sauces or salad dressings. Sesame oil can help with anything from lowering blood pressure to fighting bad breath to maintaining good skin.
Sesame oil is used in a lot of Asian cooking. It gives a dish a light and nutty flavor that you won’t get with your standard olive oil. The only tricky part about sesame oil is that it has a relatively low smoke point, so it might burn quickly if you heat it too much.
With a low smoke point, sesame oil is used mainly for seasoning or finishing off a stir-fry after you’ve already done most of the heavy cooking. Since the taste isn’t too strong, you can also use sesame oil in your baking or as a substitute for vegetable oil. You won’t have to break the bank with sesame oil, either. Here’s a good quality bottle for $10.
3. Avocado Oil
It’s not a surprise that avocado oil is one of the healthier cooking oils out there. It’s rich in vitamin E and oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that can help reduce cholesterol levels and inflammation in the body. The alternative cooking oil is also a good source of antioxidants that can benefit your eye health as well.
If you’re looking for a swap for canola oil, avocado oil is meant for medium-high heat use. It’ll usually have a slightly grassy and mild avocado flavor to it. The taste is on the mild side compared olive oil, so if you’re already hooked on the Mediterranean diet and looking to go the least aggressive route, avocado oil could be the best for the job.
For the maximum benefits from avocado oil, you’ll want to use it raw in a salad dressing or as a coating for your veggies. Here’s a 17-ounce bottle for $10 that’s also paleo-friendly.
4. Flaxseed Oil
The oil pressed from flaxseed is one of the healthiest cooking oils out there with a bunch of nutritional benefits. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids — which are essential for reducing inflammation and protecting your brain against aging — and it may help to improve your skin health, too.
Flaxseed oil, just like flaxseeds, has a mildly nutty taste. Your best bet is to use it raw. Use flaxseed oil on your food after it’s cooked, like on top of bruschetta or something grilled.
You could use flaxseed oil to make a salad dressing, add it to your favorite condiment or use it to make a mild pesto. Flaxseed is a little on the steep side in terms of price, but it could be worth it. Get yourself a 16-ounce bottle for $19 online.
5. Macadamia Nut Oil
Loaded with antioxidants, macadamia nut oil can go at least two years without refrigeration. The nut oil is also rich in monounsaturated fats, which help to balance your cholesterol levels.
When it comes to an oil that can hold its own with high-heat cooking, macadamia nut oil is up there on the list if you’re looking to avoid mass-produced oils like corn oil, palm oil and soybean oil. This nut oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil, which makes it awesome for grilling, sauteing and stir-frying. It also comes in clutch for all of your baking needs with its rich, buttery flavor. You can purchase a bottle online for $9.