What are the Best and Worst Cooking Oils for a Healthy Heart?

What is Cooking Oil?

Cooking oil is an essential thing that everybody needs in their life, but oil is 100% fat. It is difficult to imagine cooking without oil and even if done it is hard to sustain this diet for more than a few days.

What is meant by best and worst cooking oil?

In general, a good cooking oil (or any good diet for a healthy heart) contains more unsaturated (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids). On the other hand, the oils or diet that are considered bad for the heart have a high content of saturated fats or trans-fat, or both. Although trans-fat is completely banned in the USA, it continues to be used in other countries due to extensive marketing and lower price.

What oils should be used to have a healthy heart?

  1. Sunflower oil: As the name says is derived from the seeds of a sunflower. Sunflower oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This means this can be used for frying and baking. Sunflower oil consists of oleic acid and linoleic acid which are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids both of which are healthy to the heart, okay. Sunflower oil is also a rich source of vitamin E which is an antioxidant.
  2. Safflower oil: Safflower oil comes from the same family as the sunflower. As the name says, safflower oil comes from the seeds of the safflower plant. Like sunflower oil, safflower oil contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. So, this is one of the recommended oils to use. The smoke point is around 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and this can be used for deep frying and baking.
  3. Soybean oil: As the name says, soybean oil is got from the seeds of the soybean. Soybean oil is very widely consumed around the world. This has a smoke point of 460 degrees Fahrenheit which means even this oil can be used for baking and deep-frying. Soybean oil consists of polyunsaturated fatty acids which are healthy for the heart. Soybean oil also has vitamin K which is essential for keeping the bone strong and blood clotting.
  4. Corn oil: Corn oil comes from the seeds of corn or maize with a high smoke point of 460-degree Fahrenheit. Even this oil can be used for deep frying and baking.
  5. Canola oil: Canola oil is a vegetable oil derived from rapeseed; this is very closely related to the family of cabbage. Canola contains more monounsaturated than polyunsaturated fatty acids. This can be used for all types of cooking including deep frying.
  6. Walnut oil: As the name indicates walnut oil is derived from walnuts. This has a high quantity of polyunsaturated fatty acids which is healthy for the heart. It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids because of its high price, walnut oil is not very commonly used. Walnut oil has a smoke point of 320-degree Fahrenheit. So, this oil is different from the other oils mentioned before. Because of a low smoke point, walnut oil should not be used for deep frying, but it can be used for pan frying and other types of cooking.
  7. Flaxseed oil: It comes from flax seeds this is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It has been found to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol. It has a smoke point of 225 degrees Fahrenheit which means this cannot be used for deep frying.
  8. Olive Oil: Is derived from olives an important part of the Mediterranean diet. It is produced by pressing whole olives. So, the US FDA states that eating two tablespoons of olive oil every day may reduce the risk of heart disease because of the presence of unsaturated fatty acids. To achieve this, olive oil should replace a similar quantity of saturated fatty acids in the diet.

The best thing to do is to rotate all the oils so you get the benefit of those assuming you like the taste of it.

What are the oils that should not be used?

  1. Coconut oil: Is popular amongst many cultures and is very frequently used in ketogenic diets. Coconut oil consists mostly of saturated fats which is not good for the heart. It can increase cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein which is not a good form of cholesterol to have in the body.
  2. Palm oil: Is derived from the fruit of palms. Even though this is vegetable oil, this is not good for the heart because of the high quantity of saturated fats in it. It increases low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. This should be replaced with the other oils mentioned before.
  3. Palm kernel oil: Palm Kernel Oil along with coconut and palm oil are the top three oils with the most amount of saturated fats in them, so this is better avoided to have a healthy heart. In fact, the saturated fat in palm kernel oil is even more than coconut oil and palm oil.
  4. Butter: Everybody’s favorite and so tasty. So, butter has both fat and protein. When butter is heated as we all know it becomes ghee which is butter minus water minus protein and ghee are also known as clarified butter. Butter increases cholesterol and consequently the risk of heart disease and whenever possible butter should be replaced with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acid oils as I mentioned before.
  5. Dalda: Dalda is a hydrogenated vegetable oil popular in southeast Asia. Dalda looks like Ghee (Clarified butter) but is different in having trans-fat, a type of fat banned in many countries including USA. Dalda should be replaced with other healthier choices mentioned above.

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