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What is the Healthiest Oil for Cooking?

Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD · Aesthetics

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Jul 25, 2022

What is the Healthiest Oil for Cooking?

As we eat, more often than not, we are exposed to cooking oil. After all, many kinds of food that we consume involve frying or cooking with cooking oil. In recent years, however, more people are looking for the healthiest oil to cook with or at least oil that has less fat or won’t be as harmful for a person’s overall health.

More knowledge and awareness have resulted in other healthier options for cooking oil now being pushed. Are these options viable substitutes? Should these other oils take the place of cooking oil in your kitchen?

The healthiest oils

Vegetable oil and olive oil are the healthiest oils because they are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. By using these types of fats instead of saturated fats, the risk of heart disease is lower, hence making these oils the top choice.

The healthiest cooking oil should be suitable for deep frying. Deep frying involves submerging a kind of food in very hot oil. As mentioned earlier, deep frying is a very common traditional cooking method. Deep frying requires careful selection of cooking oils because otherwise, your cooking may become unhealthy for your family. It solely depends on which oil are you using for cooking your food.

The temperature of oil used for deep frying is around 175-190°C. Therefore, healthy cooking oil should tolerate this temperature and its smoke point must be higher than this. The oil must be stable at high heat and must not oxidize easily.

Olive oil

Olive oil is considered the best all-around oil by some because, at 75%, it has the highest content of monounsaturated fats among all other oils. Furthermore, it also contains a wide variety of valuable antioxidants believed to play a significant role in the many health benefits attributed to olive oil.

The healthiest type is extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). It can help lower your blood pressure and fight inflammation. It lowers your risk of heart disease by improving the health of your blood vessels and preventing blood clots.

Mustard oil

This is considered one of the healthiest edible oils as it has low amount of saturated fats and a high amount of monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are good for health.

Canola oil

This type of oil has less than 7% saturated fats, is high in monounsaturated fats, and has a beneficial omega-3 fatty acid profile (which has well-established heart health benefits). It is also recognized by many health professional organizations.

Avocado oil

This is well suited for higher heat cooking, with a smoke point of 271.11oC. Avocado is relatively flavorless, so it works well for all different types of cuisines, as well as baked goods. Like olive oil, look for avocado oil that is cold-pressed and stored in a dark-colored, glass container.

What oils to avoid

If there are healthy oils, it follows that there are also unhealthy oils. Oils that are genetically modified and unstable are immediately on this list. That includes peanut oil, corn oil, and soybean oil. Still, it actually depends too on what research you find because while some praise coconut oil’s benefits, others argue that it is mostly saturated fat, which raises LDL cholesterol. That’s bad for your heart. Coconut oil also has almost no vitamins and minerals.

The same can be said for canola oil, which some websites list as unhealthy while others note that it is low in saturated fat but high in monosaturated fat (like olive oil). Canola oil also has phytosterols, which can help lower the amount of cholesterol your body absorbs.

Oils with low smoke points, such as flaxseed, pumpkin seed, and walnut, are best saved for use in salad dressings and dips.

Key takeaways

With cooking oil an essential part of dining anywhere, knowledge on what healthy oils for cooking has become more necessary. Olive oil is considered the best all-around healthy oil because of the wide variety of antioxidants and health benefits that come with it. Depending on what research one encounters, though, there are different lists on what oils to avoid. While some may praise coconut oil and canola oil, others question just how healthy they really are.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Martha Juco, MD


Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Jul 25, 2022

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