Cooking Oil Facts

Knowing the cooking oil facts is essential

Knowing the cooking oil facts is essential...

...if we care about our health. Lipids are important for our body. Our brain cells live on that.  Vitamins A,D,E and K are fat-soluble.This means that they can only exist in greasy environments.

One important thing to consider when it comes to frying is that the oil must be hot. How much? About  356ºF (180ºC). Check the chart to see what's best.

There are many different types of oil. Now, how do you know which one is better for both your health and your recipe?

It is important to know how fats are classified and how they affect our health:

It is also important to know that when we are heating cooking oil there is a point called smoke point. This is when the oil starts to lose properties and becomes unhealthy.  Technically it begins to break down to glycerol and free fatty acids. You’ll know this because you are going to see a dark and eye and throat irritating smoke coming out. This information will help us choosing the best oil for each cooking method. If we are going to deep-fry we’ll look for the oil with very high smoke point because this technique requires bringing the oil up to high temperatures. If we are going to season a salad dish the smoke point is not so important. 

We may also look to other factors like the healthy ratio of the fatty acids. Fatty acids are essential for us. Our body can’t produce them and we must take them through what we eat.

As shown in the cooking oil chart at the bottom

Omega 3: We find it in vegetables and seeds and it helps preventing heart diseases, high cholesterol, CVA, cancer and diabetes.

Omega 6: We find it in eggs, red meat, peanuts, milk, soybeans oil and rice fiber. But be careful: too much of this can cause swelling, asthma, arthritis or depression.

Omega 9: This is what is called high oleic. This is the best fatty acid. It really helps your body to stay healthy. It has the highest levels of monounsaturated fats (>70%) and it really prevents heart diseases, diabetes and t lowers down cholesterol levels. We find it mainly in the Canola oil, sunflower oil, olive oil and walnut oil. This is what the Health Departments of the majority of the countries recommend.

But the real trick is keeping a good ratio among the three of them. We should take from two to four times omega 6 more than omega 3. Nowadays, in western countries diets we are taking 20 times more omega 6 than omega 3 and that is just not healthy. When choosing an oil, we should prefer be the ones with the highest levels of omega 9 (high oleic).

Although I highly recommend using virgin extra olive oil as often as you can because it is the most healthy and complete nutritionally speaking , this chart shows the main aspects of the oils and fats we can find in our supermarkets. We are what we eat so choose smartly.

  • The ones highlighted in green are the healthiest or more reccomendable.
  • The ones marked in red are the ones to be avoided
  • Use the rest with moderation

› Cooking oil facts