Oil: A Cooking Conundrum

Oil is often an essential part of food preparation, but with so many varieties, how do you select the healthiest one for you? Use this list for all your cooking needs—your heart will thank you in the long run.

Canola oilContaining healthy fatty acids and omega-3s from the rapeseed plant, canola oil is a heart healthy option. Due to its mild taste, it’s perfect for making everything from sauce or salad dressings to baking desserts.

Coconut Oil – Research suggests consuming this oil could keep arteries from being damaged over time, and may also aid in digestion and weight loss. This lightly flavored oil contains lauric acid, which boosts immunity–some proponents of natural healing believe incorporating coconut oil into the diet can help fight cancer. Use sparingly for baking or sautéing.

Olive Oil – A major component of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil contains a high amount of monounsaturated fat, which can decrease blood cholesterol, boost heart health, and even lower blood pressure. Use olive oil when preparing salad dressings or sautéing vegetables. Choose extra virgin olive oil for optimal health benefits.

Grapeseed oil – With a high level of monounsaturated fat and antioxidants that lower cholesterol and inflammation, grapeseed oil is a great alternative if you’re running low on olive oil or want to change things up. Try it when preparing dips or baking.

Peanut oil – Derived from peanuts, this oil is free of trans-fats, cholesterol and saturated fats. It does contain high levels of vitamin E, monounsaturated fats and phytosterols, which all promote heart health. Use peanut oil for frying, sautéing, or stir-frying.

Safflower oil – One of the oils recommended for food preparation by the American Heart Association, safflower oil is said to boost heart and skin health, as well as cognitive function. Use this for salad dressings or marinades.

SHARE your recipes and the type of oil you use in the comments below!