Intro to Cooking Oils

Caitlin Berenson

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May 6, 2021
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There are so many different options when it comes to cooking oils, so I decided to take the three that I personally use the most and review some key information. 

Olive Oil

  • Pros: Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats (healthy fats!), rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and is protective against heart disease and cancer (1).
  • Cons: There are many different kinds of olive oils including extra virgin, virgin, refined, pure, and olive pomace oil. Some of these are healthier than others. For example, extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality olive oil (1). It retains antioxidants and compounds from olives, while refined olive oil is usually low quality and may be diluted with other oils. It is important to know which type is right for you. 
  • Smoke point: This is the temperature when an oil will begin to break down and degrade, which is not ideal for optimal nutrition (2). Extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of 325 – 410°F, and refined olive oil has a smoke point of 425 – 465°F (3, 4). 

Avocado Oil

  • Pros: Avocado oil can potentially lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, improve eye and skin health, and improve your overall heart health (5). It is very high in unsaturated fat which is best for keeping your cholesterol at a good level and lowering the risk of heart diseases! 
  • Cons: While avocado oil contains mainly healthy fats, it is still a high-fat food, and it should not be consumed in excess (5).
  • Smoke point: 520 – 570°F(4)

Coconut Oil

  • Pros: Coconut oil contains healthy fatty acids, keeps your heart healthy, and may protect your skin, hair, and teeth (6). 
  • Cons: Similar to olive oil, there are a few types of coconut oil. It is best to use organic, virgin coconut oil to get the most benefits out of it (6). 
  • Smoke point: 350 – 385°F (4)

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-olive-oil#TOC_TITLE_HDR_13
  2. https://www.theolivetap.com/blog/types-of-olive-oils
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-olive-oil-good-for-cooking#smoke-point
  4. https://www.jessicagavin.com/smoke-points-cooking-oils/
  5. https://www.webmd.com/diet/avocado-oil-good-for-you#2-5
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil#TOC_TITLE_HDR_11
Caitlin Berenson

Caitlin Berenson

Caitlin Berenson is a junior at Ramapo High School in New Jersey, and an aspiring registered dietitian. She enjoys spending her free time experimenting in the kitchen and creating content for her plant-based food blog. To see more of Caitlin’s work, follow her Instagram account @eatswithcait.