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Know Your Oils

Think all oils are the same? Well think again! Oils not only vary in there nutrient content but also in their cooking properties. Something called a smoke point determines which oils are best to use for various cooking methods. A smoke point is the temperature at which the fat in the oil starts to break down and smoke is produced. A high smoke point means the oil can withstand a higher temperature before it begins smoking. Heating an oil past it’s smoke point is bad, not just because it may set off your fire alarm, but because when the fat breaks down it starts producing free radicals, which we know are cancer-promoting. It also produces something called acrolein, which is also found in cigarettes and is believed to be harmful to our health.

So how do you know which oil to use when cooking? Here’s a chart to help!

From the Baseline of Health Foundation:

In addition to the smoke point, you also want to pay attention to the omega 6:3 ratio. Omega 3 fatty acids are very important for heart health and fighting inflammation. The best oils are those with the lowest omega 6:3 ratio. Though most oils have more omega 6 fats, the closer the ratio is to 1:1 the better it is for you. So if you’re cooking at a low temp, flaxseed oil is your best bet. If you’re cooking at a medium temp, try coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, hemp seed, or walnut oil. If you’re cooking at a high temperature, go for avocado oil.

Happy Cooking!

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