The oil section in the grocery store is often the most daunting wall of them all. With so many oils available it can be tough to distinguish which oils do what. Which oils are safe for cooking at high temperatures? Which are best used raw? Which are ok to slather on your body? Fear not, a helpful comparison of oils is coming your way!
First of all before I say anything else……I really, truly, strongly encourage everyone to buy their oils in glass, preferably dark tinted bottles. Oils can easily be damaged by light and heat, and can absorb particles from whatever container it is in.
Here are some words you will come across:
“oil” – oils are the fatty parts of plants and animal products. Nuts, seeds, olives, truffles, and avocados are all naturally high in fat and therefore can naturally be pressed into “oils”.
“virgin“ – the word virgin here is referring to the lack of heat and chemicals used in the processing of the oil. Extra virgin is the most raw, describing omission of heat and chemicals.
“cold-pressed” – along the same lines as virgin, meaning the oil has been extracted by grinding/squishing the product until oil comes out. No heat above 120 degrees has been applied.
“smoke point” – the temperature that causes oil to start smoking, at which time it produces toxic fumes and harmful free radicals. A low smoke point means it starts to smoke at a low temperature. If your recipe asks you to use extra virgin olive oil (smoke point of roughly 320 degrees) to bake something at 400 degrees Fahrenheit……DON’T DO IT!
Best Cooking Oils
Use these in sauteeing, baking or frying. I’ve included the average smoke points so you know how far you can go!
Grapeseed Oil – above 350 degrees. Naturally very high in vitamin E and omega 3s
Regular Olive Oil or Virgin Olive oil – above 400 degrees. High in omega 3 fats
Peanut Oil – above 400 degrees
Coconut Oil – above 350 degrees. Anti-bacterial.
Avocado Oil – some sources say above 500 degrees! High in vitamin E and antioxidants
Canola Oil – above 400 degrees. ***canola plants are one of the top genetically modified crops. Honestly I find canola oil and vegetable oil very boring – both in nutritional quality and flavour. Go outside the box and use something cool!***
Best Raw Oils
Use these on salads, in salad dressings, or drizzled raw into hummus, etc. Delicious!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial
Flaxseed Oil – very high omega 3s,
Hempseed Oil – delicious nutty flavour, very high omega 3 content
Wheat Germ Oil – super high vitamin E content
Walnut Oil – anti-inflammatory. Rich nutty flavour.
Best Body Oils
Most of these are found in personal care sections and are used as moisturizers and base oils for essential oil blends.
Sweet Almond Oil – light and neutral. Good for blending with essential oils.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Raw Coconut Oil
Evening Primrose Oil – high in GLA and omega 6 for helping eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, etc.
Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil or Rosehip Oil – very high vitamin C and A