We’ve finally reached a point in health culture where fat is no longer demonized. In fact, consuming healthy forms of dietary fat is now recognized as critical for maintaining ideal body weight, proper organ function, long-lasting mental health, and overall well-being.
If you can’t be trusted around nuts (i.e., you eat way too many at a time) or if you simply aren’t a huge nut fan, try cooking oils. Cooking with fat is a great way to get this important macronutrient into your body. Plus, it can add a lot of great taste and flavor to your dishes.
But which kinds of fats are good to use for cooking? We’ve got a few suggestions that will inspire you to keep your pantry well-stocked and your dishes delicious.
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The Best Oils for Cooking
If you want tasty, healthy, and stable cooking oils that can withstand higher temperatures (for roasting veggies, sautéing veggies, searing meat, etc.), then we recommend giving these 3 oils a try:
Sesame seed oil
All three add a subtle, nutty, and delicious flavor to your dishes. They’re also packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats, including oleic acid and medium chain triglycerides (MCT).
Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is another great cooking option as well. This fat (solid at room temperature) is derived from butter but has had the lactose and casein (common dairy allergens) slowly cooked out. Ghee also has a rich nutty flavor and has a very high smoke point of about 450°F—higher than butter, actually!
What About Olive Oil?
A quick note on olive oil: there is little dispute over just how heart-healthy olive oil is. It’s full of cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats as well as vitamins like K and E. The dispute, however, is whether you should cook or roast with it.
As it turns out, olive oil has a lower smoke point (and therefore, heat tolerance) than other oils. This means that at high heats (greater than 320°F for extra virgin and 420°F for virgin), olive oil can actually break down and lose its potent health benefits and appealing taste. High temp cooking with olive oil may even produce some toxic compounds once the fat molecules have been destabilized and oxidized past their smoke point.
That said, most health experts agree that cooking at lower temperatures with olive oil is perfectly fine—and of course, consuming it raw is always a viable option, as well.
So, go ahead and experiment with some different cooking oils! You’re bound to find new flavor combos that will really ramp up your home cooking and help you get plenty of that good fat you need.