Have you ever wondered which oils are the healthiest for cooking? This 3-part blog series sheds light on the ongoing feud about the healthiest oils for cooking and highlights some of the most important things to keep in mind when using oil. The first blog of the series looks into the use of fish oil, butter and animal fats for cooking purposes.
The Healthiest Oils for Cooking
When cooking with high-heat it is essential to use oils that do not oxidise. Oil that reacts with oxygen forms compounds that are not good for consumption. To determine how resistant an oil is against oxidisation at high or low levels, it is important to know the level of saturation of the fatty acids in the specific oil.
Saturated fats have only single bonds in the fatty acids, while monounsaturated fats have one double bond, and polyunsaturated fats have two or more. This means that saturated and monounsaturated oils have a higher resistance to heat, whereas polyunsaturated oils should not be used for cooking purposes since the double bonds cause them to be chemically reactive and sensitive to heat.
Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. A tablespoon of fish oil can meet your body’s daily requirement for these fatty acids. The most nutritious fish oil is cod fish liver oil as it contains added Vitamin D3. Fish oil is good for lowering the risks of, among others, heart disease, asthma, dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, due to this oil’s high-level of polyunsaturated fats, it should not be used for cooking. It is best used as a supplement consumed once daily.
Butter has gotten a bad reputation in the past due to its high levels of saturated fats. However, real butter is not bad for consumption, it is processed margarine that is the culprit. Butter contains Vitamin A, E and K2. Butter also contains small amounts of sugars and proteins, therefore, it tends to burn when it is exposed to high-heat during frying. This can be avoided by using clarified butter or ghee.
Animal fats – Bacon dripping, lard, tallow:
The fat from grain fed animals is highly polyunsaturated, while the fat from grass-fed animals is more saturated and monounsaturated. Therefore, animal fats are great for cooking purposes, but not for your health.
Continue reading to find out more about the best oils for cooking: The Healthiest Oils for Cooking [Part 2 of 3] looks into canola, flax, palm, seed and vegetable oil.