Let’s rank some oils
All of this cooking oil isn’t exactly doing us any good, either: Physician and biochemist Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, estimates that, at this point in time, roughly 45 percent of the average American’s calories come from refined oils. She’s also told me time and time again that consuming too much vegetable oil (an umbrella term for plant-based oils) can result in fatty liver disease, insulin resistance and migraines.
The lesson here: Cooking oils play a massive role in our overall health, which means choosing healthy oils is a bright idea if you expect to continue living for as long as humanly possible. To help us all make better choices, I asked Dana Hunnes, senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and my go-to source for all nutritional queries, to help me rank every popular cooking oil by how healthy they are.
With that as our guide
1. Flaxseed Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil and Hemp Seed Oil (tied): “These contain fairly high doses of omega-3 fatty acids from plant-sources, which are extremely healthy for us,” Hunnes explains, since omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation and control blood pressure. “They also contain good doses of monounsaturated fats, which likely reduce cholesterol.” There’s a catch, though: Flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed oil and hemp seed oil all have relatively low smoke points — the temperatures at which an oil starts to burn and smoke — meaning they fare better in dressings, spreads and marinades than on the stovetop or in the oven.
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