- Olive oil – a good standby with lots of monosaturated fats. These “good fats” have been linked to a Mediterranean diet, which has in turn been shown to have some cardiovascular health benefits. That being said, it does have a low “smoke point,” making it good for cooking, dipping or sautéing, but probably not ideal for baking.
- Canola oil – high in polyunsaturated fat as well as high in smoke point with less flavor makes it a good choice for baking or frying.
- Coconut oil – obviously a super-healthy choice, right? Actually, it probably isn’t. While some studies have linked coconut to everything from loss of belly fat to improved cholesterol, it turns out that if you look more closely, the studies were in fact touting the benefits of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Even though you can make MCT oil from coconut oil, it generally only composes about 15% of the coconut oil. That’s kind of like calling a Snicker’s a healthy food option because it has peanuts. Also, typical coconut oil has a very high saturated fat content (about the same as lard), and this type of fat has been linked to heart disease.
- Avocado oil – composed largely of monounsaturated fat and with a naturally buttery flavor, this is a very versatile cooking option. It’s high smoke point also allows for a variety of cooking techniques. That being said, it is a bit pricier than some of the other cooking options.
- Nut oils – hazelnut oil combines monosaturated fat and vitamin E, but even though its high smoke point allows for many types of cooking, don’t use it unless you want to add a pretty pungent nut flavor. Macadamia nut oil has a slightly less pronounced nutty taste, so it can be used for grilling and salad dressings. It also packs a combination of omega fatty acids to promote heart health. Peanut oil is often used in stir-fry, and has a relatively even balance of poly- and monounsaturated fats.
- Corn oil – commonly used for frying and cooking, it contains a combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats similar to olive oil, but it may be even more effective at lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Palm oil – given it’s high percentage of saturated fats (over 50%), it would generally be advised to consider other oil-based options.