It used to be that there was only one oil used for cooking and nutrition….olive oil (and sometimes canola oil). That time is long since passed and a new generation of oils has taken over. While olive oil is still popular, newer alternatives like coconut oil, avocado oil, and others have become the go-to picks for many people because of their nutritional benefits.
This has led to a lot of confusion and conflicting narratives about what kind of oil is best for overall wellness and optimal health. If you were to ask 10 different people what they think the healthiest cooking oil is, you may very well get 10 different answers.
For this reason, we’re presenting here a list of the five top healthiest cooking oil alternatives to olive oil. Depending on what kind of health benefits you need, integrating any or all of these oils into your regimen may have dramatically positive health benefits for you.
Coconut oil has become very popular in health and cooking circles because of its myriad nutritional benefits. A favorite among practitioners of the Keto and Paleo diets, coconut oil is 90% saturated fat and full of triglycerides. Many nutritionists even recommend a daily spoonful of coconut for mental health as the high vitamin levels are known to give the feeling of a quick neurotransmitter boost.
An additional credit of coconut oil is that in its unrefined MCT form, it is an ideal CBD carrier oil with multiple health benefits including antibacterial properties, cognition enhancement, fatty acids, and skincare benefits.
Coconut oil is great for sautéing and baked goods but it is best used at lower temperatures.
Avocados are a very popular food these days because of their taste and healthy fat contents. In fact, avocados may be the most popular vegetable of the century. But avocados also produce another popular olive oil alternative that is highly sought these days because of its high monounsaturated fat levels and low polyunsaturated fat levels.
It also is recommended because of its mild flavor and high smoke point, which makes it perfect for frying, roasting, and baked goods. Avocado oil is typically more expensive than other oils but the health benefits are well worth the extra cents.
Flaxseed oil is a favorite among vegans because it contains no animal byproducts and is a huge source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly ALA which can help reduce lipids and blood pressure. Flaxseed oil is thus an excellent alternative for people with high cholesterol levels.
In addition to its high levels of fatty acids, scientists believe flaxseed oil may help reduce cancer cell growth and improve heart and cardiovascular health. Additionally, it has been shown to treat constipation and diarrhea and assist in skin health and inflammation.
Flaxseed oil has a great flavor for salad dressings but must be kept refrigerated or it will spoil.
Widely known as the world’s healthiest nut, walnuts are a powerful source of nutrients due to their high levels of plant omega-3s. Solid in an unrefined state, walnut oil is full of natural nutrients and phytochemicals. Like flaxseed oil, it is best refrigerated and used as a salad dressing or drizzling.
Walnut oil originated in ancient Persia and has become popular around the world because of its health benefits, which include detoxing the kidneys, nourishing the blood, and improving gastrointestinal functions.
Sesame oil is a fatty powerhouse, full of both monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. But it has low levels of saturated fat and is a strong source of antioxidants. Nutritionists believe that sesame oil can help with blood pressure problems.
The extraction process of sesame oil includes pre-roasted seeds that make the oil very flavorful. As a result, you will often find sesame oil used in stir frys. It is also an ideal substitute for peanut oil (another healthy oil) for those with peanut allergies.
These aren’t the only good cooking oils out there. Peanut oil and canola also have their benefits. And olive oil isn’t totally out of the question either. In fact, when used at moderate levels, olive oil can still be healthy and even used to make shampoo! But it’s worth experimenting with these alternatives to find the oil that tastes best to you and is conducive to improving your specific health conditions.