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SHOPPING

Your guide to a healthier oil

Reviewed by our expert panel
Woman shopping for cooking oil

What’s the healthiest oil for your cooking needs? Let dietitian Brooke Longfield guide you through five common cooking oils to see which is healthier and what they are best used for.

1 Extra Virgin Olive Oil

EVOO, as it’s sometimes known, contains high levels of ‘good’ fats, which help lower cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil is abundant in heart-protective antioxidants.

Health value: 5/5
Smoke point: 160–200°C — medium/high
Use it for: Salad dressing, marinating, grilling, drizzling, baking

2 Canola oil

This oil is the kitchen all-rounder. Canola oil is low in saturated fat but it lacks beneficial antioxidants. It performs well under high heat.

Health value: 3/5
Smoke point: 200°C — high
Use it for: Stir-frying, sautéing, grilling, baking

3 Coconut oil

Use it sparingly as its ‘superfood’ health claims are unsubstantiated. Coconut oil is 90 per cent saturated fats, and has been shown to raise cholesterol levels.

Health value: 2/5
Smoke point: 177°C — high
Use it for: Stir-frying, baking

4 Peanut oil

Its light, nutty flavour and high smoke point make peanut oil suited to Asian-style dishes. It’s high in healthy fats but has slightly more saturated fat than canola oil.

Health value: 3/5
Smoke point: 230°C — very high
Use it for: Stir-frying, searing, salad dressings, marinating

5 Sesame oil

Nutritionally, sesame oil is about on par with peanut oil. To make the most of its intense nutty flavour and aroma, it’s best to add a few drops at the end of cooking.

Health value: 3/5
Smoke point: 210°C — very high
Use it for: Stir-frying, dipping sauces, marinating

First published: Nov 2020

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