Best source of omega 3 fatty acids; has heart- healthy properties; is a colon-friendly oil; lessens constipation; boosts immunity; promotes healthy skin; contains the healthy phytonutrient, lignin; spoils quickly without careful storage; not to be used in cooking
One of the lowest oils in saturated fats, making it a heart-friendly oil; a rich source of essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
3. Olive oil (virgin or extra virgin)
Doesn't need high temperature or chemical processing, since it is made from the flesh of the olive and not the seed; slow to spoil; okay for medium-temperature cooking.
Contains both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, but be careful because soybean oil often highly refined and hydrogenated.
5. Pumpkin seed
Low in saturated fats; rich in omega-6 fatty acids, may contain some omega 3's; refining and chemical processing lowers the nutritional qualities.
Low in saturated fats, rich in omega 6 fatty acids.
Rich in omega 6 fatty acids.
Slightly higher in saturated fats than the best oils; usually hydrogenated; rich source of omega 6 fatty acids
Somewhat high in saturated fats but still less than butter, animal fat, and cottonseed oil; good for cooking at higher temperatures.
High in saturated fats; likely to contain pesticide residues; frequently hydrogenated.
2. Palm kernel
High in saturated fats, therefore a potentially cholesterol-raising oil.
Highest in saturated fats of all popular oils; one of the most heart-unhealthy oils.
ABOUT THESE OILS:
This oil originated in Canada and has became known as the Canadian oil, or canola. Canola oil is second only to flaxseed oil as the highest vegetable source of the essential omega-3 fatty acids. Like flax oil, it contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but in a different ratio. Canola oil contains an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 2:1. Flax oil is 0.3 to 1. Because it contains one of the highest ratios of unsaturated to saturated fats, it is one of the most heart-healthy oils, reported to reduce cholesterol levels, lower serum tryglyceride levels, and keep platelets from sticking together. Because of the high omega-3 content, heating canola oil above 120° may change some of the fatty acids into trans fats, which raise total cholesterol and lower the levels of good cholesterol. Be sure to buy organic canola oil, since the rapeseeds are often sprayed with pesticides.
Olive oil is made from the flesh of olives rather than the seeds. This means it requires less pressure and lower temperatures during the pressing process, which preserves the nutritional qualities of the oil. Olive oil contains 90 percent unsaturated fats, most of which are the cholesterol-lowering monounsaturates. Olive oil, which by its very nature doesn't need to be processed, is the only oil that can be obtained directly from the flesh of the vegetable and not the seed. This makes olive oil a good choice for your heart. Because it is high in oleic acid and low in linoleic fatty acid, it is slow to spoil. It has a pleasant flavor and can be used both in salad dressings and in cooking. Olive oil is a favorite in Mediterranean cuisine, since olive groves and olive presses are plentiful in that part of the world. Its only drawback is that it contains little omega 3 or omega 6 essential fatty acids. "Virgin" olive oil means that the oil is from the first pressing and has not been refined or chemically processed in any way, such as being bleached or hydrogenated. "Extra virgin" is the highest quality olive oil (for which you pay a slightly higher price). It has a richer, less acidic taste. High temperature cooking destroys the flavor of olive oil, but it is excellent for dressings and the "wet-sauté"
method. Avoid olive oil that does not say "virgin" or "extra virgin" on the label, but instead boasts of being "refined" or "pure." "Refined" means that the oil has been chemically processed. "Pure" means nothing more than the oil came from an olive. Even though olive oil is slow to spoil, store it in a cool, dark place in the cupboard. Olive oil is medium in omega 6, but low in omega 3 fatty acids. A combination of flax oil and olive oil in the diet strikes a healthy balance.
Soybean oil is extracted from beans, not seeds. Unrefined soybean oil is one of the richest sources of lecithin (2 percent) and also contains 5 to 7 percent of the omega 3 linolenic acid (LNA), in addition to being high in the omega 6 essential fatty acid, linoleic acid (LA). Because it has a high boiling point, it is okay for cooking.
PUMPKIN SEED OIL
This is one of the most healthful oils for several reasons. High-quality pumpkin seed oil contains over 90 percent unsaturated fats and has both omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids in a 3- to-1 ratio.
Another extremely healthful oil, at least on paper, containing both omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids in a 10-to-1 ratio. It is 84 percent unsaturated. However, most available walnut oil is sold in a refined state.
SUNFLOWER AND SAFFLOWER OILS
These oils are rich in vitamin E. Because these oils are high in omega 6 fatty acids and contain no omega 3's, they are less nutritious than canola and flax oils. Even though they contain 90 percent unsaturated fats, they tend to be highly refined oils. Because the high oleic acid variety of these oils is least damaged by heat, they tend to be favorite cooking oils.
Even though this popular oil contains mostly unsaturated fat, it is higher in saturated fats than most other oils and is usually highly refined and hydrogenated.
Peanut oil is a favorite cooking oil,
especially in stir-fries. Since it is relatively high in saturated fats, which do not turn into trans fatty acids when heated to normal cooking temperatures, it is more useful as a cooking oil than oils that are lower in saturates and higher in omega 3 fatty acids.
Cottonseed oil is one of the most widely used oils, added to many processed foods, such as cereals and potato chips. It is relatively inexpensive and is readily available. Cotton is a crop that is heavily sprayed with pesticides, so cottonseed oil may be loaded with pesticides. And, like tropical oils, cottonseed oil is low in monounsaturated fats and high in saturated fats. Also, cottonseed oils are likely to be hydrogenated to further extend its shelf life.
Oils such as coconut,
and palm kernel
are the least healthful naturally-occurring oils. Don't be misled by the white label lie "contains no cholesterol." Plant foods don't contain cholesterol; in other words - NO OILS contain cholesterol. But coconut oil, for example, is high in the saturated fat lauric acid, one of the most heart-unhealthy fats.