The right cooking oil is good for your heart, brain, and metabolism and can even help you absorb more nutrients from food. While stocking up on olive oil is a great first step, it's also important to familiarize yourself with other types of oil – for flavor and health. Pay attention to the fat content, and look for an oil that won't smoke when you're cooking on high heat in a wok or frying pan. Then you can turn your attention to the various flavors that oils add to dishes. We asked Dr. Don Hensrud, a nutrition specialist with the Mayo Clinic, to walk us through the flavor, smoke point, and health benefits of a number of oils. Here are nine of the healthiest oils you can buy – and when to use them.
Although it's 90 percent saturated fat, coconut oil – a staple in paleo and vegan cooking – has the kind of fat shown to actually boost heart health. In one study, people who ate coconut oil shed more fat than those who ate the same calories in olive oil.
Try it: A tropical taste and high smoke point make this oil ideal for curries, baked goods, and soups.
Credit: Photograph by Nick Ferrari