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.
Hemp is one of the few foods high in gamma-linolenic acid, the only omega-6 that reduces inflammation and lowers both cholesterol and blood pressure. It also has more omega-3s than olive oil.
Try it: Hemp has a low smoke point, so use it instead of extra-virgin olive oil in dips, dressing, and pesto. Or sprinkle it over roasted root vegetables or potatoes for an earthier flavor.
Credit: Photograph by Nick Ferrari