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.
Walnuts are high in omega-3s, making this oil healthier than peanut oil when you're looking to add the hint of a nutty flavor. Just don't substitute walnut for peanut oil or butter when cooking: With a low smoke point, walnut oil is best as a dressing or spread.
Try it: Use it as you would butter to flavor cooked foods such as grilled fish, pasta, and sautéed greens – after they're cooked. Or whisk it with a little honey and spread it on whole-grain toast.
Credit: Photograph by Nick Ferrari