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.
Olive oil is the best-known healthy oil, and with good reason – it's low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fat, and full of anti-inflammatory nutrients. It also has a special advantage over most other foods: "From a health standpoint, olive oil has got the test of time," says Dr. Don Hensrud, a nutrition specialist with the Mayo Clinic.
Try it: Olive oil has a smoke point similar to that of vegetable shortening, but extra-virgin versions may have olive particles in them that can burn. Hensrud suggests using olive oil in marinades and sautés, and raw in salads for added flavor.
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