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Cooking Oils for High Heat

By Sharon Therien

The Cleveland Clinic explains that you cannot use one cooking oil for every type of cooking. Some oils can’t take any heat, like flaxseed oil; some work best for cooking in low or medium heats and others can withstand high heats. It is important to use the correct kind of oil for the cooking method you are using to retain the health benefits of the oil.

Choose a type of oil that is suited for high-heat cooking, which includes almond oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, hazelnut oil, avocado oil or “light” or refined olive oil. These are oils that have a high smoke point, which is the temperature when the oil starts to smoke. Past this point, the oil can create free radicals, which are thought to cause cancer and other diseases. Almond oil can go to 430 degrees F, palm to 450 degrees, sunflower to 440 degrees, hazelnut to 430 degrees, avocado to 520 degrees and refined olive oil to 468 degrees.

Consider the health of the oil as well as the cooking method. Use palm oil only when necessary because more than half of it is saturated fat, with 52 percent, while 38 percent is monounsaturated fat and 10 percent is polyunsaturated fat it contains. Out of the high-heat oils, almond and hazelnut oils have the lowest percentage of saturated fat. Saturated fat can increase risk factors for heart disease, like high cholesterol, whereas unsaturated fat can decrease your risk.

Use high-heat oils for cooking methods like deep frying, searing and browning, which all require high heat. Keep in mind that deep-frying is not a healthy method of cooking.

Tips

Refined oils, including refined sunflower, corn, safflower, peanut, soybean and sesame oils, usually have smoke points that are much higher than the virgin oils. The USDA describes refined oil as oil that has been degummed, bleached, deoderized and neutralized to improve the quality of the oil and remove inconsistencies. However, unrefined oils can have more health benefits. In the case of olive oil, virgin olive oil contains more polyphenol antioxidants than the refined version.

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