The average consumer today is spoiled for choice when it comes to cooking oils. Most stores (including health food stores) in the West tend to be packed with oils of various colors, tastes, and origins, and it can be difficult to distinguish the healthy ones from the unhealthy ones.
The most important factor to bear in mind when choosing oils is not just whether an oil is safe and nutritious in its unprocessed state, but also whether it remains safe and nutritious after exposure to high temperatures. Unfortunately, many oils – including otherwise healthy oils, such as fish oil and flax oil – are high in polyunsaturated fats, which have a limited resistance to oxidation and rancidification, and can produce cancer-causing free radicals when heated.
However, oils that are high in saturated and monounsaturated fats tend to be both nutritious and highly resistant to heating, making them excellent choices for cooking. The best of these healthy oils are listed below.