Types of oils

Types of oils

Your guide to the different types of oils available, their health benefits, and what they are best used for.

Avocado oil

  • High in beneficial monounsaturated fats
  • A very high smoke point (270°C) means it's suitable for all types of cooking
  • A flavoursome oil also suitable for salads

Canola oil

  • High in beneficial monounsaturated fats and containing omega-3 (ALA)
  • Suitable for cooking up to 200°C
  • With its subtle flavour, this is the pick for an economical, everyday oil

Flaxseed oil

  • Exceptionally high in beneficial omega-3 (ALA) with some omega-6
  • Not suitable for cooking as it has a very low smoke point
  • Subtle taste makes it a healthy alternative for salads

Hempseed oil

  • Has a ratio of 3:1 omega-6 to omega-3
  • Smoke point around 165°C so not suitable for high-heat cooking
  • Strong herby flavour suitable for salads

Macadamia nut oil

  • Exceptionally high in beneficial monounsaturated fats
  • Can be used for cooking up to 200°C
  • Light distinctive nutty flavour makes it a healthy alternative for salads

Olive oil

  • High in beneficial monounsaturated fats, olive oil is heart-healthy
  • Choose extra virgin olive oil for its flavour and high level of antioxidants
  • Smoke point around 180-200°C so not suitable for high heat cooking
  • A flavoursome oil for salads

Peanut and sesame oil

  • High in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (omega-6) fats
  • Smoke points around 210-220°C
  • Generally used only where their distinctive flavours are required

Rice bran oil

  • High in beneficial monounsaturated fats, rice bran oil has also been shown to lower cholesterol
  • With a mild flavour and high smoke point, this oil is suitable for both cooking or salads and it's economical, too

Soy oil

  • The most common oilseed produced in the world
  • Its versatility has made it popular (smoke point over 250°C) but with a
    high omega-6 content, even though it does contain some omega-3 (ALA)
    you're better to choose something else

Sunflower and safflower oils

  • Like soy oil, these are very versatile with a high smoke point
  • Very high omega-6 content with no omega-3
  • Try canola or rice bran oil instead
Author: Rose Carr

Healthy Food Guide

First published: Dec 2006

2017-04-03 17:10:22

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