You got your new air fryer and you want to try it for the first time. And then you wonder—“what oil should I get for my air fryer”?
There are so many cooking oils available these days, you don’t know which one to toss in your shopping cart anymore. There are oils derived from different plants and vegetables, and oils from different animal fats, too. But since you got yourself a new kitchen appliance that promotes healthy cooking, it goes without saying that your cooking oil must also be a healthy option.
So, before you hit the supermarket, take time to read this rundown of some of the best cooking oils and make your own healthy choice:
Due to its high levels of saturated fat, health practitioners have warned us about the use of coconut oil in cooking. But why does it always end up on top of the list? Coconut oil is a plant-based fat which contains 92% saturated fat but has no unhealthy cholesterol. It can withstand a high temperature of heats, which means it doesn’t get oxidized or go rancid too quickly. That means you get the healthy stuff out of the oil even after it has been cooked with, without being exposed to free radicals. Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of Lauric Acid, a saturated fat believed to have antimicrobial properties and boosts the immune system. Coconut oil may also improve other risk factors and therefore protect against heart disease.
Best for: Baking
Not recommended for: Frying
Olive oil is a fat obtained from the fruit of the Olea europaea (olive tree), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean region, where whole olives are pressed to produce olive oil. It supplies monounsaturated fats and is low in saturated fats; and has anti-inflammatory properties. Diets rich in this oil can contribute to a decline in vascular disorders and even breast cancer. Some components of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) can protect from acute pancreatitis; protects the liver from oxidative stress, and has the potential to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease or related neurodegenerative dementias.
Best for: Sautéing and drizzling
Not recommend for: Frying or roasting above 375 degrees F
Canola oil is produced from a cultivar of rapeseed, bred to be low in erucic acid and glucosinolates. Canola is not a plant, instead, it’s just a name for rapeseeds that have been bred to be low in these two undesirable compounds. Canola oil contains phytosterols (such as beta-sitosterol), which lower cholesterol, along with some vitamin E and K. It also contains two essential fatty acids that our body cannot produce on its own. These are:
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential omega-3 fatty acid. It protects against heart attacks and strokes by helping to lower bad cholesterol.
Linoleic acid (LA) is an essential omega-6 fatty acid. It’s important for the brain and for the growth and development of infants.
Best for: Frying, roasting, and baking
Not recommended for: Sautéing and salad dressings
Avocado oil is made from pressed flesh of the nutrient-rich avocado. It is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats which can lower LDLs and raise the good cholesterol level. It has a high smoke point (375 to 400 degrees F) and neutral flavor without being chemically processed like canola and vegetable oil. It’s more expensive than most processed oils but if you want a high smoke point and don’t mind splurging a little, then this is the oil for you.
Best for: Frying
Peanut oil is a mild-tasting oil made from peanuts. This oil is available with a strong peanut flavor and aroma. It is often used both for general cooking and adding flavor. Peanut oil has a high smoke point compared to other cooking oils, which makes it a good oil for frying foods. Peanut oil contains resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant, which has been found to have a protective function against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and viral/fungal infections.
Best for: Frying