Cooking Oil Comparisons - Smoke Points and Omega 3 Fatty Acid Ratios

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Figuring out which oil is the healthiest for cooking can be a daunting task. Check out this healthiest cooking oil comparison chart to help alleviate the confusion!

On the one hand, you want to cook with an oil that has a high flash (smoke) point, but you also need to use a cooking oil that has a healthy balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids--and even better if the oil is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins!  Knowing the smoke point of oils is important because heating oil to the point where the oil begins to smoke produces cancer causing toxic fumes and harmful free radicals.

Considerations:  for high temperature cooking, select cooking oils with a high smoke point. For low temperature cooking, or adding to dishes and salad dressings, choose oils with higher Omega-3 fatty acids since they promote healthy cells and decrease stroke and heart attack risk.  They are also known for their anti-inflammatory action.  Although you need Omega-6 fatty acids to maintain cell wall integrity and provide energy for the heart, too much Omega-6 fatty acid can increase inflammation in the body.  Also, cooking oils that are high in Omega 9 may provide some health benefit. Omega-9 fatty acids are considered to be "conditionally essential," which means that although your body produces them, they aren't produced in meaningful quantities. Consuming Omega-9 fatty acids such as oleic acid lowers the risk of heart attacks, arteriosclerosis, and may aid in cancer prevention.

So, what should you look for in an optimal oil? Low Omega 6:Omega 3 ratio (< 10:1), low in saturated fat, high in Omega 9 and non-GMO. As you will see in the chart below, olive oil meets these healthy criteria much more than other oils. Canola oil can also be a good choice for higher temperature cooking, but it should be expeller-pressed and non-GMO if possible.

Cooking Oils / Fats

Smoke Point °C

Smoke Point °F

Omega-6: Omega-3 Ratio
(plus other relevant fat information)

Flaxseed oil

107°C

225°F

1:4

Safflower oil

107°C

225°F

133:1

Sunflower oil

107°C

225°F

40:1

Corn oil

160°C

320°F

83:1

High-oleic sunflower oil

160°C

320°F

40:1, 84% monosaturated

Extra virgin olive oil

160°C

320°F

9:1, Low in Saturated fat, 73% monounsaturated, high in Omega 9

Semirefined safflower oil

160°C

320°F

133:1, (75% Omega 9)

Soy oil

160°C

320°F

8:1 (most are GMO)

Walnut oil

160°C

320°F

5:1

Hemp seed oil

165°C

330°F

3:1

Butter

177°C

350°F

Very little Omegas, mostly saturated fat

Canola oil

177°C

350°F

2:1, [ (56% Omega 9), 80% Canola is GMO.]

Coconut oil

177°C

350°F

86% saturated fat, lauric acid. Not considered a healthy choice. Claimed to have MCTs that are healthier for you, but the science does not support this

Sesame oil

177°C

350°F

138:1

Semirefined soy oil

177°C

350°F

8:1

Vegetable shortening

182°C

360°F

mostly unhealthy saturated, Trans Fat

Lard

182°C

370°F

11:1 high in saturated fat

Macadamia nut oil

199°C

390°F

1:1, 80% monounsaturated, (83% Omega-9)

Canola oil (Expeller Pressed)

200°C

400°F

2:1, 62% monounsaturated, 32% polyunsaturated

Refined canola oil

204°C

400°F

3:1, 80% of Canola in US in GMO.

Semirefined walnut oil

204°C

400°F

5:1

High quality (low acidity) extra virgin olive oil

207°C

405°F

9:1, 74% monosaturated (71.3% Omega 9)

Sesame oil

210°C

410°F

42:1

Cottonseed oil

216°C

420°F

54:1

Grapeseed oil

216°C

420°F

676:1, (12% saturated, 17% monounsaturated)

Virgin olive oil

216°C

420°F

13:1, 74% monosaturated (71.3% Omega 9)

Almond oil

216°C

420°F

Omega-6 only

Hazelnut oil

221°C

430°F

75% monosaturated (no Omega 3, 78% Omega 9)

Peanut oil

227°C

440°F

32:1

Sunflower oil

227°C

440°F

40:1

Refined corn oil

232°C

450°F

83:1

Palm oil

232°C

450°F

46:1, mostly saturated and monosaturated

Palm kernel oil

232°C

450°F

82% saturated (No Omega 3)

Refined high-oleic sunflower oil

232°C

450°F

39:1, 84% monosaturated

Refined peanut oil

232°C

450°F

32:1

Semirefined sesame oil

232°C

450°F

138:1

Refined soy oil

232°C

450°F

8:1 (most are GMO)

Semirefined sunflower oil

232°C

450°F

40:1

Olive pomace oil

238°C

460°F

74% monosaturated, high in Omega 9

Extra light olive oil

242°C

468°F

9:1, 74% monosaturated, high in Omega 9

Rice Bran Oil

254°C

490°F

21:1, Good source of vitamin E & antioxidants

Refined Safflower oil

266°C

510°F

133:1 (74% Omega 9)

Avocado oil

271°C

520°F

12:1, 70% monosaturated, (68% Omega-9 fatty acids)
High in vitamin E.







 
 
Fabio AlmeidaeZine42