Choosing what oil to use and where to use it can be confusing for any cook. Cardiac patients need to be even more informed when choosing the best cooking oils for heart health and to look for oils that are low in Saturated Fat and NO Trans Fats.
All oils should be kept away from air, heat, and light to maintain quality, flavor, and nutrients. No heat oils should be kept in the refrigerator to prevent going bad before “use by” date on label. Never use any oil if it starts to smoke as the smoke produces toxic fumes and releases free radicals that could be harmful to your health. Use our chart below to help you choose the best oil by smoke point and cooking method.
What to Look for in Cooking Oils
General rule of thumb recommended by the American Heart Association is to choose oils with less than 4 grams of Saturated Fat per tablespoon and NO partially Hydrogenated Oils such as Vegetable Shortening and Margarine; and NEVER Trans Fats or Tropical Oils such as Coconut Oil and Palm Oil. Think twice before choosing popular oils recommended in many diets such as Coconut oil which contains 12 grams of Saturated Fat per tablespoon. Ghee is almost as bad as butter with 6.5 grams of Saturated Fat per tablespoon.
Choose oils that are high in Polyunsaturated Fat or Monounsaturated Fat; both lower bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Choose fatty Fish high in Omega-3’s such as Salmon and Albacore Tuna.
Snack on a handful (1 oz) of unsalted nuts or seeds for good fats, protein, and fiber. Choose Almonds, Walnuts, or Sunflower Seeds.
Add Avocado to your meals or snacks for healthy fats, fiber, and essential vitamins.
Cooking Oil Processing - Refined vs Unrefined
Refined oil is a process in which flavor, color, and nutrients are removed to make the oil more stable and suitable for High-Heat cooking. Most Canola, Corn, or Vegetable oil brands found at the grocery store fall into this category.
Unrefined oils have been processed with minimal heat or no heat. Products with labels such as “Cold Pressed”, “Expeller Pressed”, “Pure”, “Virgin”, or “Raw” are Unrefined oils.
Always read the labels to determine that you purchase the best oil for the purpose you want to use it.
Best Cooking Oils for Heart Health
Here is a list of the healthiest oils to use for everything from Salad Dressings, to Baking, to Sauteing, to High-Temp Cooking.
NOTE: Our recommended oils contain less than 2 grams of Saturated Fat per tablespoon. Saturated Fat grams per tablespoon are shown in parenthesis ()
No Heat 120°F
Good for Condiments and Salad Dressings
- Flaxseed Oil (1.3 grams)
- Hemp Seed Oil (1 gram)
- Walnut Oil (1.2 grams)
Low Heat 212°F
Good for Sauces and Baking
- Safflower-unrefined (.8 grams)
- Sunflower Oil-unrefined (1.4 grams)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1.8 grams)
Medium Heat 325°F
Good for light Sauteing or added after cooking
- Almond Oil (1 gram)
- Hazelnut Oil (1 gram)
- Olive Oil (1.8 grams)
- Sesame Oil (1.9 grams)