Advertisement

Healthy Cooking Oils Buyer's Guide

Tips and recommendations for choosing the best cooking oils.

All food sources that we think of as “fats”—we’re talking butter, shortening, oils—are made up of fatty acids. These fatty acids have specific chemical shapes that affect both how the fat performs in cooking (or baking) and how the fat affects your health. These chemical shapes generally are classified as saturated, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. All fats contain all three types but are classified by the type of fatty acid that makes up most of the fat. For example, since butter consists mostly of “saturated” fatty acids, it’s considered a “saturated fat.”

Polyunsaturated Fats

Examples: canola oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil

How to spot them: They’re always liquid—even if you put them in the fridge.

Health notes: When used in place of saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats can help to improve blood cholesterol levels, thereby reducing risk for heart disease. “Omega-6” and “omega-3” are other terms used to describe specific types of polyunsaturated oils. Although both omega-6 and omega-3 fats are essential for good health, omega-3s also have additional heart-health and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner