There are many types of oil to choose from. This guide helps answer the most common questions about which oils are best for each task and best for your heart. If you need more information about oil or your diet, you can make an appointment with a registered dietitian or your doctor to learn more about the best choices for you.

What are the best types of oil for your heart?

  • Monounsaturated fats
    • Plant-based
    • Best oil to reduce risk of heart disease
  • Polyunsaturated fats
    • Plant-based
    • Contain Omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce the risk of heart disease

What are the worst types of oil for your heart?

  • Trans Fats
    • Man-made
    • Increase risk of heart disease more than any type of oil
    • Examples are margarine, shortening, and ingredients listed as “partially hydrogenated oil”
  • Saturated Fats
    • Most are animal-based
    • Increase risk of heart disease
    • Examples are butter, lard, animal fat, full-fat dairy, and tropical oils (coconut, palm, palm kernel). Small quantities of virgin coconut oil may be used for specific dietary needs. Consult your dietitian.

Type of OilBrowning, Searing, Pan-FryingStir-Frying, BakingSauteing, SaucesDressings, Dips, Marinades
Almond OilX
Sunflower Oil (high-oleic)X
Canola OilX (high-oleic)X
Olive OilX (light or highly refined)XX (extra virgin)
Corn OilXX
Grapeseed OilX
Peanut OilXX
Sesame OilXX (toasted)
Flaxseed OilX
Walnut OilX
Avocado OilX

Why is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) better than regular olive oil?

Extra virgin olive oil contains more antioxidants when compared to refined versions of olive oil due to it being cold-pressed within 24 hours of picking the olives.

Is it ever OK to deep fry food?

No.Try lightly sautéing or stir-frying foods, instead, to bring out their true flavors.

Are cooking sprays safe?

Yes, according to the FDA. You can also fill a spray bottle with your favorite oil and use it instead of canned sprays.

Is it OK if my oil smokes in the pan?

No. If the oil starts smoking, get rid of it and start again so you aren’t exposed to toxic fumes and unhealthy byproducts. Vegetable, peanut and sesame oils can withstand high heat without smoking better than other oils can.

Can oil “go bad?”

Yes. Store oil in a cool, dark place. Put grapeseed and walnut oils in the refrigerator. Throw away any oil that smells bitter or “off.”

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