From the common canola to the quirky coconut, edible oils are everywhere. There are so many types of cooking oil that a seemingly simple trip to the grocery store can become fraught with indecision. Is olive oil healthier than coconut oil? What's the best oil for making a stir-fry? And what exactly is avocado oil?
Fats and other oil facts
Oils can be a healthy part of your diet, if you choose wisely.
A simple way to think about fat: Fats that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil and canola oil, tend to be healthier than those that remain solid at room temperature, such as butter and coconut oil. Many oils contain healthier unsaturated fats — monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat — which can lower cholesterol levels. Butter and other animal-derived fats, on the other hand, contain saturated fats that can raise cholesterol and put you at increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Many cooking oils, including olive oil and canola oil, also contain vitamin E, an antioxidant that can boost brain, blood and skin health.
Like all fats, oils are high in calories — they top out at 9 calories a gram, more than twice the calories of a gram of carbohydrates or proteins — so they are best used sparingly. But fats are necessary for your body to function, so the goal should not be to eliminate them...
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