Did you know that cooking with high heat for a long period of time can actually burn your oil? Not only does this product leave an unpleasant and smoking odor, it creates health problems. This is referred to as cooking past an oil’s smoke point. Once an oil reaches its smoke point, it gives off toxic fumes and free radicals that are extremely harmful to your body. The good news is ABC Nutrition is here to provide some guidance about which cooking oils are best for high heat and their smoke points.
A. Avocado Oil: (Smoke point 520 degrees) This is one of the highest smoke points for nutritionally dense cooking oils. In fact, it is actually preferred for deep frying. Avocado oil can be a little more expensive than your typical vegetable oil but has added benefits that make it so worth it. Avocado oil contains about 20 different vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It even contains the antioxidants lutein and beta-carotene which are excellent for keeping eyes strong and skin clear. If I were you, the first thing I’d do is try this new and exciting oil out by frying up some falafel! Falafels are fried chickpeas balls which provide protein to any sandwich or salad.
B. Unrefined Extra Virgin Olive Oil: (Smoke point 375 – 405 degrees) If you are like me, you have wondered what extra virgin olive oil means and how this makes the oil any different. Extra virgin oils are made from the first cold pressing of the olives, which contains the strongest, fruitiest flavors. This is ideal because the oil has gone through the least amount of processing and chemicals. Avoid the olive oils labeled “pure” or “light” simply because the extra virgin has the most health benefits. Since this oil has a lower smoke point than some other oils, it should not be your first choice for frying. Instead, use it in the pan when cooking up some mixed veggies.
C. Almond Oil: (Smoke point 420 degrees) Another cooking oil high in healthy fats. Your heart, skin, and hair will thank you for it. It is also a superior source of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce chronic disease. When shopping, always make sure the label reads “food grade” or “for culinary use” since most of these oils also are sold as skin and hair moisturizers. This oil is not a good idea for deep frying, however it would complement pan fried foods such as mushrooms or zucchini very well.
If while cooking on high heat and your oil starts to smoke, immediately remove from heat and throw the food away. Not only does the smoke ruin the taste of your food, it has negative health effects. It is much better to start over than to risk putting toxic free radicals in your body. Always store cooking oils in a cool, dark place away from sunlight.