The 5 Healthy Fats and Oils I Use In My Kitchen

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The 5 Healthy Fats and Oils I Use In My Kitchen

Are you confused about which fats and oils to cook with?

We learned about the need for this part of our diet in The Truth About Fats & Oils. But, it’s crucial that we choose the right fats oils to cook with.

Below I have listed the five fats and oils I use in my kitchen after 35 years of research and hands-on experimentation.

Each has amazing health benefits that don’t degrade during the cooking process.

healthy olive oil

Olive oil, a healthy staple in my kitchen.

1.  Extra-virgin olive oil

  • The best fat to use as a salad dressing.
  • Also good to pour a little on top of cooked grains or vegetables once they are on your plate.
  • Do not use for high-heat oven cooking. It has a low smoke point of 320°F and heat makes it susceptible to oxidative damage.
  • Extra light olive oil (highly processed oil) has a high smoke point of 468°F.

Olive oil has so many health benefits I include a little every day when I eat my salad. Learn more about the Health Benefits of Olive Oil

almond oil

The more unrefined the almond oil, the greater the almond taste.

2. Almond oil (refined)

  • High smoke point of about 420°F.
  • Great for sautéing, stir fries, baking and also good in desserts because of its natural almond flavor.
  • For gourmet cooking, look for the more flavorful cold-pressed almond oil where it can be appreciated for its delicate, nutty flavor. It is best not to cook at high temperatures with it.
  • Almonds themselves have many health benefits. It is one of the few alkaline protein sources.

What I like about it is that it has a light, clean flavor that does not alter the taste of the foods I am using it to cook with. Learn more about the Benefits and Use Of Almond Oil

ghee healthy oil

Ghee has been used in cooking and medicines for thousands of years.

3.  Ghee

Ghee is a purified form of clarified butter used as cooking oil throughout India. It has been purified of all moisture and solids so it can be used at higher temperature and is much more resistant to becoming rancid than clarified butter.

  • ‘Highish’ smoke point between 410 – 485°F depending on the purity of the ghee.
  • Great in soups, stews, curries, very light heat stir fries.

I use this when making curry dinners and my favorite popcorn treat Curried Popcorn.  Read all about the Health Benefits of Ghee.

Coconut oil, once thought to be unhealthy saturated fat, is now known for its many health benefits.

4.  Coconut Oil Extra Virgin:

  • Unrefined coconut oil (which you definitely want for health benefits) melts at 76°F and smokes at 350°F.  It is is not good for very high temperature frying but good for lower temperature sautéing.
  • Great in soups, stews, curries, and very light heat stir fries.
  • Wonderful for baking cookies, cakes and pies and chocolate making.
  • Simply add a spoonful on top of your porridge instead of butter, or on your potatoes or vegetables.

It is slow to oxidize so is resistant to rancidity.  It will last up to two years due to its high saturated fat content. It is best stored in solid form below 76°F.

Make sure you buy organic unrefined coconut oil as many commercial coconut oils are refined, bleached, and deodorized containing chemicals. This is my favorite: Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

sesame oil

Sesame oil is very high in anti-oxidants.

5.  Sesame Oil

  • Sesame oil may be the oldest condiment on earth. It has a strong taste, so I often use it in oriental dishes.
  • The smoke point ranges from 350 – 450°F
  • Light sesame oil has a high smoke point and is suitable for deep-frying, while dark sesame oil often used in Asian cuisine (from roasted sesame seeds) has a lower smoke point and is unsuitable for deep-frying but good for light stir frying, or for making an omelet.

It is revered in the Ayurvedic tradition as having potent medicinal powers.   Learn more:  17 Benefits of Sesame Oil.

The Highest Smoke Point Oil That I Do Not Use

Avocado oil has many benefits — but for cost reasons — I don’t keep it in my kitchen at this time.

Avocado Oil

  • Very high smoke point of 500°F!  It can withstand the heat, and is full of healthy fats.
  • Great for sautéing, stir fries, frying, baking — and great in dressings too.
  • It’s expensive.

The Lowest Smoke Point Oil to Never Cook With

flax seed oil

Due to its stronger taste and tendency to spoil, I mostly use flax oil as a supplement.

Flaxseed Oil

  • Never cook with flax seed oil. It has a very low smoke point of 225°F.
  • You can use a little in salad dressing.

How Much Oil To Use? Warning!

Oil is essential in our diet. I even use in in my specialized diets and detoxes.

That being said, oil is a fat and too much can make you fat. One tablespoon contains 120 fat calories. Therefore:

I include just enough to get the health benefits or the necessary cooking effect.

  • I use the minimum I can in my healthy baking and even in my healthy chocolate.
  • I lighten many of my salad dressings simply by adding water to the recipe.


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Copyright © Diana Herrington

By | 2017-10-29T15:40:07+00:00 February 28th, 2014|Health Tips, Nutrition|8 Comments

About the Author:

I am the Founder and Author at Real Food For Life. Have been teaching cooking classes worldwide since 1982. Create original, healthy recipes and menus, which are gluten free and white sugar free. Also, the author of the GREEN means LEAN and Balance Your Body e-books. I turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar free, gluten free eating and cooking.


  1. Jazz March 3, 2014 at 8:07 am

    What oil then can be used for frying?

  2. Katie March 4, 2014 at 12:47 am

    What about grape seed oil…does that have a high smoke point therefore making it a good oil for higher heat cooking?

  3. Paul Meyer March 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    My 5 lipids are:
    (1) Wheat germ oil.
    (2) Cod liver oil
    (3) Extra virgin olive oil.
    (4) Safflower oil
    (5) Macadamia nut oil.

    Keep the safflower oil to under 1 Tbsp./day due to its omega 6s. Great source of linoleic acid.

  4. Sharon March 5, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I use the unrefined coconut oil to remove my makeup… especially the eyes, and as a moisturizer. It works great plus you don’t have to use a lot.

  5. Diana Herrington March 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Katie, back in the 70’s and 80’s I used grapeseed oil to cook with all of the time and do not now for good reason.
    Grapeseed oil does have a moderately higher smoke point than olive oil so it can be used for cooking and it does have 0 trans fats, no cholesterol and lots of vitamin E.
    BUT because grape seeds don’t contain much oil, they need high-tech machinery and/or chemical solvents to extract the oil from the seeds. Also, grapeseed oil has the highest amount of Polyunsaturated fats (is over 70% omega-6) that the body cannot handle a lot of. I prefer to use coconut oil, almond oil or ghee.

  6. Cathy April 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I love oven roasted vegetables. What oil would you recommend fo use? I usually roast @375 degrees.

  7. Diana Herrington April 12, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Cathy, read the degrees for each oil above and you will find that coconut oil and almond oil have high smoke points. You may want to lower your temp to use another oil of your choice…..see above.

  8. donna June 1, 2014 at 10:18 am

    looks like a great site with education and resources. Look forward to following,

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