Oils that contain higher amounts of monounsaturated fats, such as canola and peanut oil, tend to be among the healthier options since they help lower your low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol. While at the same time increasing your good cholesterol. Understanding the composition, smoke point and flavors of these oils can help you determine which is the best to use with different foods or situations.
Canola oil is one of the oils highest in monounsaturated fat, with 62 percent, along with 7 percent saturated fat and 31 percent polyunsaturated fat. After olive and sunflower oil, canola is the next highest in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. It can be used as a salad dressing and for baking and frying. This neutral-tasting oil is obtained from rapeseed, a mustard relative. Because rapeseed is commonly sprayed with pesticides, be sure to look for organic, expeller-pressed brands of canola oil. You’ll find it already added to foods such as oven-baked chips and frozen fish fillets but with a high smoke point of around 205 degrees canola is a good all-purpose cooking oil. It does become unstable after heating, so never reuse.
Peanut oil is higher in saturated fat, with 18 percent, making it slightly less healthy than canola oil, but it still contains 48 percent monounsaturated fat and 34 percent polyunsaturated fat. An all-purpose oil that’s high in monounsaturated fats, peanut oil is also about 30 percent polyunsaturated fats and 20 percent saturated. Because it has a high smoke point, it’s prized for frying. Most commercial brands are chemically processed, though expeller-pressed brands are available at specialty stores and online. Peanut oil has a longer shelf life than other oils. Best for Asian cooking, especially stir-fries.