Choosing Healthy Cooking Oils

Dr. Aaron Hartman

November 22, 2022


What’s wrong with seed oils?

First, the bad news. This may be surprising, but I’m going to be blunt here. Canola, corn, soybean, palm, and vegetable oils are rancid, partially plasticized oils, and are terrible for our health. In fact, these oils are known as “RBD” oils because they are refined, bleached, and deodorized. This process is also called expeller pressing, which heats the oil and makes it unstable. It’s like eating burnt butter.
Canola oil (also known as rapeseed oil) is heavily processed and inflammatory. It is typically extracted using a solvent (hexane) and high heat, after which it is deodorized. Cold-pressed canola oil would be a better option, but that is extremely hard to find.
Many of the crops used to make these seed oils are also genetical modified (think conventional soybeans) and heavily sprayed.
Perhaps one of the best steps you can take for your health is to rid your kitchen of processed seed oils and avoid them in processed foods.



Why are healthy fats so important?

Now for the good news. Healthy fats help reduce inflammation! You need them for healthy hormones, optimal brain function, and as building blocks for healthy cells.
The fats we eat form the structure of all of our cells; so it’s critically important that we eat healthy fats. The fats in our food supply have been toxic for almost 30 years now, which is one of the reasons why we’re seeing crazy obesity, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. You actually need healthy fats in your diet for optimal physical and mental health.

What healthy fats should I eat instead?

When I talk about healthy fats, I’m talking about natural, healthy omega-3s and omega-6s. These include fish, fish oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, avocado oil, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and ghee.
Yes, I did mention some seeds in that sentence above. Cold pressed seed oils are fine, as they are not heat treated and heavily processed. But they can be very hard to find.
There are a few caveats on the healthy fats and oils mentioned above.




Avocado oil:
Look for avocado oil from Mexico as it’s processed in a way that is the most beneficial. Avocado oil has a high smoke point, so it is good for higher-heat cooking.
Olive oil:
Be careful when buying olive oil because it is sometimes mixed with canola oil. Look for extra virgin olive oil or the words “cold pressed” to make sure you’re getting minimally-processed, pure olive oil.
Sunflower and Safflower oils:
I do like to use a mixed omega-3 and omega-6 oil, called Body Balance Oil by BodyBio, to make homemade mayonnaise that I love. This is a sunflower and safflower oil that is not expeller-pressed, but it is cold-pressed so that the oil is not heated at all.


I hope this clears up some confusion on healthy fats and how to choose the best oils for cooking. What’s your favorite healthy fat? Have a recipe to share with us? Head over to Facebook or Instagram to let us know!
Since 2010, Richmond Integrative and Functional Medicine has been helping people to restore their health and hope with an integrative approach to conventional and alternative medicine that’s entirely science-backed. We at RIFM believe everyone is made for health. We offer a comprehensive, in-person patient membership program to ensure you get access to the care you need to thrive.


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