While many people are obsessed with the health benefits of coconut oil聽for everything from cooking nutritious meals (complete with healthy fats!) to boosting your beauty routine, there are many, many more to choose from that are also great for you. In fact, the variety of options in the grocery store can be somewhat overwhelming if you don鈥檛 know what you鈥檙e looking for. That鈥檚 why we talked to an expert to find out exactly which oils are healthy, which ones you should probably skip, and what to look for when you鈥檙e shopping for them.

cooking-lessons

Oils your body loves

鈥淭he best cooking oils and fats come from unrefined animal fats and naturally occurring oils from plants,鈥 says nutritionist Cate Ritter. These聽oils are聽higher in saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and omega-3s 鈥 all things that are great for your body. 鈥淭hese fats and oils include unrefined coconut oil, unrefined red palm oil, avocado oil, pastured pork lard, pastured beef or bison tallow, duck fat, and grass-fed ghee,鈥 Ritter notes. Of course, organic is best when it comes to all of these products, she adds.

It鈥檚 also important to keep in mind what happens when certain oils are heated, the temp聽can change their chemical composition and reduce their health benefits.聽鈥淭he best oils for raw use are MCT oil (made from medium-chain triglycerides), grass-fed butter, and extra virgin olive oil,鈥 says Ritter. Though olive oil is commonly used for cooking, it loses many of its health benefits in the process, so it鈥檚 a good idea to use something different for high-heat cooking. This goes for many other oils made from nuts and seeds, like聽flaxseed oil, sunflower oil, and sesame oil. Ritter聽recommends that you 鈥減reserve these oils by keeping them tightly sealed in the fridge and use sparingly for raw purposes only. Avoid storing oils in sunny or hot spots, such as by a window sill or next to the stove top.鈥 Two oils that have a very high smoke point and is great for cooking? Palm oil and avocado oil.

As for what to look for on the label, she suggests聽seeking out products聽that list聽just one ingredient and are organic. Keywords like 鈥渃old-pressed鈥 and 鈥渆xpeller-pressed鈥 are indicators that an oil is minimally processed and therefore, better for your body.

Grocery List:

Stay away from these OILS

You probably know that some ultra-processed oils, like corn and canola oil, aren鈥檛 great for you. According to Ritter, oils that are man- or machine-made by processing plants using high temperatures, deodorizers, and chemicals are ones you definitely want to stay away from. A few more examples of ones you should skip? Grape seed oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, and soybean oil. 鈥淎lthough these are referred to as vegetable oils, they鈥檙e not made from vegetables,鈥 explains Ritter. 鈥淭hese tend to be higher in polyunsaturated fats that aren鈥檛 heat stable (meaning it鈥檚 not a great idea to cook with them).

Unfortunately, many of these oils are also made from genetically modified ingredients. Research shows that as much as 90 percent of canola oil is genetically modified,鈥 she adds. While not *all* genetically modified plants are harmful to your health, there鈥檚 growing evidence that certain foods, like soybeans, may carry health risks when genetically modified.

Cooking Oils to Avoid:

Mix it up for the best health benefits

Once you figure out which oils you like the most, don鈥檛 be afraid to rotate them every so often, since it gives you a chance to ingest a聽wider variety of nutrients. 鈥淔or example, grass-fed butter and ghee are good sources of fat-soluble vitamins and conjugated linoleum acid (which has anti-cancer properties),鈥 says Ritter. 鈥淐oconut oil is rich in fat-burning medium-chain fatty acids that support metabolism. Avocado oil has even received prescription drug status in France for its ability to reverse arthritis!鈥 Pretty amazing, right?

What鈥檚 your favorite oil to cook with? Tell us about it @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)