Ever wondered which oil to use for which purpose?
I’ve been loving learning more about them lately.
Check out the simple explanations below, and keep scrolling for the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of each oil.
Why Cold Pressed?
Cold pressing means that all the stuff below is not part of the product process:
– Nutrient-neutralising heat,
– Caustic chemical solvents
– Industrial refining
It’s simply the oils pressed out of the fruit / nut / seed it came from.
What Does ‘Extra Virgin’ Mean?
Extra Virgin means it’s the very first time that fruit / nut / seed has been squashed.
It means it’s higher in nutrients, richness and taste. Extra Virgin oil goes through testing for acidity, chemical make up and sensory quality before it can be called Extra Virgin.
It also means it usually has a lower smoke point, so keep it under it’s identified smoke point temperature when cooking.
The more times that fruit / nut / seed is squashed, the name changes to things like ‘refined’, ‘cooking oil’, ‘deodorised’, or ‘processed’.
What Does ‘Smoke Point’ Mean?
When an oil is heated past its smoke point, it becomes unstable, generates toxic fumes and free radicals which are harmful to your body when ingested or inhaled.
This comparison was so fun to create. I guess I’m becoming a food geek. Unashamedly too!
Oh – and watch for our ‘New Products’ announcement soon. These oils will hitting the shelves soon (all Certified Organic & Cold Pressed):
Sesame Oil, Cold Pressed & Certified Organic
– Nutty flavour
– Stir-frying, sauteing, for added flavour as a condiment
177 °C (351 °F)
– Cold pressed is the best choice as it’s the least processed option and contains the most nutrients.
– It’s high in zinc and copper that are beneficial to the blood and heart.
– It also has calcium, which is necessary for bone growth and bone healing.
– It has lignins which contain polyphenols that can prevent cardiovascular diseases.
– Sesame oil has chemical compounds, sesamol and sesamin, that have been found to reduce certain types of cancer cells.
– Sesame oil also helps promote healthy skin and hair. It can be used for treating inflamed, irritated and damaged skin. The oil penetrates deep into the skin, fights bacteria and leaves the skin detoxified.
Sunflower Oil, Cold Pressed & Certified Organic
– Neutral, clean taste
– Salad dressing, mayonnaise, and low heating frying
107 °C (225 °F)
– Based on the latest findings, small amounts of Sunflower oil may provide marginal benefit to heart health due to the high oleic compounds found in the oil.
– High linoleic oils like sunflower oil are unstable when cooked at high temperatures and produce dangerous compounds when deep frying.
– It’s great for your skin (thanks to it’s good levels of Vitamin E – one of the most skin-friendly antioxidants, and Vitamin A). The oil is light and non-greasy – great for easy absorption into the skin without blocking pores.
– Massaging sunflower oil into your scalp once a week can help to soften dry, frizzy hair and adds a beautiful shine.
A study in 15 healthy adults found that those who ate a diet rich in high oleic sunflower oil for 10 weeks had significantly lower blood levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, compared with those who ate a diet containing a similar amount of saturated fat.
– Overall using sunflower oil at a lower heat is probably fine but there are plenty of other alternatives that may be better to use than sunflower oil.
MCT Oil, Original – 100% Organic Coconut Oil Derived
– No taste or smell
– Smoothies, bulletproof coffee, and salad dressings
– MCT oil may support weight loss by increasing fullness, fat loss, energy burning, ketone production and by improving your gut environment.
– It can also reduce insulin resistance which eventually helps control blood sugar levels and support diabetes management.
– MCT oil is easily absorbed and transported throughout the body. It can be used as an instant source of energy or can be converted into ketones to fuel your brain.
– MCT oil may improve brain function, which could have benefits for people with epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and autism.
– MCT oil contains fatty acids that have been shown to reduce the growth of yeast and bacteria. Overall, MCTs may have a variety of antimicrobial and anti-fungal effects.
– MCT oil may reduce heart disease risk factors such as weight, cholesterol and inflammation. Adding it to your diet could help lower your risk of heart disease.
*Keep to 1-2 tablespoons per day, as more than that could increase the amount of fat in your liver in the long term.
Sweet Almond Oil, Certified Organic
– Nutty flavour
– Body care (it’s quite thick so it can be tricky to use in cooking, but your skin LOVES it!), high-heat cooking, salad dressing (combine with apple cider vinegar and chopped herbs), sauces, flavouring (drizzle over your favourite side dish to give it an extra kick, or drizzle over pasta to give it a boost of healthy fats).
221 °C (430 °F)
– Super high in Vitamin E (1 tablespoon gives us 26% of our recommended daily intake)
Vitamin E is a group of eight fat-soluble compounds that have antioxidant properties. These compounds protect cells from harmful substances called free radicals.
Higher intakes of vitamin E can help lower the risk of heart disease, age-related macular degeneration and cognitive decline in the elderly
And used on the skin? Vitamin E helps protect the skin from sun damage and premature ageing, as well as helping prevent the spread of stretch marks.
Use it as a gentle makeup remover, a natural skin or hair moisturiser (it’s less expensive than most skin moisturisers and doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients), or a velvety massage oil. You can also use it as a carrier oil to dilute essential oils when you’re applying them to the skin.
– Super high in good fats and super low in bad fats
Diets rich in unsaturated fat may provide some health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and obesity, and they may aid weight loss.
– May help keep your heart healthy
– Has been shown to lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol
– High in antioxidants
– May be beneficial for blood sugar control (in one study, participants who consumed a breakfast with added almond oil had lower blood sugar, both after the meal and throughout the day, compared to participants who did not eat almond oil)
– Excellent source of potassium and zinc.
Extra Virgin Avocado Oil, Cold Pressed, Australian & Certified Organic
Nutty, buttery, ‘clean’.
High-heat cooking, salad dressing, home-made mayo, body care (add a little to dry skin or use it to create a moisturising hair mask), add a tablespoon to smoothies for a dose of good fats, sub for butter when baking (basically this is a ‘safe and awesome to use for anything’ oil!).
271 °C (520 °F) – that’s the highest of them all!
– It’s rich in Oleic Acid, which is a very healthy fat
– A fantastic source of antioxidants
– Reduces cholesterol and improves heart health
– High in Lutein, an antioxidant that has benefits for the eyes (tip: your body doesn’t produce lutein, so you must obtain it from your diet)
– Enhances the absorption of important nutrients (there is good reason to include a healthy fat source like – avocado oil when eating vegetables, as it may increase the absorption of carotenoid antioxidants up to 17-fold).
– May reduce symptoms of arthritis
– May help prevent gum disease (hello better breath)
– Used on the skin, it may improve would healing and psoriasis
– Neautralises free radicals (In rats, avocado oil is able to enter cell mitochondria and decrease the production of harmful free radicals. We assume the same is true for humans.)
– It’s simply the oil pressed from the pulp of avocados
– No cholesterol
Flaxseed oil – Australian, Cold Pressed, Certified Organic
– Clean, crisp and mildly nutty
– Smoothies (add a splash in)
– Salad dressings (my fave way)
– As a nutritional supplement
– Applied directly to skin / hair
– Keep it cold. Do not use at high heats.
Smoke Point?: 107ºC
– A great way to get the omegas in.
– Packed with antioxidants and many other vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, selenium, phosphorus and vitamin B6.
– Extraordinarily high levels of soluble and insoluble fibre, which support optimum gut health (specifically the colon, digestive health, and even helps with healthy weight loss).
Macadamia Oil – Australian, Cold Pressed, Certified Organic
– A lovely subtle nutty flavour
– Frying / deep frying
– Salad dressings
– Fabulous skin / hair moisturiser
– Use at low or high heat due it it’s high smoke point (even higher than olive oil!). Good choice for sautéing, roasting and grilling.
Smoke Point?: 210ºC
– High levels of Vitamin E (hence why it’s great for skin and hair).
– Lightweight and well absorbed in the skin without feeling greasy.
– High in monounsaturated fatty acids, including Oleic Acid (Omega 9), which are very moisturising, regenerating and softening on the skin, and are anti-inflammatory.
– The Omega 6 helps to restore the skin’s barrier function and reduce water loss.
– Also contains Omega 7, an active anti-microbial that’s found naturally in youthful skin. Omega 7 levels in our skin reduce with age, contributing to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and weathered skin.
– Has been shown to slow the signs of ageing and has also been used to improve the appearance of scars, sunburn and other minor skin irritations.
Hemp Seed Oil – Australian, Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed, Certified Organic
– Pleasant nutty flavour
– Cooking / baking (up to it’s smoke point of 165ºC)
– Salad dressings and pasta
Smoke Point?: 165ºC
– Known for its healing properties due to its great nutritional value.
– Contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
– Extremely high in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which may assist in achieving healthy skin.
– Contains the ideal 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 (GLA) to Omega-3 (SDA) essential fatty acids which can help the body to metabolise fat, counteract ageing, increase immune system strength, lower cholesterol, and help prevent cardiovascular disease.
– Soothing for dry / itchy skin, and has been shown to counteract the skin’s ageing process.
Olive Oil – Australian, Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed, Certified Organic
– Fragrant and fruity
– Baking / roasting / frying (up to it’s smoke point of 190ºC)
– Salad dressings
Smoke Point?: 190ºC
– Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains, more than any other grade, the health-promoting nutrients that olive oil is famous for.
– High quantities of healthy fats.
– Contains oleocanthal which has anti-inflammatory agents.
– Simply the juice of the first-crush of premium Aussie organic olives.
Coconut Oil – Purified & Deodorised, Cold Pressed, Certified Organic
Physically removed odour and flavour. Neutral.
– All things hot!
Baking / frying / roasting / sautéing
Smoke Point: 232ºC
– It’s the 3rd press. The 3rd time that coconut is squashed. That means it’s a more heat-safe oil to use for high temperatures.
– The components that come out in the first press are not safe at high heats, as they turn into trans fats.
– Refined coconut oils do not offer the same health benefits of a virgin, completely raw coconut oil, but they are still excellent sources of most of the beneficial fatty acids (like MCTs).
– No cholesterol
– One of our routine questions before bringing this oil on was to ensure the deodorisation process was through ‘steaming’ rather than through the use of harsh solvents, as is often the case. Good news – this oil has been deodorised through the use of steam – no chemicals added.
– Most refined coconut oils are made from the rancid oil byproducts leftover from creating desiccated coconut flakes. Sadly, these are refined, bleached, and deodorised in an effort to create a palatable product that can be sold to consumers. Many coconut oils are even hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated! This coconut oil is made of sound, mature, organic coconuts that have been selected, de husked, de shelled, testa removed, cut, dehydrated pressed before expelling and extracting the oil and simply packing it up for you to eat.
A note from Ashley regarding coconut oil: “Whilst it’s high in saturated fats, it contains lauric acids and is high in Medium-Chain-Fatty-Acids (MCFA), and is a great fat for you.”
Coconut Oil – Virgin, Cold Pressed, Certified Organic
Smooth, healthy and delicious. Coconut-ty.
– Raw desserts
– Oven (up to it’s smoke point of 170ºC)
– Hair and skin moisturiser
– Eye make up remover (the only one in my bathroom!)
Smoke Point?: 170ºC
– The ‘1st press’. The first time they squish that coconut! Great to use in raw desserts and even in the oven up to 170 degrees (interesting fact: there’s no difference between extra virgin and virgin coconut oil).
– No cholesterol
– High in medium chain fatty acids (a good thing). Read more about the benefits of MCTs here.
– It has a similar molecular structure to the oil in our skin, making its nourishing vitamins and minerals easily absorbed.
– Coconut is a rich source of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and the essential minerals iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
– Great for brain health.
– No cholesterol
– High in Medium Chain Fatty Acids
Inca Inchi Oil
– Mild nutty flavour
– Salad dressings, in smoothies, on vegetables, pasta, to make a mayonnaise, as a dipping sauce, with a vinaigrette, as a replacement for flax seed oil or taken on its own as a food supplement
0°C – It’s best not heated to ensure the fatty acids are preserved.
– Organic, land-based oil that contained Omega 3 (ALA), Omega 6 and Omega 9, without colours, flavours, emulsifiers or deodorants (found in some other oils).
– It’s virgin cold pressed, additive-free, non-refined vegetable oil.
– It is processed mechanically using techniques that do not alter the nature, nor the quality of the oil.
– This oil won gold medals at the European food fair in France for best new culinary oil.
– Omega 3 may help fight depression and anxiety, prevent cancer, boost brain and heart health and treat asthma.
– Omega-6 fats are essential fats that are an important source of energy for the body.
– Omega 9 may decrease inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.
*Daily intake 10gms.
Why Not Vegetable Oil?
Shock horror, there’s no veggies in Vegetable Oil.
But that’s not why I avoid them.
So-called ‘vegetable’ oils are actually often made from tough seeds and legumes that were originally grown for industrial use, not human consumption. These seeds must be treated chemically in order to be processed into a pourable, somewhat more human-friendly liquid.
Thanks to their high levels of polyunsaturated fats, it’s highly unstable, which makes it inflammatory, and super damaging to our insides when it oxidizes.
Quick tip: Saturated fats are more stable fats because of their molecular structure. Unsaturated fats are less stable—and polyunsaturated fats are the least stable of all.
Polyunsaturated fats like those found in vegetable oils can become rancid simply from exposure to light through a clear glass bottle, which means that it’s basically gone bad even before you take it home from the store.
Vegetable oils can really do damage – so the most health-conscious path is to keep the stuff out of your body.
Don’t be fooled by pretty packages, great graphics, and phrases like ‘no trans fats’, ‘pure vegetable’, ‘all natural’ and so on.
Instead, know your oils, and buy the highest quality possible.
Check out a hefty comparison on even MORE oils here on Ashley the Kitchen Coach’s blog. Super informative.