Most liquid cooking oil is a better option than butter, margarine or other solid fats but some types of cooking oil are healthier than others, according to What makes a cooking oil healthy or unhealthy is the amount and type of fat it contains. Healthy cooking oils are high in monounsaturated fats, which are some of the healthiest types of fats and may help lower blood cholesterol levels. Cooking oils may also contain polyunsaturated fats, which are also healthy and can help improve heart health.

Good choices include the following:

Plant-based oil
Olive oil
Peanut oil
Canola oil
Sunflower oil
Soybean oil
Flaxseed oil
Corn oil
Avocado oil
Seed/nut based oil

Many of these oils can be used to make delicious bases for salad dressings and marinades

Almond oil
Hazelnut oil
Sunflower oil
Grapeseed oil
Peanut oil
Sesame oil
Walnut oil
How to use

A variety of heart-healthy cooking oils can give a meal great flavor.

Experiment with light sautés or marinades; if you avoid frying foods or using heavy amounts of oil, nut or vegetable oil adds taste and valuable nutrition to any meal. For example, nut cooking oils go well in rich pasta dishes with grilled meats. Lighter olive oil is a good complement to fish sautéed with herbs. Sesame oil tastes great in an Asian-inspired dish and lightly drizzled on top of an Asian salad. But remember, a little oil goes a long way.

Healthy Alternatives Here are some other options that are even lighter and healthier.

Lightly coat your pan with cooking spray rather than adding liquid oil

Bake by wrapping food in parchment paper or aluminum foil to steam it and keep it moist

Use broth, such as a low-sodium vegetable, beef, or chicken variety, as a cooking medium and sauce base

Steam food above boiling water

Season food with lemon juice for a citrusy flavor

Marinate or cook with balsamic vinegar for a tangy, rich flavor

Unhealthy Cooking Oils

Avoid these oils some of which are so high in saturated fat that they have more of it than some meat and can clog arteries and lead to high cholesterol levels and increased risk of heart disease.

Coconut oil
Palm oil
Palm kernel oil
Safflower oil

Also avoid any oil-based products with trans fats and hydrogenated oils even worse for you than saturated fats.